Change Anything: Social Motivation and Social Ability

The last few weeks we have been looking at the six sources of influence found in one of my favorite books, Change Anything: The New Science of Personal Success, by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, David Maxfield, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzler. I hope you’re finding the information useful! This week we are looking at social motivation and social ability.

Whether you identify it or not, the people in your life influence you in many ways. Some influence you towards the positive (the friend who meets you for a morning run) and some towards the negative (the friend who tells you to buy that shirt or eat that dessert because you deserve it, despite the fact that you’re trying to save money or lose a little weight).

Here are some ways to identify these influences and how best to change them towards the positive.

  • Identify the accomplices and the friends in your life. Who is leading you astray from your goals? The friend who always wants to go out for nice lunches followed by an afternoon of shopping? The roommate or partner who is constantly signing up for catalogs (which just clog up your dinner table)?
    • Who is helping you in a positive way? Who are your coaches or fans as you work towards your goals? Do you need a financial counselor? A professional organizer? A life coach? A therapist? An accountability partner?
  • Redefine  Normal. Stop comparing yourself to others. How do you want to live and who do you want to be?
    • Stop trying to keep up with everything your neighbors are doing. Sign off of Facebook for a few weeks. Just because your Facebook friends are constantly posting pictures of the latest adventure they’ve had doesn’t mean you’re doing it wrong if you’re not out there doing the same thing. You are not them!
      • I’ve made Sundays my Facebook free days. If I have to, I’ll sign out of it so I’m not tempted.
      • Whenever I find myself comparing my life to others, I look at whether it’s something I would do. I’m not someone who wants to be traveling every weekend, so I can reframe it to ‘that’s not who I am or who I aspire to be.’
  • Have a transformative conversation. Talk to those you’d like to have as friends or coaches and tell them what you are doing and what you need from them.
    • Talk to your roommate or partner about how you’d like to get your mail organized or keep the clutter from your dining table.
    • Talk to your friend about how you’d like to spend time with her but you’re also trying to save money. Are there other things you can do together, like join an exercise group or meet for coffee instead?
  • Add new friends.
    • Join a social network or organization that supports your goals. Do you need a financial counselor? A professional organizer? A life coach? A therapist? An accountability partner?
    • Distance yourself from those who are unwilling to support you in your new endeavors. If you’re trying to save money, stop spending time with the friend who only wants to go shopping.

This week, take a look at your social motivation and social ability influences. Who in your life is helping you reach your goals and who is slowing you down? What can you do about this? I’m going to look at the social networks I am a part of and ensure they are helping me reach my professional and personal goals for the year. Public speaking through workshops on organizing is a goal of mine. I have joined Toastmasters as a way of building my public speaking skills and the members of my group are the friends in building those skills.

Next week we’re going to wrap up this series by looking at the structural motivation and structural ability.