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Get Motivated with My Four-Step Method
by Kent Lewis

On October 9th, I attended Peter Lowe's Get Motivated! seminar series at the Rose Quarter in Portland, Oregon. A friend offered me a free ticket, so I figured it couldn't hurt to get a little Monday morning motivation from the likes of Zig Ziglar, Rudolph Giuliani, Colin Powell and Steve Forbes.

Based on the presenter bios, any amateur detective could guess that the tone of the event would have a conservative, spiritual undercurrent. Regardless, I was still somewhat astonished by what I heard. Early in his presentation, the well-known motivational speaker, Zig Ziglar, dropped this bomb on the audience: "I'm not a scientist or a prophet, but I'm going to predict that in 10 years' time, the theory of evolution will be just a bad joke that hung around too long."

I was equally stunned by the audience's response of enthusiastic applause. I instantly felt uncomfortable, like I'd time-warped back 100 years to a rural Alabama church. Tuning out the rest of the presentation, I felt a surging sense of resentment towards Ziglar and his evangelical Christian followers.

While Giuliani and Powell redeemed the overall value of the Get Motivated! seminar with their presentations on leadership, Ziglar's one passing comment about evolution tainted the entire experience. Since then, I've thought long and hard about my feelings of resentment, and if I could learn anything from the experience.

Whether reacting to an uncomfortable situation, interacting with coworkers or negotiating a contract, feelings of resentment can interfere with motivation and success. There are many tools and techniques available to help minimize or alleviate resentment, but I've come up with my own four-step process, outlined below:

When resentment rears its ugly head, many people tend to shut down. This is a natural, but unfortunate, reaction. The first step in the resentment-alleviation process is to immediately open (or maintain) a dialogue with the other party. Without opening and maintaining basic lines communications, there is no way to move towards resolution.

The next step in alleviating resentment involves two components: acknowledging and identifying you are resentful while helping the other party to the do the same. Empathizing with the "other side" can be extremely insightful and helpful in analyzing and resolving a resentful situation. Being able to acknowledge the other party's position implies, if not creates, respect. With this foundation in place, discussions tend to flow more easily.

Once you've acknowledged and communicated both sides of the issue, it's time to build and reinforce your position, based on facts. When communicating, focus on the reality of the situation, rather than the emotions created. This can help address common causes of resentment: ignorance, fear and insecurity.

The final step of the resentment-alleviation process is to forgive. For most people, forgiveness is very elusive, yet can be an extremely effective and powerful response to any difficult situation. The act of forgiveness puts you in a position of tremendous power. Once you've found your safe place through forgiveness, it will enable you to offer up a reasonable compromise that will be acceptable to both parties.

Prior to attending the Get Motivated! seminar, I had tremendous respect for Zig Ziglar based on feedback from friends and peers. Unfortunately, he offended a meaningful percentage of the audience early in his Portland presentation. He then lacked the necessary insight into my four-step process, which would have allowed him to alleviate growing audience resentment.

For starters, Ziglar should have acknowledged that Darwin's Theory of Evolution is accepted as truth by a majority of educated humans. Next, he should have built his position by providing proof that the theory is flawed. Lastly, Ziglar should have forgiven the unwashed heathens who believe in Darwin's theory. Instead, he chose to follow his heart and lose the crowd.


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