Saturday, April 1, 2017

The Art of Motivating Others: Turning Passion into Action

Throughout my career, whether in business and in my capacity as a consultant, one of the most common challenges leaders have is how to engage others to take action. Whether trying to motivate employees, consumers, volunteers, etc the challenges are similar. It can be difficult to get people to do something. There may be head nods, or the perception of consensus, but later when everyone leaves and goes back to their desks, homes or hang up from the conference call, all too often there is no real change in behavior. Leaders find this exceptionally frustrating. I've heard countless executives tell me, "I've explained it numerous times" or "I had a meeting and told everyone".  I typically push back and ask if they communicated and motivated as well. Then I get the blank stare. 

Don’t mistake good communication for good motivation. Just because you are talking, it doesn’t mean anyone is really listening. And it certainly doesn't mean anyone was motivated to take action from what you said. 

Most people understand that good motivation is critical. But what is motivation? Motivation is when a person has the desire or willingness to DO something. However, people can have a desire to do something and still choose not to do anything. To make it real, we must turn the passion into action.

Story telling is an effective method in taking mere words and making them more real, or relatable. Share a genuine story to help illustrate your vision, and the reasons why you want a achieve a certain goal.

Remember that people in most organizations are often diverse. Factors such as age, gender, ethnic background, sexual orientation, health condition, life experiences, and more influence how we feel and think. Therefore, not everyone has the same point of view or shares your values. People may view you differently by the car you drive, the clothes you wear, or how they perceive your salary, and status at the company. It may be difficult for you to relate to others because your own life experiences and factors are so different. 

People also all have different passions for things they believe in, or mean something to them. In a perfect world, companies recruit, attract and hire people who have a passion for the mission of the company. People who love the cause, the product or the purpose of the organization. When employee passions align to the company's purpose magic happens. However this is not always the case. As companies get larger, it becomes difficult to have 500, 1,500, 5,000 or 50,000 employees who all share the same passion. 

The message here is not to let differences get in the way of being a good leader. When we allow our differences to get in the way, people shut down and stop listening. This is what it is so critical to ensure everyone in your group understands the mission, and what you all have in common. 

Does your group, organization or company have more things that divide or unite you? What common goals do you all share? Is everyone aware of the POTENTIAL for commonality? I have seen many times where a company's own employees are not aligned on the common goal of the company, so be sure to look inward before trying to take action.

If you are trying to motivate consumers, or solicit any kind of external support, passions, along with emotions are factors in how people make decisions to take action.

As humans, we are all affected by how we feel. Emotions influence people to engage and take action

We tend to take action about things we are passionate about. Emotion is a mental reaction. Passion is the action resulting from strong emotion (often liking and desire).

Plutchik's Wheel of Emotion

Dr Robert Plutchik was a psychologist who developed the wheel of emotion to illustrate the relationships between what he called primary emotions and other related emotionsThe eight basic emotions are joy, trust, fear, surprise, sadness, anticipation, anger, and disgust.
When you are trying to motivate people to take action, it is important to remember the role that emotions may play. Consider how people will feel and react to you. 

Remember the following:

  • Emotions Influence Thought
  • Emotions Trigger Physical Responses
  • Emotions Determine Decisions
  • Emotions Respond to Action

So if you are setting out to drive change, get people to take action remember to communicate, motivate and inspire. 

Here are my Top 10 Tips to Drive Engagement (ok its 11)

  1. Don’t be afraid to share your passions and reasons why. 
  2. Motivation alone isn’t enough. You must inspire others.
  3. Don’t allow differences of opinion to stop all progress or action.
  4. Eliminate unnecessary distractions and noise.
  5. Anticipate what emotions are most likely to trigger.
  6. Offering solutions to problems increases engagement. 
  7. Be authentic, genuine and take time tell the backstory.
  8. Always make your message relatable and as real as possible.
  9. Find common ground joy to bring people together.
  10. Go Big or Go Home. If its worth doing, do it right.
  11. Use your story or cause to engage and inspire people.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

