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Terrorists Have Mothers.

Or, Where to Find Unstoppable Motivation for Your or Your Team's Vision.

Your vision is very possible, but it's not easy.

So, where can you find an endless supply of enthusiasm to push you through the pain, the suffering, the uncertainty, the research, the grit, the work-at-home-while-everyone's-going-out suffering?

Of course...

  • You know that the other side of this suffering is the life you want.

  • You know that the other side of this season of therapy is the marriage you want.

  • You know that on the other side of this diet and exercise regimen is the endurance you want.

  • You know on the other side of this conflict is the team you want.

  • You know that on the other side of this trial-and-error-and-error-and-error is the breakthrough you want.

But you also know how enticing it is to stay right where you are.

You know how appealing it is to, as Kierkegaard once said, "settle for a level of despair [we] can tolerate and call it happiness."

The pain you know seems safer than the pain you don't.

As I was reflecting with a client recently, "I don't blame you for wanting to stay in your current role—as much as it frustrates and exhausts you. The pain you know seems safer than the pain you don't. You know what this current pain is giving you. There's no guarantee what the pain of change will get you."

So, where can we find the fuel to keep going?

Learning about motivations from an expert negotiator.

Chris Voss knows a lot about awakening our deepest, most reliable motives.

A few years ago, Chris released Never Split the Difference: Negotiating as If Your Life Depended On It and it's a textbook about working with people through conflict, misunderstanding, and incongruent expectations written by someone who spent years as an international hostage negotiator for the FBI.

He seems ubiquitous now, but I remember first being exposed to his expertise when he appeared on the James Altucher podcast.

One of the standout principles he shared was how he, when in a life-or-death conversation with a terrorist, would often try to get the terrorist to talk about the victims who weren't in the room.

"Can I tell the hostage's Mom that she's OK? She's worried."

"You don't have to release them, but can you please tell the hostage that his son misses him."

In one instance, Chris reported that the terrorist, after hours of stonewalling and threats and chest-thumping was moved to tears and responded over the cell phone, "Her mom knows about this? Tell her she's OK. Please."

Nearly every time, the threat was neutralized because the terrorist identified with the hostage on a level he hadn't before. The terrorist might have kids. The terrorist certainly has a Mom. It made it insurmountably difficult to continue harming this victim. They were no longer a pawn. They were a person.

Here's the principle: If we can attach ourselves to the people impacted by our decisions, we can't avoiding thinking about the power of our decisions.

And, therein lies one, unstoppable source of motivation for your vision.

"Who" is your "Why"

I invite you to imagine that all the voices dis-incentivizing you from what you want are seeking your harm. Yep. Like terrorists. The voice that tells you to stay right where you are, live in certainty, and stop trying to break out of ordinary are threatening the life you could have. They are holding you hostage.

But I want you to add weight to it. If you stay hostage to life as-it-is, imagine who will miss out. Imagine who won't be served. Imagine the story your kids won't be able to tell. Imagine the clients who won't get your devotion and creativity.

I want you to close your eyes and picture them.

If you can, I want you to name them.

I want you to imagine what that day will be like when you're celebrating with those people on the other side of a healthier relationship, the other side of calling out the toxicity, the other side of getting help, the other side of finishing that book or that song, the other side of saying "no", the other side of saying "now".

Future You wants you to know that so many lives are going to better because you chose to grow, risk, and get up one. more. time. You didn't settle.

You Are Not Enough

In many ways, I want you to know you are enough. You are worth dignity and worth believing in.

But, in a very real sense, you are not enough for the life you're meant to live.

There are people who's lives will benefit from getting to help you. There are people who will get to enjoy who you are when you're healthier. There are people who will make their own, bold moves when they see your story. There are people who will be cared for because you have more finances to give away.

Your life matters. Your vision matters.

Why? Because your future is people.

What now?

  • Leave a comment below with the names of people you know are worth it.

  • Share this with somebody and add "You are my WHY."

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Jenno Gum
Jenno Gum
Sep 09, 2022

I needed this today thank you 🥺⭐️ This is for my son my mom my sisters Chris and his fam my friends .


Sep 08, 2022

Cogent post! Thank you! I think that it is an emotionally believable possibility of future joy that takes us through the personal transformation valley of pain and shame. That future joy may be a pile of new "stuff," but to have a significant value, it is found in of those who receive the benefit of our efforts in that valley and make it all worthwhile.

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