In history classes, I often struggled with remembering dates.

Remembering who, what, where and why was not too much of an issue.  But “when” really seemed to give me trouble.  I had some great teachers along the way and each tried to help me.  Yet, I still seemed to be challenged in this particular area.

Finally, I had a science teacher who was lecturing about how people learn.  Then he made a statement that was significant to me.  He said, “The more of the five senses you can involve in the learning process, the easier it is to learn anything.”  That was profound to me.  Even adding one additional sense can cause the retention to escalate.

So I took his lesson and applied it to how I was struggling to retain dates in history.  It was a simple solution.  I wrote the date and events down on index cards and taped them to the inside of my locker.  Then each time I would open my locker, I would tap the card as I read the data.  In essence, I saw and felt the dates multiple times each day.

The result was that I began to remember when things happened in history.

My brand is The Sales Tour Guide.  As I have been traveling the country speaking to sales and sales leadership teams this year, my emphasis has been taking the audience on a guided tour in finding their “why”.  I learned long ago that if you find your “why” you will figure out the “how” in any business.

Finding your “why” is the first step.  But then to really imbed your motivators, you need to find ways to involve more of the five senses in how you remember your “why“. I used the same technique I found to work for me in school.  In my case, I kept pictures of my daughters with me all the time – and then I looked at them… very often.  That little trick helped me to keep going on the days that didn’t go so well.

Paul Castain had a great post on how he did something similar.  It is a good read and I recommend it.