What do successfully leading during challenging times, completing a book and running for or serving in political office have in common? Hacking motivation to reach goals! This time we focus on calendar commitments with financial implications, including a brain trick and how to manage competing priorities.

1.Leading during challenging times: When asked how she hacks motivation to reach goals, Dr. Sandra Billinger, University of Kansas Medical Center Associate Professor replied, “In my position as Interim Associate Dean, with so many meetings on the calendar + team + research; I scheduled time for myself to write grants, which contribute to funding and are fun for me to do. I work more efficiently with deadlines and am deliberate with my calendar, timelines, office of grants and research-given deadlines.

As I mentor young scientists, I ask, ‘When is it due?’ and we work backwards (to establish a timeline), teaching accountability and time management. (Author’s Note: this is the brain trick! When confronted with change and deadlines, your brain’s alarms go off. When you project to your desired future and work backwards, you avoid the alarms.)

‘Unless you learn it now, you could struggle or drown later,’ I tell them.

Also having you, Marilyn, as my coach helped and reminded me of deadlines. You asked about priorities, leading to reflection and my implementing time to think and write in order to reach my goals.”

Like a coach, Dr. Billinger meets regularly with the young scientists she mentors to stay focused, celebrating their successes when they meet their goals, which include submitting for and getting grants. As a result, they have their own funding while at KUMC as well as when they leave. She has not only mastered this hack herself but helps others to do so as well.

2.Completing a book: Even though I felt a clear calling to “write the book now!”(Breaking Free from Bias: Preventing Costly Complaints, Conflict and Talent Loss) ” the chatter in my head challenged back with “who are you to do this?” The urgency of my calendar commitments included global speaking engagements already booked where I could be selling the book. The financial implications helped me hack motivation.

If I did not meet the deadlines, I would be losing the income opportunity of selling my book at the speaking engagements. The book would also add to my credibility as a speaker. In addition, I had invested (too much) money in an author’s program with a deadline for completion. If I met the deadline, I would be rewarded with additional developmental editing and a how to market the book program.

Like Dr. Billinger, I scheduled in writing time and envisioned my book contributing to a successful future, not just for me, but for the greater good, like Mayor Dunn. Success!

3.Running for or serving in political office: Leawood, Kansas Mayor Peggy Dunn hacks motivation by time sensitive deadlines prioritized to the top of the list. “I handle my own calendar,” she notes, with family first, then the city. Partnering with the city council, their prevailing value based decision making question for dealing with competing priorities is “what is good for the whole?”

When asked for an example of how financial implications impact their calendar and motivation, Mayor Dunn replied, “a piece of public art needed to be decided this week because the price was only being held till end of the year. We are really driven by our meeting schedules, with the budget process decided in advance. We start working in January for the following year budget.  While everything has to be budgeted, sometimes you have surprises like the flooding last spring. Then you have to either dip into contingency funds or tap into insurance, which fortunately we had.” How are you hacking motivation to reach your goals?

To our success, we are in this together!

Marilyn O’Hearne, MSW, MCC, LLC

CQ, Master Certified Coach, International Coach Federation


marilyn@marilynoh.com www.linkedin.com/in/marilynohearne


P.S. I work with leaders, teams and coaches to unlock potential while increasing prosperity and peace.

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Marilyn O’Hearne, MA, Master Certified Coach marilyn@marilynoh.com                                First published December 17, 2017

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