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When all is said and done, we are all writers in one way or another. From high-school essays, college papers, to social media posts, messages and online forum monologues, everyone has had experience with writing at some point.
However, not many consider writing a viable avenue for leadership, whether through blogging or through writing project briefs, motivational messages for coworkers or other forms of written content. In fact, writing can be utilized very efficiently to do just that – motivate others to become their better selves.
Let’s make a case for writing then, and how you can use the medium to convey meaningful words, thoughts and feelings to those around you. Whether work-related or otherwise, you’ll quickly discover that the writer hidden within you has much more to say than you’ve initially given yourself credit for.
1. Take Advantage of The Medium
Writing, in itself, is a very specific medium, a medium as old as time itself. This makes it accessible, sharable and very easy to pick up and practice on a daily basis. However, it can also seem daunting to those who don’t write often, as a blank page can frighten even a seasoned blogger or novelist.
Writing doesn’t require technical skills akin to video editing, 3D modeling, design skills or software-related knowledge. All you really need is a simple text editor, a warm cup of your favorite beverage, and several minutes of your time to put your thoughts on the proverbial paper.
2. Discover your Sweet-Spot
While some leaders prefer sticking to reality such as true stories and practical examples found around us, others like to communicate spiritual, abstract and soul-searching messages to their readers. This means that both approaches (and combinations thereof) are more than viable for your own leadership writing.
Don’t be afraid to insert personal insight, anecdotes, experiences and stances into your writing. Developing a sweet-spot for your motivational content is all about trial and error, as well as settling for a pace and style which suits your personality and writing habits.
3. Brainstorm & Mind-Map Ideas
A great way to establish your “area of focus” when it comes to leadership-centric writing is to brainstorm ideas whenever you have a few minutes to do so. Grab a piece of paper, write down thoughts that come to your mind, and then branch off into their related verbs, nouns, phrases and keywords worth exploring.
You don’t have to be of rich vocabulary and deep thought to take advantage of writing – all you really need is some patience for your own words to surface. Write down potential titles, topics and ideas worth exploring further in order to keep them in your mind for whenever you sit down in front of a computer – by then, your digested thoughts will be ready to jot down.
“Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.” – Benjamin Franklin
4. Don’t Be a Copycat
What drives most leaders and motivational writers into writing is an example of someone else doing so and moving them in the process. Having a role model and a personality to look up to for inspiration is a highly welcome choice for any writer – however, it’s important not to fall into the pit of copying their style and thought delivery.
Developing your own “I” is what will make your leadership potential soar with readers and ensure that they remember every word you write down. Write in your own voice, in your own style and don’t be afraid to be different from trendsetters or popular online bloggers – the right crowd will flock around your writing sooner than you expect.
5. Leadership through Self-Reflection5
Who are you? The older we get, the more difficult and complex the question becomes. Leaders that inspire confidence and incite change within their followers often lead by example – be it positive or negative.
Whether it’s personal trauma, loving memories of days past or day-to-day events which leave a mark on you – these events all serve to shape who you are as a person and a leader. As such, self-reflection, meditation and introspective thinking should become a part of your leadership writing ideation process just as much as the actual process of putting words into a digital form.
6. Relay Meaning through Quotation
While it may seem cliché to rely on quotes in 2020, habits die hard, and leaders should make good use of relevant and inspiring quotes as much as possible. Quotes can come from unexpected places – be it a popular celebrity, a well-respected member of your community or a friend or family member whose words stayed with you.
In writing, quotes can be used to break up the monotony of subheadings and paragraphs to a great effect, making the content easier to scan and gleam useful information from. Mark and attribute your quotes with respect for their original creators and your readership base will take your writing that much more seriously for it.
“Write. Rewrite. When not writing or rewriting, read. I know of no shortcuts.” – Larry L. King
7. Make your Writing Accessible
The term “word dump” shouldn’t be frowned upon or taken as a derogatory expression for unclear writing. The first drafts of your leadership-driven content will undoubtedly benefit from rewrites, editing, proofreading, and subsequent formatting before meeting the readers’ eyes.
Don’t be afraid to simply write, akin to an ice dancer free of any doubt or restrictions, and then discern the gist of your content in post-production. It is essential then to treat your leadership writing as a freeform exercise before attempting to narrow your content down to its core meaning and messaging.
8. Inspire Conversation & Sharing
Lastly, the best way for you to develop leadership skills further is to continually nudge others toward doing so themselves. Individuals who aim to inspire confidence, action and initiative within their follower base are bound to build a reputation as reader-centric leaders without a shadow of doubt or self-interest.
Use simple techniques such as calls to action, questions directed at the reader, and social media buttons in your posts to emphasize sharing, discussion and social leadership development. Most importantly – be there for your readers and engage with their comments, messages and questions on your website, blog, social media page or any other avenue you decide to publish your writing through.
9. Authenticity Carries the Day (Conclusion)
At the end of the day, what makes leadership through writing unique lies in its raw nature and power to unite like minded individuals under the umbrella of an inspiring thought put into words.
Don’t think that you don’t have anything new to add or say to the world – it has never been easier to become your own leader first and convey those same emotions and messages to others around the globe. Be authentic to your persona and put your heart into the letters you put to paper – the rest is history.
Are you a writer? If so, share your stories with us below! We’d love to check them out & even potentially feature them on Addicted2Success!
