Finding Motivation … But Not From Where You Think

Have you ever watched a movie based on a true story, where someone did something amazing? My guess is, it completely filled you with a wave of positive energy to go out and take on the world … right?

Well, I’ve had that experience too, but that is not the heart, the true place I find ongoing waves of motivation. Not just some temporary spurt from a movie. The place I turn to is the Deaf Community, and the amazing people in it. However, not the stereotypical big names like: Marlee Matlin, the actress, or NFL football players Derrick Coleman (of the Seattle Seahawks) or Kenny Walker (retiree from the Denver Broncos), or even Matt “The Hammer” Hamill, the UFC fighter. No — they’ve got amazing stories — but I’m not talking about those folks today.

Instead, I want to tell you about two of my close friends, how amazing they are, and how that gives me power. Then I’ll tell you how that ties in to B2B copywriting …

The Amazing World Traveler

I want to tell you about my friend Allan Bernier. Many people have told him to grow up, get a job, get married, and BE NORMAL. Well, Allan is normal, and he’s a great guy, but he is different from most in the case that he was born profoundly deaf.

And, to me, he is a hero. He has held several notable positions in the workforce, one example being that he was president of an organization for the deaf. He also donated a car to an organization to help children. He’s even traveled to Japan and taught ASL (American Sign Language).

Even more amazing is that he left the “normal” world to become a world traveler. He has been to 22 countries and over 600 cities. Think of a time you traveled across country or even overseas, and had trouble, maybe even got lost, tried to order food, and got something different. Now imagine all that without the ability to hear. That is what my friend Allan has achieved 22 (plus) times over. And, he’s still going strong — he’s even in Singapore as I write this. And he takes on the world with a smile.

The Heroine … Another Incredible Person

Next, I want to tell you about another close friend of mine, Colleen Flok. Colleen was also born profoundly deaf. However, that didn’t stop her from traveling all the way from the USA to Japan, to sightsee, have fun, and work as an ASL teacher.

Yet, that is just the tip of the iceberg. Colleen has perfect pronunciation. The first time I met her, I mistook her for a hearing person. Additionally, she also has a top-rate ability to read lips. At first glance that might not seem like much to the average hearing person, so let me break it down for you. Turn on the TV and watch a sit-com or drama. But do it with the volume off. Notice how people turn away when they speak, cover their mouth, mumble, or any of the 900 other things that people do to make lip-reading a challenge. Yet, Colleen rises above, like the sun climbing to the top of the sky, and reads lips like a “Top-Notch Seasoned Pro.”

Now, allow me to clarify the challenge behind pronunciation. Think back to middle school and high school. You probably studied German, French, Spanish, or perhaps something else. Remember how you tried so hard to get the pronunciation just right, but your teacher would say something like, “Yes, good try, but that’s not quite it.” (At least, that was my experience.)

Now imagine trying to learn that without the ability to hear. Colleen, through the unique and rare training method of using a tissue held in front of her as she spoke, used this as a guide to adjust her pronunciation based on the movements of the tissue. Although she has not directly said so to me, I can only imagine the struggles, the times of tears, and just plain wanting to give up. But she didn’t, and today she stands proud as a beautiful speaker. Best of all is how humble she is, and simply shrugs at compliments with a warm smile … a true heroine in my book.

Finding the Motivation to Overcome Fear

Colleen and Allan have had a lot of challenges to deal with, and I’d guess there were times they’ve experienced frustration and fear.

I believe that fear is a common, yet major element that holds us back. That combined with the belief that we aren’t good enough does a great job of keeping us from achieving our dreams. I’m not alone in thinking this. In fact, former Navy SEAL and motivational coach Richard Machowicz shares this view with me.

Awhile back, I looked this demon of “fear” and “not being good enough” right in the eye when I found out I am going deaf in both ears due to a condition I have. As one can imagine, I was faced with fear and anger … What was I going to do? How was I going to handle my B2B copywriting business, and things like calls, client interviews, and other “hearing”-related aspects of the job?

However …

Breakthrough … because when one sticks to the course, solutions reveal themselves. Email is one solution, but it doesn’t cover everything. However, we are blessed to live in a time where technology offers many solutions. So after much research and being a detective, I now do the following:

  1. I set up all calls in a quiet place. All calls are recorded (after I get permission).
  2. I also run an application that gives me a live text version (automatic transcription) of the call, so I can read along and not miss anything.
  3. I also use the hearing I still have, and I wear headphones to isolate the sound, which allows me to conduct the interview.

Bonus Point
In the future, as my hearing gets progressively worse, I can use a call relay service, like the one provided by the company Purple. Or I can do as Bob Bly does, and outsource all of the interviews, and other such things — and just write.

Final Thoughts …

In short, nothing is stopping my friends from going out and doing amazing things. For me, my current challenge is simply that … a challenge. Furthermore, it is one that I’m overcoming in great strides every day. So I hope you go and find your motivational source, and tap into it full-throttle, whatever it may be.

For example, if you like football, then maybe Derrick Coleman and Kenny Walker can be your power source. Or perhaps you will find it somewhere else. No matter, wherever you find it … embrace it. Because even in B2B copywriting, we face daily challenges. Such as, “am I good enough” to take on a Fortune 500 client? Or simply the fear of prospecting a client of that magnitude. Really, it’s just fear, so face it, breakthrough, and overcome it. That’s what my friends are doing … and I am so thankful to them for the motivation they give me so I can do it too.

As for you … whatever you fear, it’s time to breakthrough it and move to the next level … because you CAN.

This article, Finding Motivation … But Not From Where You Think, was originally published by B2B Writing Success.

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Published: December 18, 2014

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