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The other night at the Alliance Flooring Convention I was struck with a statement made by  keynote speaker Dale (“the Murph”) Murphy. Dale was a major league baseball player for 18 years.  Dale said there was a time when he was playing so badly that he thought he should quit. It didn’t matter what he did or how much coaching he got, he couldn’t seem to improve. It occurred to him if he quit he knew what would happen; he would never play baseball again. If he stayed, he still had an opportunity, and so he stayed.

I haven’t stopped thinking about his statement; how do we  know when to quit? Quitting is the  end to whatever we’re doing.  In this case  quitting meant the end of the pain and it also meant being out of the game.  According to Murphy,  if success is what you want, quitting is never an option.  So Murphy didn’t quit but another person may have quit even if they wanted  the game.

Why do some people quit and some stay? It appears that it has to do with motivation.

 Some people quit exercising, dieting and their marriages. Others stay around for what’s called “the long haul.” Could it be there are different types of motivation? There are people who listen to motivational speakers, get all reved up and go home and do nothing.  There are others who get reved up and go home and do everything. So what’ the difference?

My research leads me to two types of motivation, intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. . Simply, internal and external motivation. People who have extrinsic motivation need rewards from the outside to stay around. Cheering crowds, big pay checks, constant bonuses and the big hurrahs.

Those with intrinsic motivation are  motivated from within. They are motivated by their values and mission and find it difficult to quit.  If you are truly living your passion, quitting is not an option.

I am often asked to come in and motivate the salespeople.  My response is always I really don’t have that kind of magic, what I can do is help people find out what’s important to them. What makes them tick., why they come  to work and  what’s important in their lives–the internal motivation. I tell them everyone has something that shapes their world and gives them a reason to exist. Unfortunately people often find  out what it is and it’s not selling. What do they do–up and quit.

Unfortunately people don’t always have the luxury to do what they want or even have the time to figure it out. Author Henry David Thoreau said it best when he said,  “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go  the  grave with the song still in them.”

In other words, you have to be able to help people find their own values and their own purpose.  The reason people fail or quit is because the payoff isn’t really what they want. The payoff is what someone else thinks is important or what someone else wants. That’s why value’s clarification exercises are valuable to a company.

So how do you motivate yourself?

 You must decide what’s important to you and what you can commit to no matter what the external payoff. 

You must want to be you no matter what.

You must believe what you do is  worth the struggle.. As Frank Sinatra sang,  I Did It My Way.”

How do you motivate salespeople, and why do sales jobs have such high turnover? Sales is usually about extrinsic motivation, the pay off, the dollars. Eventually it doesn’t matter and people get bored and quit or the money isn’t enough. If you’re looking for great salespeople look for those that are motivated by caring and helping customers get the right products. Salespeople that want to do the right thing for the customer and never give up.

By the way,  Murphy finally ended up in the outfield where he became the youngest player in history to win back-to-back MVP awards (1982 and 1983), was named to the National League All-Star team seven times.

Lisbeth Calandrino is a motivational speaker and coach. She can be reached at [email protected].






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