Bill Leslie's Carolina Conversations

How to Motivate!

Posted November 28, 2007

What is the key to motivation for you? A carrot? A stick? A kick? Or a caress?

What are your favorite motivational mottoes, slogans and phrases? What interesting stories can you share about how you were motivated to do something significant? Please share your thoughts.

I drew a chuckle this week from our young but talented morning camera crew at WRAL when I used an old expression I learned from a high school football coach in Morganton. After failing to catch a pass in the end zone on the road against North Wilkesboro I ran over to the sidelines and offered an excuse. “Had I not lost the ball in the bright lights I would have caught the pass and scored a touchdown.” My coach responded: “Leslie, if 'ifs' and 'buts' were fruits and nuts, we’d all have a Merry Christmas!”

Later that school year in basketball one of our key players tried to explain why he was late for practice. The coach responded: “There aren’t nearly enough crutches in the world for all your lame excuses.”

Motivation comes in many forms. Some is positive. Some is negative. Perhaps a combination of the two is what works best for coaches. Humor always seems to help. Personally I would always try harder for the coach who found something positive to say about my game which brings to mind another Southern expression: “You’ll catch more flies with honey than vinegar.” In other words, people will be willing to do more for you when you’re kind and sweet than when you’re yelling and critical.

I’ve been inspired by many bosses over the years especially those who were positive and sincere. Many of those people I have encountered here at WRAL both in television and radio over 28 years. Enough about me. I would love to hear your stories about motivation.


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  • hardrightroger Dec 7, 2007

    Doodah Doodah

  • Magnetic Elephant Dec 3, 2007

    Motivation is tricky. What motivates one person won't necessarily motivate another.
    There are five "core" motivators.
    Achievement: the desire to improve simply for the sake of the improvement - needing to be bigger, better, stronger, highre or faster than before.
    Recognition: the desire for attention and recognition and to be seen in a favorable manner for accomplishments and contributions.
    Control: the desire to be in charge, be the authority figure, seeking positions of power
    Affiliation: the desire to be a part of a group and connected in some way.
    Altruism: desire to do things for the sake of the greater good without desire for recognition. This person is quite rare. While we all have a unique combination of motivators, most of us can determine a "core" and set up rewards and penalties accordingly. And, it works with kids! My youngest is not upset by my taking away his gameboy but is devastated by being sent to his room. My oldest is broken with "no gameboy". Who knew?

  • lilybell Nov 29, 2007

    Just read this one:

    "Fame is a vapor, popularity an accident, and riches take wings. Only one thing endures, and that is character."

    - Horace Greely

  • blackdog Nov 29, 2007

    ...positive criticism has a positive effect. Negative criticism immediately creates defense. Money still makes me get out of bed, before I want to.

  • moonchild Nov 28, 2007

    "If you always do what you've always done you'll always be what you've always been". Step out of the box from time to time. Don't settle with the norm - set realistic goals and try to achieve them even if it takes a while to do it. Don't blame others for your misfortune and don't envy. Be your own person but be one who is productive and above all thoughtful. Say something positive about yourself each day and those around you. I believe with the right attitude you can soar with the eagles.

  • momto5 Nov 28, 2007

    EAC & Riverracer - with my teemagers I've learned to say this...I had to pay for my car insurance if I wanted to drive (insert whatever it is they are wanting), and you will to......the perks my kids want are exactly that, perks. Teaching them to be responsible for the things they want, and making them work for the money to pay for it has been a powerfull tool in our house. The bottom line in our house, that a car, car insurance, cell phone, whatever they want... are privelages, not rights. And the funniest part is now that they work for the perks, they are SO STINGY with their money. They don't mind me spending for car insurance etc., but that it's their paycheck, they've actually got a clue! My daughter actually wanted to see the cell phone bill, to make sure we weren't "over-billing" her LOL

  • davidgnews Nov 28, 2007

    "Procrastination is the grave in which opportunity is buried"

  • eac416 Nov 28, 2007

    ryoung - thanks for the tips, they were clever! It is my stepson who is a teenager - he complains that he has to pay at least 1/2 of the cost for his own car, but blows his CD's, DVD's, etc. He got a pretty substantial sum of money for Christmas last year between his grandparents, etc. and blew all of it on a new personal gaming system, games, etc. If he wants a car, then why does the idea of having the car not motivate him to save some money for it?? This is what I don't understand...

  • Raleighnative58 Nov 28, 2007

    My son races BMX (bicycle motocross). It is a sport just like all others - you have to practice to get good at it! The announcer at CCBMX always said, "NO PAIN, NO MAIN!!" This simply means, you'll win if you put some effort into what you are doing!

  • MaplesMom Nov 28, 2007

    Speaking of teens, I remember working with a teen that had lost his mother during his Junior year in high school. He had been dealt a really bad hand in life. He was struggling in school, with sports and in life. One afternoon he was losing it and his brother called me to come over and help. As I walked over to their house, anger was building up in me. Everyone was bending over backwards to try and help this kid and he was rebelling left and right. So I get over to their house and I can see he has been crying. I switch gears totally. He's expecting me to rant and rave, I'M expecting me to rant and rave. Instead I sit him down and tell hom how proud I am of him. And then I just put it all out there- all the reason he has to be sad, mad and miserable. His Mom has died, dad works out of town, brother is in the military. He life really did stink. And the last thing he needed was for me to yell at him. So we spent a couple of hours talking about hopes and dreams. It was a real turing point.




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Bill Leslie