After school I stood in our garage looking up at the rafters with just an hour of light left in the fall day.
Outside the first snowfall of the season had covered the ground with a thin blanket of white goodness. Inside I was bursting with excitement to start skiing for the season.
Not wanting to ruin my new skis, I took down an old pair of wooden skis with cable bindings. I put them on the garage bench, taking down tools to adjust the old bindings to my new ski boots.
I walked over to the ravine two blocks from the house. The four lanes of afternoon traffic on Groat Road roared past below me as I strapped on my old wooden skis at the top of a little goat trail made for hikers. I pushed off on my ancient skis, not caring how dangerous the skinny little trail was. I had been waiting all fall for this moment to arrive. The adrenaline-fueled rush propelled me down that dirt trail barely covered with the skiff of new snow. After months of anticipation I had arrived.
One of the most powerful ways to motivate people is to build resonance around a vision and events that people can anticipate and look forward to. While fear holds us back, resonance propels us forward to a positive happy outcome. We will overcome many fears and challenges when we are focused on the positive experiences that we anticipate as the outcome of our work.
Build anticipation With These Ideas
- Paint as vivid a picture as you possibly can about what the future state will look like. As I stood in my parent’s garage, I could actually sense what the motion of sliding down the snow was going to feel like.
- Build anticipation for each step along the journey, not just for the final outcome. It is often easier to get everyone sensing and feeling those intermediate successes, then they can sense a huge goal.
- Celebrate each win before moving on to the next challenge. Doing this sets the tone, right-sizing the challenges while building trust and connection between all the participants.
- Have joy in the process. On that long ago first ski day, I enjoyed the process of walking home from school in the snow, getting out my ski boots, opening the garage, looking for a pair of skis, adjusting the bindings, walking to the ravine, walking home, and putting everything away.
The photo accompanying this article was taken in the back yard of the first house we lived in. I am with my Dad and our old English sheep dog Peter Pan. The pair of wooden skis in my hand may very well have been the ones my teenage self anticipated using. Looking at this photograph reminded me of how much I looked forward to skiing with my Dad when I was a teenager.