How to Stay Motivated to Achieve Your Goals
Time is the raw material of our lives. How we choose to spend it, shapes our life accordingly. So having the motivation to spend it on achieving goals is crucial to creating a life we want.
What is Motivation?
The Oxford dictionary defines motivation as the desire or willingness to do something – our drive to take action.
Scientifically, motivation has its roots in the dopamine pathways of our brains. When we do something that feels good, that’s dopamine kicking in. Our actions are driven by the desire for that reward (the good feeling).
Author Steven Pressfield describes motivation more practically. He says we hit a point where the pain of not doing something becomes greater than the pain of doing it. He sees motivation as crossing the threshold where it’s easier to take action than it is to be idle. Like choosing to feel awkward while making sales calls over feeling disappointed about a diminishing bank account.
However you choose to think about it, we all want to harness motivation to achieve our goals.
How to Get Motivated
James Clear, the author of Atomic Habits, says that most people misunderstand motivation. They think that motivation is what gets us to take action. In reality, motivation is often the result of action, not the cause of it. Once we start a task, it’s easier to continue making progress. Like Isaac Newton’s first law: objects in motion stay in motion.
This means most of the resistance when working on your goals comes right before we start. Since motivation naturally occurs after we start, we need to focus on making starting easier.
4 Ways to Make Starting Easier
1. Schedule it
One reason people can’t get started on things is that they haven’t planned when to do it.
When things aren’t scheduled it’s easier for them to fall by the wayside. You’ll end up hoping motivation falls in your lap or hoping that you’ll muster enough willpower to get it done.
An article in the Guardian said, “If you waste resources trying to decide when or where to work, you’ll impede your capacity to do the work.”
2. Measure something
It’s easy to feel uninspired when you don’t know if you’re making progress or what you’re even working towards. That’s why you need to make your success measurable in some way. Starting is easy when you know exactly how much closer your current actions will bring you to achieving your goal.
3. Extrinsic motivation
This type of motivation is from external factors. It can be either positive or negative. Positive motivation consists of incentives like money, prizes, and grades. Negative motivation consists of deterrents like being fired, having a fight, or being fined. Extrinsic motivation doesn’t work effectively long-term, but it can work well in the short term to get you started on something.
4. Make it public
Keep yourself accountable by telling friends and family your goals, or even sharing them on social media. This makes it easier to start something because you’re pressured to not let others down.
How to Stay Motivated Long Term
When we say we want to feel motivated to do something, we don’t want to be pushed or guilted into doing a task. We want to be so attracted and drawn to the idea that we can’t resist not taking action. That’s why it’s important to build a foundation that will set you up for consistency.
These are 5 techniques that will help you do just that:
1. Stay in your goldilocks zone
The goldilocks zone is when a task is the perfect level of difficulty—not too hard and not too easy. In this zone, we reach peak motivation and focus.
For example, let’s say you’re playing a serious tennis match against a 4-year-old. On this level of difficulty, you’ll quickly become bored and not want to play. Now let’s say you’re playing a serious tennis match against Serena Williams. On this level of difficulty, you’ll quickly become demotivated because the match is too challenging.
The Goldilocks zone is in the middle of that spectrum. You want to face someone with equal skill as you. That way you have a chance to win, but you have to focus and try for it. Adjusting your workload and goals over time to stay within your Goldilocks zone keeps you engaged and motivated long-term.
2. Pursue intrinsically motivated goals
Being intrinsically motivated to achieve a goal is when you want to achieve it for what it is. There are no external factors like a reward or the risk of being fired. The drive behind your actions is coming from within.
For most intrinsic goals we pursue them because they will enrich our lives or bring us closer to fulfillment. That makes these goals extremely sustainable long-term because they directly affect our quality of life and the things we care about.
3. Use “chunking”
Chunking is the technique of breaking down a goal into smaller short-term targets. By doing this you achieve multiple successes in your pursuit of the main goal. This triggers the brain’s reward system and drives you to keep going.
Traditionally, you may set a goal that you expect to achieve in one year. That’s a long time to commit without seeing any results along the way. By chunking your goals into monthly or quarterly targets, you get the consistent positive reinforcement you need to stay motivated long-term.
For example, instead of trying to lose 50 pounds in one year, try to lose 4 pounds every month for 12 months.
4. Be flexible
We’re all victims of circumstance. Things happen along our journey that we can either adjust to or quit because of. That’s why it’s important to have leeway and flexibility when you’re pursuing a goal. If you expect everything to go perfectly, the inevitable failure can make you disengaged and desireless. When you plan for things to go wrong, you make sure you can keep up for the long haul.
5. Pursue your goals in a sustainable fashion
Don’t lose hope when you’re not an overnight success. Overnight successes are the 1%—for the most part, they don’t exist. What we see as an “overnight success” is actually countless hours of work behind the scenes finally hitting a tipping point. Pursuing goals is a story of patience, persistence, and unseen effort.
Don’t compare yourself to others. Comparison is a recipe for a drop in self-confidence and satisfaction. It also cultivates a mindset where you think you haven’t done enough. As a result, you may raise your expectations and put more pressure on yourself.
This is pointless because things worth achieving take time. So we obviously won’t compare to the things around us when starting.
Mastering motivation is a superpower. With that ability at your fingertips, you can accomplish your goals and shape a life you want to live in.
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