Can we motivate or better inspire?
Have you ever wondered how a teacher, a coach, a facilitator or anyone else could bring out the best what people have to offer? I believe all we need to do is 'motivate' and even better ‘inspire’. Everything comes from inspiration, the seed of a 'future state' that is unknown, or from motivation to achieve something that is more tangible or known.
A few years ago I had been to a volunteering event. We got an opportunity to take a group of kids, 10-12 years olds from some challenging financial backgrounds. It was half a day long visit to Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve in Singapore. We went there to see the diversity in flora and fauna that grow and live in a marshy land with mangroves all over. I found it amazing how kids come close so instantly, and if we do not understand them, they go off even faster. In that tour, there was a particular girl who kind of became my companion during the whole time. I found a good opportunity to try to bond with her. She wanted to play with my iPhone. I saw she was familiar with it, but she didn’t have much access to one. I shared it with her but again faced the challenge, if I was over indulging. I didn’t want her to come to me for the iPhone only and especially to play on it, but something more. However, I knew if I would say a complete 'no' she would go away. So I set some boundaries for her. I allowed her to have my phone to take pictures, whenever she wanted, but she was not allowed playing games (the challenge I face with my kids!). Doing this, I thought we met both the needs — purpose of the day as well as her desire to do something on the iPhone. We looked around, walked talked and took lots of pictures mostly clicked by her. Finally, we returned for some lunch and games before parting off for the day. She was happy accompanying me most of the times, and it made me feel happy too. After all, we had come out of office for a day to share our time with these kids and that small bonding made me immensely happy.
After a sumptuous lunch, it was time for some games, prizes and gifts. We played some fun games, and it was so wonderful to engage and laugh with them. I remember one of the games particularly. There were four teams, and we played some quizzes. The rule was whoever raised their hands first would get the chance to answer, and if correct, their team would earn points. One team seemed to be very strong, and they were quick to raise hands and were winning points. This little girl was a bit dejected because she was pushed by someone who was wanting to sit in the front row or something like that. I saw she was hardly participating, and the other team was going ahead, but she was unfazed. I wanted her to participate too and have fun instead of sulking. I tried to talk to her and whispered to her — she can help her team, they are losing without her and that she can score points too. Being able to get her attention and bring her to the moment and the reality, perhaps made her think. It caused some shift in her mental state and it was fun watching her slowly taking interest and then taking the full blown state as per her ability. My day was made!
Motivation big or small just works. It gives immense joy seeing someone getting up, getting motivated and trying to the best of his or her ability.