A Great Way to Learn Social Media for Your Organization

Do you need to learn Social Media for your business or organization? Or maybe for yourself? I recommend attending the Social Media Tulsa Conference March 30-31 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. It offers quality content, in an intimate setting, and excellent value for any company to send a staff member. Learn social media from some really smart, fun people who practice social media everyday in the real world. I'm a speaker this year too, hope to see you in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Register soon and save $50 off registration:

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Fiber, Gut Health, and the Second Brain

As humans, we are filled with bacteria. I'm not talking about the bacteria on the outside of our bodies, that is entirely another story. I'm referring to our microbiome (or the human flora). I've read an article in Scientific American that said inside us, there are more bacteria microbes than human cells. Some articles say it may be one-for one ratios. Either way, its true that we are filled with bacteria. We eat food to fuel our bodies with energy and sustain essential functions for our cells and organs. The foods we eat also "feed" the 100 trillion bacteria in our bodies, specifically within the gut and other vital organs. If we eat healthy foods, we can feed our bodies to produce good bacteria. If we consume overly processed, artificial chemicals or foods high in sugars, there is potential we produce bad bacteria, and the gut can get out of balance. In fact, different strains or species of bacteria can be formed based on the types of foods we eat, so truly we are what we eat, it transforms our intestinal composition.

The bacterial microbes that live inside us affect our health, weight, mood, mood disorders, behavior and how full we feel. The gut intestinal flora (bacteria) affects not only how we digest and process food, but it also contributes to the functionality and strength of our immune system, as well as playing a role to reduce inflammation. 

The digestive system is a complicated process, it literally starts with how we ingest and chew our food, how it travels through the esophagus into the stomach, small and large intestines and eventually exits the body. The wall of our gut, or the enteric nervous system (ENS) is what controls the digestive system. The gut breaks down our food, and generates energy, and our bodies can utilize the vitamins. Healthy digestion also helps create good bacteria to fight the bad (pathogenic) bacteria.

Latest studies and research all indicated that the key to good gut health is to consume more fiber, and a variety of different types. It is believed to be the most effective way to produce a more balanced gut bacteria environment. Every single day, choose from a variety of things like fresh leafy, stalky green vegetables, legumes (beans), lentils, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and fruits to build up your microbial diversity. Many of these are considered prebiotic foods because they have the types of fiber that beneficial gut bacteria thrive on when they ferment in the gut. Also consider adding some probiotic bacteria by eating yogurts, fermented foods or take a probiotic supplement that is refrigerated. Don't bother with any probiotic that is room temperature, the bacteria needs to stay alive in order to work. 

Back to the enteric nervous system. The ENS is a huge network of neurons that are dispersed across layers of our gut tissue. This system is self-automated and maintains our biochemistry throughout the gut. It does things like keeping the correct pH levels and chemical configuration needed to enable digestive enzymes to kick into gear and break down and process the foods we ingested.

I first became interested in studying this topic a few years ago as part of improving my own health. As a Type 2 Diabetic, I needed to understand how I could change my diet to control my diabetes. After consulting with my medical doctor, nutritionists and health care professionals I learned what I needed. During this same time there were some synergies between my personal nutritional education and my work. My professional background has been in the pet industry, specifically pet food and nutrition. As such I spent several years studying the latest research of the leading nutritionists and scientists around health. Everything pointed back to diet, including fiber, digestion and gut health. The same principles apply for dogs and cats as in humans. I've been fortunate to have spent several years working closely with three of the world's leading experts on fiber and gut health. Gut health--through fiber is a key driver to better heath. I have been able to utilize much of this knowledge and latest research when we developed our new Lucy Pet Formulas for Life with P.B.F. Prebiotic Balanced Fiber. We realized it was time that there was a super-premium pet food on the market that can help dogs and cats live a healthier life through better gut health. We pulled together the experts in gut health and animal nutrition to discuss the gut and digestive systems for dogs and cats.

