I once heard Anthony Robbins say that people change for one of two reasons: inspiration or desperation. He said it is normally desperation that gets people to the point of change. But desperation causes change when you reach that point on your own; it isn’t a tool for leaders.

When you feel the strain that accompanies a poor performance, it is easy to react by exporting your fears, your concerns, and your stress onto your team. It shows up as anger, impatience, and intolerance. None of these emotions are motivating to others.

You need a change, so you ratchet up the pressure that you feel on everyone around you. But instead of creating a burning platform, you torch everyone standing on the platform, destroying the very people (and the very relationships) you most need when you most need them.

Desperation isn’t the right motivator. Inspiration is the better choice.

People respond to challenges. They respond when they have a mission that provides meaning. They respond to the opportunity to make a difference. People respond to the chance to grow, to become something more than they are.

We love the underdog with her back against the wall because she is us. We want to be inspired. We want to believe.

People see you in one of two states when you are under serious pressure. They see you as the very best version of yourself, or they see you at your very worst. There is no path to better performance that begins with you at your very worst. By transferring your desperation, you cause people to change, but it isn’t the change that you need. Instead, they change leaders.


When you are under serious pressure, which version of you responds? Is it the empowered, resourceful you? Or is it the victim?

How do you slow down and center yourself when you are under pressure?

Is your game face something that inspire others to take action and join your cause? Or is it something that inspires people to find a new place to call home?

Everyone makes the wrong choice here before they make the right choice. How do you apologize and reset?

Post by Anthony Iannarino on January 23, 2014
Anthony Iannarino
Anthony Iannarino is a writer, an author of four books on the modern sales approach, an international speaker, and an entrepreneur. Anthony posts here daily.
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