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A man following a carrot on a stick just like they do with a donkey

Or Why a Good Marriage Needs Carrots

Would you like to see your wife, husband and/or kids so excited to follow your suggestions that they come running back to you regularly, anticipating your praise all eager and excited for your next challenge?

Creating this kind of family life doesn’t come from luck – but from being a good leader and motivator.

Or maybe you unwittingly manipulate rather than motivate?
If so your efforts to challenge your family will backfire and cause disenchantment and even resentment.

Being able to challenge people in a way that stretches them just far enough that they achieve their best – without setting them up for failure – is a quality that not only creates great leaders but is also highly attractive in a marriage partner. Women with this skill make great wives and mothers and know how to motivate their family in a way that keeps them coming back for more. Likewise men who know how to motivate their wives and kids feel much higher levels of satisfaction (and lower levels of frustration) in their home lives.

Manipulation on the other hand will foster resentment and ongoing hostility and will cause distrust and even despair amongst family members.

So what is the difference between manipulation and motivation?

4 Ways to Motivate

1. Fear – Like it or not fear is a great motivator. For instance, what is going to happen if you don’t learn these skills I have to offer you today? How long will your family want to hang around if you continue to be manipulative rather than learning to be motivating?

2. Tools and Rewards – It’s sometimes called a carrot and could be you offering a fat pay check or some other reward for the person taking action. Fun tools to get the job done can also make the challenge you are offering more enticing. For instance we have a whole range of great multi media tutorials – including books and ebooks, movies, audio CD’s and podcasts, social media conversation points and more.

3. Make People Want to Impress You – This comes from you being a person who engenders love and respect and causes people to naturally w ant you to like them. How do you do that? By being available and interested in the people you want to motivate, as well as being a person who lives by standards that other people admire and respect. This includes not being a manipulator as well as you being someone who knows how to build trust and who is emotionally stable.

4. Give People a Purpose to Live For – This is by far the most effective way to motivate someone and if you do it right requires the least amount of work and input from you. But remember – if you give a person a purpose they are probably going to be so highly motivated that they will sometimes have their own ideas and want to reach the goal you have set their own way, and so you are going to need to be ready to encourage that and not break rapport and stifle them by being too controlling!

So what about manipulation . . .

1. Anger – Fear works best as a motivator if it comes naturally from a person imagining what will happen if they don’t reach the goal you are trying to motivate them towards. If the goal has great rewards and is meaningful, the fear of missing out on achieving it should also be obvious. On the other hand, using anger to try and make someone fearful enough to take action will not only be difficult and a very inefficient use of your energy, it will also cause resentment and ongoing hostility – which will damage your reputation and relationship and your long term ability to continuing motivating them.

2. Threats or Punishment – This is the opposite of rewards but with all the same downsides as anger. This is one reason why when outlining the consequences a person may face for not following your suggestion – it is usually best if these consequences will be a real and natural result of them not taking action.

3. Emotional Blackmail – Do you ask your family to do things they are not really excited about to cheer you up, make you happy or to stop you being sad or miserable? Consider this honestly. Emotional manipulation is learned behaviour (which means you can also learn better habits) and is at the very heart of most family dysfunction.

4. Making Someone Feel Weak or Disempowered – Some people are so scared of being abandoned or neglected that they feel they need to destroy the self esteem of a person they want to keep tied to ‘serving’ them. A weak and disempowered person may feel so insecure and inadequate that they will try and please whoever is near them – even if this person is abusive. But what kind of relationship is this to aspire to? The person who tries to lead in this way has such little self esteem that they should be looking for a leader themselves (to teach them better life and social skills) and take a step down and be a follower instead of a leader for awhile! This may sound difficult, but if you are guilty of this it may be as simple as saying “I am sorry I guess I am not really fit to be in charge here and I really should stop putting you down. I am just feeling pretty scared about where we go from here now and I really need to take more of a backseat and let you lead the way for me.”

Back to the positive

By far, the best place to start is you coming up with a very compelling vision – and deciding how you are best going to convey this.

Are you trying to get your kids to help put together a water slide in the back yard – but none of them have ever seen one? That is going to be hard to explain and so a quick movie of what it looks like finished — with some kids having fun playing on it — might be a 2 minute motivation trick that works nearly like magic.

In the case of your spouse or older children, you are likewise going to have to make sure that the vision you are creating is realistic and something that includes what they like and want and is not just about your own needs.

So how do you do that?

Try asking!

Just because someone says they don’t want the same things you do doesn’t mean the conversation is over. Hold back your urge to argue or become emotional or defensive and ask some questions and make some suggestions that show that you know and care about them and you are not just interested in your own agenda.

If you can keep this dialogue open and continue it over a day or two (if necessary) without you telling your spouse they are wrong or trying to argue for your way of proceeding – you may find that the trust that is built from this type of dialogue causes a whole new plan to take shape that gives you both purpose and motivation to work towards.

And last, but not least . . .

Becoming a great motivator will help overcome conflict in your home. The reason why? Well I would say that ongoing and unresolved conflict is just about always caused by poor leadership – or likewise is the sign of a leadership vacuum.

Sound good?

Let’s get started then! The Love Safety Net Workbook, 10 Steps to Overcome Codependence and Emotional Stupidity are all easy to follow step-by-step guides to help you recognise and overcome your emotionally manipulative habits and start working today towards becoming a great motivator!

Link to a version of this page you can share with a friend:

Kim is the author of seven books on the topic of relationships and emotional intelligence.

A prolific multi-media content innovator, Kim has created and shared a library of articles and multi-media educational tools including radio shows,
movies and poetry on 'The NC Marriage', and 'The Love Safety Net'.

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