The gut has some pretty serious functions, aside from processing food, it stops any dangerous pathogens, bacteria, viruses, etc from progressing through the body or to vital organs. The gut wall lining has immune cells which secrete histamines or other inflammatory secretions which can trigger the brain to induce vomiting, or initiate diarrhea. In either case its the method the body uses to "get the poison out", or make sure the pathogenic foreign bacteria gets out as quickly as possible. This helps explain how integral the gut is with the brain and to protect our bodies from sickness or disease. The gut truly is like a "second brain" in that it communicates with the brain and helps control many functions in the body. Until now, very few people understood just how important a healthy diet with high levels of fiber can be for better health and to enable the "second brain" to do its job.
There is a fascinating article on this at New Scientist, this image below is from that site and helps visually explain some of what I've shared in this post.
image credit: New Scientist

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Two Members of the Lucy Pet Taste Test Panel

Mr Sheldon, me and Miss Ellie
Today we had a little photo shoot at work, so naturally Mr Sheldon and Miss Ellie joined in. I try to take my four-legged kids to work every day so they are now regulars at the Lucy Pet offices. They are part of our official "taste test" panel, and give their opinions on our food and other products in development. Incidentally, my "Poodle" and "Doodle" both gave us two paws up votes for the new Lucy Pet Formulas for Life food. They started on the early feeding taste test panel for our Duck, Pumpkin and Quinoa formula and switched to it completely now.  Life is good for these four legged kids of mine.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Fascinating Health Benefits to Animals from Certain Types of Sea Kelp

I've spent the past few years following various studies, research and findings into human and animal  nutrition. In particular there have been several major universities studying how some plant-based ingredients can provide health benefits not previously understood in animals. Through my work as a consultant in the pet industry I've had the opportunity to spend time with some of the world's leading nutritionists, animal physiologists, scientists and university professors. It is an honor and privilege to work so closely with women and men who have spent their entire careers studying animal and human health.

Perhaps what has impressed me so much are some of the research of how changes in our diets can have such an enormous impact in overall health. In particular the role of dietary fiber and what it can do to populate the gastrointestinal tract with prebiotics. I've recently written extensively about probiotics and their impact to the microbiome. There are many plant varieties that can offer prebiotic benefits to people and animals.  Whole grains, legumes (beans) pumpkin, chicory root, flaxseed, peas and more. Another fascinating plant is sea kelp. Through my studies few years ago, I learned about a particular variety of sea kelp called "Ascophyllum nodosum" that is grown and harvested off the coast of Nova Scotia, Canada. In my opinion, the benefits to dogs and cats of this particular variety are truly amazing.

There are four categories of key health supporting qualities of this sea kelp for animals. To find out more about the research we considered in formulating Lucy Pet Formulas for Life ™ with P.B.F Prebiotic Balanced Fiber ™, look further at these studies below.
  1. Gastro Intestinal Health: The unique fiber profile of this kelp acts as a prebiotic, supporting normal digestive function.
  2. Immune Defense System: The insoluble fiber and polyphenol compounds support the immune system in a unique way.
  3. Antioxidant protection: Studies indicate that the Polyphenolics, Flavonoids and Fucoxanthan act as antioxidants within the gastro intestinal tract, which is an important system function.
  4. Stress Reduction, particularly from heat: The bioactive molecules in Ascophyllum nodosum kelp support the animals natural ability to resist stress. We thought this was a wonderful benefit to animals.
It is so exciting to be able to incorporate what I learned about the benefits of this sea kelp into the new dog and cat foods we developed at Lucy Pet Products. The Lucy Pet Formulas for Life utilize some truly amazing nutritional studies that I believe can truly make a difference in the life of dogs and cats. If you are looking for a food for your dog or cat that has some of the latest, cutting edge technology in its formulations, check out these amazing foods we developed. They cost more that some of the other foods on the market, but believe me they are worth it. Anything we can do to help our beloved fur kids live longer is worth it in my opinion.


This blog is about life experiences & observations and stuff I am interested in. It is simply a side hobby and creative outlet; generally, with a tongue-in-cheek tone. I don't take it too seriously, nor should you. I do not profess to represent every point of view. Nothing on this site is a paid post.

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