Security Matters: Motivating People by Building Trust

4 09 2013


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ImageI fly a lot in my work and, for the most part, I don’t mind the TSA security lines, high-priced airport food, delayed and cancelled flights or even the lack of legroom in coach.

But there is one part of flying that has grown quite “old” and boring to me:  the safety announcements.  If you’ve heard one, you’ve literally heard them all (unless you’re lucky enough to fly Southwest and get acomedian or rapper as your head flight attendant).

The safety announcements–whether by mouth, audiotape or video–rarely catch my attention anymore. I pretty much know exit locations, how to buckle my seat belt and what to do “in the unlikely event of a loss in cabin pressure.”  And, no, it’s not to scream like a little girl!

And yet, these safety announcements are incredibly important, even for experienced travelers who can rattle off the announcement in their sleep.

But that’s how most of us approach security.  It rarely means anything until there’s smoke, strange sounds or screams.  We need to experience insecurity to appreciate security.

One day my son Ryan surprised my wife and I with the revelation that he had discovered what women really want.

“Okay, son,” I inquired, “what do women really want?”

“Simple,” he replied, “They want security.”

“Security?” I said, pausing to reflect and see if mother and sister agreed (they nodded approvingly).  As I mulled over his answer, I was struck by the maturity of my son. He was right.  Deep down, every woman hungers for security.  She wants to be physically and emotionally safe.  And men do too!

But this sudden wisdom only scratched my curiosity.  How did my son know this truth?  How could a young boy reveal such a wonderful insight?

I had to know his thought process!  How did he know this?

“So tell me, son,” I asked further, “how do you know women want security?”

Not missing a beat, my son shot back, “It’s easy, dad. Every time I enter a room full of women I always hear them yell for security!”  

I can hear you laughing and that’s good.  It’s a funny joke.  However, the truth is there too: we all need to be safe and secure!  The most basic of needs are those related to physical safety (food, drink, sleep) and emotional security.  When workplaces, classrooms and homes are riddled with insecurity (financial questions, emotional conflict, physical discomfort, mental mistakes, spiritual disharmony ) it creates discord, doubt and dysfunction.

In fact, without security all other human needs (belonging, control, self-worth, freedom, pleasure) will fail.  People need to be comfortable, competent and confident.

Security creates trust.  And trust is essential to self-motivation.




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