Yesterday Tom Peters tweeted this mantra from former NFL coach Bill Parcells:
Blame no one. Expect nothing. Do something.
It struck me as an concise, powerful expression of an attitude I try to bring to my work as a coach and maintain in my own life (although I fail all the time.) It's a mindset that I find very motivating.
But it occurred to me that this message can also be interpreted and delivered in a powerfully DEmotivating way. At times when we're encouraged to hold ourselves accountable and take action, the underlying message is "Stop whining. Don't be such a wuss. Suck it up."
And while on occasion there's value in such a confrontational approach, in my experience it always extracts a huge cost in the form of loss of trust and disconnection, and the damage to the relationship in the long run isn't worth it.
So why does Parcell's mantra work for me? Because when I hear it, the underlying message isn't "Suck it up" but "Make it better." And I know that if I want others to find it as motivating as I do, I need to insure that I'm communicating that same underlying message to them.
Thanks again to Tom Peters for the inspiration and the encouragement.
Photo by Eric Schmuttenmaer. Yay Flickr and Creative Commons.