The other day, I said one little thing that changed my combative son who just woke up to an energetic boy who was ready to do what I said. And it’s something so simple I don’t know why I didn’t think of it before.
Normally I have a bit of a struggle motivating my youngest to get up during the week. He has a tendency to be combative, and waking up early doesn’t help.
So the other day I walked in his room to wake him. Although we have our struggles, I was excited to spend time with him. I was ready to find time to hang out with him.
At the same time I knew that if he was in a mood, his goal was to be combative no matter what. An early start might only feed that fire.
A Different Approach
So on this particular morning, I did something different. I changed my focus. Instead of saying “Evan, it’s time to get up,” a sentence I’m sure his mind was already prepped to hear and rally against, I waited.
First, I sat on the side of his bed and rubbed his back. Then I thought about what fun thing we could do that morning. The next part was easy: I simply shared the fun with him.
“Evan, why not get up now and come watch some TV with me?” The fact is, this wasn’t really different from any other morning. Normally he gets up, makes his bed, gets dressed, and has breakfast with me while we watch a show.
The only difference is what I focused on. Instead of talking about the worst part of the experience – the getting up, I focused on the best part of the experience – the spending time together watching TV.
If you want to motivate people, show them what’s in it for them. Find the best possible outcome or focus for them, and lead them toward that point. It’s the best way to motivate people to do what they really should do.