Pride of achievement is THE most powerful motivator influencing human performance. [for dogs, it’s probably treats or affection.] Pride of performance is especially important for teens as they and their self-perception grow. They waver between [believing] they know everything – against doubting and questioning themselves, their parents and the world. So building a resilient self-image at this age can only strengthen their future. How does a parent begin to build or strengthen their teen’s self-pride?
We usually think of three kinds of motivation: FEAR, INCENTIVE, and PRIDE of ACHIEVEMENT. Experience and even empirical evidence shows that Pride of Performance is THE most powerful!! So – let’s use it! [FYI - There are spiritual or Biblical references to pride as one of seven deadly sins. This is NOT that kind of pride.]
One approach we find that begins influence motivational initiative is to invite teens to identify one thing they would take pride in achieving “tomorrow or this week.” “Billy/ Joey/ Bobbi, what ONE thing could you accomplish this week that you would feel really good about?” Sometimes, you’ll receive a sarcastic reply… Pause, wait them out – say nothing but don’t walk away. Make it obvious “we’re not done.”
When you get an answer - DO NOT JUDGE. If it’s important or meaningful to the person, that’s sufficient. What also can happen – if or in a group – is that someone else – a peer – may say “oh, c’mon, Joey, that’s lame, who are you kidding?” And if Joey is sincere, he’ll defend his goal. And if it IS a weak, limp, ‘minor-league’ goal – he’ll replace it. For a parent, let it go. DO NOT critique or judge. They’ll come around soon enough.
Now on to the keys:
1. As days and weeks continue, invite and request that they progressively increase what they’re pursuing. As this progression continues, the achiever’s self-expectation AND self-image strengthens. And self-image is THE single-most influential, guiding and defining factor in all human performance.
2. KEEP SCORE! Put up a chart on the wall in which your teen is asked to WRITE “Yes or No,” achieved or not, or a mark or number – whatever makes sense. Be absolutely assured that this is a very effective mode of drawing attention. Basic rule of business which directly applies here: What gets measured - gets attention!
Can you imagine how motivating it is for someone to FAIL to achieve the goal they said they were proud of pursuing and achieving? INEVITABLY, if it truly was important to them, they will re-commit the next week – and probably the week after, and so on - and that’s what we’re after!! And here’s where you’ll know you hit a home run – when they say to you – “I’m gonna bump it up higher this week!”
Try it out, keep score of achievements and progression – and watch them grow!