Do You Value Values?
Are your “values” important? Are others’ values important? Most likely, everyone would answer yes to the previous questions. For this post I will concentrate on the values of others and how important it is for us to know them.
When I was a teacher, I would try to focus on knowing what my students valued. You see, by knowing what they valued, I was able to relate my lessons to what they deemed important and were willing to work for. Now, of course, I’m referring to “good” values. Many of my students, for example, valued their parents’ favor. Other students valued their work for God. And others, valued education as their ticket out of poverty. I believe it is important to know the values of those we wish to motivate. And, as a teacher, I was constantly concerned with motivating my students.
There is no way that I could motivate all of my students based on what each valued, but I could ask and respect each student for their own individual value(s). Ultimately, it is their value(s) that motivate(s) them to do well. As a teacher, boss, parent, etc., we must allow those we are responsible for, to use their values to motivate themselves. Our purpose, metaphorically, is to: “Build a bridge so they can get to the other side, then cheerfully collapse so they will build their own bridges in the future.” In the metaphor, building the bridge represents using values to motivate.
OK, so in order to motivate, it is important to know what the “motivatees” value. How do we find that out? I think by listening and asking. Don’t talk about what you value, but instead, ask what they value. Don’t watch what you do, but instead, watch what they do. Don’t read about what you like, but instead, what they like. Don’t watch what you necessarily are interested in, but instead, watch what they are interested in. I’m sure by now, you see what I’m getting at. In order to motivate someone, you must “build that bridge” from where the person’s interests are, to where you are motivating them. The start of the bridge is where their interest(s) is/are, and the end of the bridge is “the goal of your motivation.”
Yes, in order to motivate there must be a goal – at least that’s what I think. In order to have a goal that the “motivatees” will buy into, we need to appeal to their values.
So, what value are values? One important value of values is to help with motivation. This is true when someone is trying to motivate another, or self-motivation. When we base what we are doing on good solid values, we, as humans, find it easier to pursue goals. Pursuing goals is easier when we are motivated to do so. Motivation is much easier to attain when we feel that what we are working toward is in sync with our values.
If you want to motivate your children, a team, your employees, etc., then you should present the motivation in terms of something they find meaning in, and not, necessarily, what is meaningful to you. You must know not only what you value, but also, what they value.
Evaluate, then Motivate! :-)
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