Turn Struggle into Flow

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Do=Natural flow of action
Reading time: 1 min.

Our worries about how something will get done are merely us focusing on what’s wrong. This, we’ve seen, is a great way to prevent progress. It feels bad and has us struggle through sub-optimal next steps.

Next time you catch yourself with worrying about how, stop. Focus for a bit on what end result you really want, why you want it, and how great it will feel when it happens. Then ask yourself what is the next best thing to do.

You’ll be delighted as struggle turns to flow.

 

In your corner,

Mike

Today’s photo credit: James Whitesmith The Strid via photopin (license)

Jellyfish or Jackhammer?

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Do=Natural flow of action, We=All Who Matter
Reading time: 1 min.

We can act in response to what we think are other people’s judgments of us. (Yuck.) Or we can act according to what we want. (Lonely.)

Success at work happens when we do the later in service of other people, specifically other people whose problems and opportunities we find compelling.

Both. And.

 

In your corner,

Mike

 

Today’s photo credit: Thomas Hawk Jack Hammering It via photopin (license)

Stubbornly Undone

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Do=Natural flow of action, Will=Our inner game
Reading time: 1 min.

For anything that remains stubbornly undone, the very last place at need to look for answers is between our ears.

Our judgments and beliefs hold both wanted and unwanted situations in place with tenacity. So it makes all kind of sense to replace any attention to unwanted (including complaints, judgments, etc.) with high-buzz attention on what we do want.

 

In your corner,

Mike

 

Today’s photo credit: jay galvin Wild Mule Crossing Sign via photopin (license)

Too Many Long Hours is a Symptom

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Do=Natural flow of action, We=All Who Matter, What=Compelling Focus, Will=Our inner game
Reading time: 1 min.

When we see an organization of good, caring people working hard, long hours, it’s often a symptom: there isn’t enough clarity. 

If we all aren’t clear on our goals, roles, accountability, and permission to collaborate, important decisions aren’t made or agreed to. Then lots of stuff falls through the cracks. And the good, caring people are left to pick up the pieces.

Happens all the time but it doesn’t need to.

 

In your corner,

Mike

 

Today’a photo credit: Floris M. Oosterveld Working Late via photopin (license)

How to Have Simple and Effective Processes

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Do=Natural flow of action, Leading, Systems
Reading time: 1 min.

Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.

–Albert Einstein

Our companies thrive when we have the simplest possible systems, processes, and policies. Anything too simple would be incomplete and cause confusion and waste. Anything too cumbersome will slow us down.

How, then, would we put Einstein’s advice into practice? It’s simple, of course! For any system, process, or policy,

  • Work back from the desired results. Start at the end and ask, “What do we need to have this outcome?” Then repeat the question until we get to the beginning. Whatever we build will be as simple as possible. Desired results describe what we want to happen for how much investment of time, energy, and money.
  • Add safeguards to address only those potential errors with unacceptably high expected costs (probability of it occurring times cost in relationship currency, dollars, and time).
  • Agree to revisit/redesign the systems, process, or policy whenever the desired results (outcomes and/or investment needed to get those outcomes) start slipping.

Simple.

 

In your corner,

Mike

Today’s photo credit: photosteve101 Pencil’s nib / pencil close up / macro / with with cross-section paper via photopin (license)

Hafta Versus Gonna

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Do=Natural flow of action
Reading time: 2 min.

There’s a fundamental flaw that makes all time (or task) management awful. When we think about time management, we make the unwitting assumption that we “hafta” do, dump, delegate, or do later all the tasks that come our way. “I hafta answer that email. I gotta give Margie that feedback. I need to lose 5 pounds. I hafta reduce my environmental footprint.” Since there is no way we can ever get to all the things, the tasks just pile up. And we spend energy feeling bad about or trying to ignore it all.

Here’s a better way to think of it: let’s consider all the tasks that come to us as things we might do. From this perspective, we can happily let things pile up. “I might answer that email. I could complete the TPS report. I might book a ride in a helicopter. I could launch a line of parakeet clothing.”

Next, let’s get clear on what we really want to accomplish. We can do this by answering the question, “How will I know I’ve done a good job here?”

Then we step into a productive flow by asking ourselves, “What feels best? From all the things in the pile, what am I gonna do? What do I choose to do now?”

 

In your corner,

Mike

PS: Flow much better, ya?

 

Today’s photo credit: davdenic Colors via photopin (license)

We Needn’t

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Do=Natural flow of action, Will=Our inner game
Reading time: 1 min.

Assuming we know the outcomes we want to see, there are two ways we can approach any given situation. We can worry about how it will happen. Or we can watch with excited expectation as it unfolds.

Whichever we choose will determine how effective our planning and actions will be.

We take the heavy, former approach when we think we can and should control things. We take the lighter, latter approach when we realize we can’t and needn’t control anything.

 

In your corner,

Mike

PS: Or, rather, we can’t and needn’t control anything besides our own thoughts and reactions.

 

Today’s photo credit: doranyiro Kuma waiting for a loving home (at the NHSPCA shelter) via photopin (license)

So, You Say You Want Better Results

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Do=Natural flow of action, Will=Our inner game
Reading time: 2 min.

Okay. Maybe we are convinced that jumping into action to get desired results is problematic. Perhaps there is something useful in raising our buzz–that is, to feeling good–then acting as inspired to generate better results. But why does raising our buzz seem so difficult?

Mostly, it’s because we are fighting age-old, inherited habits. We are so used to (1) reacting to outside influences and (2) thinking that we have to figure things out and get into action to handle those outside influences. Any attempt we make to raise our buzz (that is, feeling good despite the outside influences) presses against those two habits. It is hard to do. But here’s the thing: saying it’s hard makes it harder. (See?)

So we need a way to gently, lightly move ourselves away from reacting to outside influences and toward an inner-generated, high-buzz perspective.

What works is starting with small, daily practice. Being playful about it also helps. It is especially useful to do this practice as we are going to bed and as we wake up. It takes just a few minutes each time. Within a few days, we will notice a difference. And inside a month, whoa!

Keep going.

 

In your corner,

Mike

 

Today’s photo credit: Arya Ziai September 13, 2013 at 09:58PM via photopin (license)

It’s Very Hard Work

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Do=Natural flow of action, Will=Our inner game
Reading time: 1 min.

We talk about approaching our piles of tasks with ease. We note how jumping into action when feeling tense, angry, or otherwise bad about stuff is counterproductive. And we at least suspect that taking the time to first feel good then act is a smart way to go.

Yet many people complain that we advocate being lazy, not getting stuff done, or ignoring what’s important. They insist that success comes primarily from hard work.

And there, they are right.

It takes lots of hard work–focus, concentration, discernment, and organization–to replace our habit of jumping into action with a habit of doing whatever it takes to first feel good, then act as inspired. When we do, though, wow!

Gotta do the right hard work.

 

In your corner,

Mike

 

Today’s photo credit: Amanda Slater from Coventry, England (Suffolk Horses Ploughing) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

re: Never Mind the Pile

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Do=Natural flow of action, Will=Our inner game
Reading time: 1 min.

A large pile of tasks can make us feel anxious, annoyed, or apoplectic. We think that these feelings are a reaction to the pile–a call to buckle down, push harder, and make stuff happen.

Nope.

That feeling is the wiser part of us sending us a memo: “Never mind the pile. You’re fine. You’re just thinking about it the wrong way. There’s an easier, more fulfilling way. That pile isn’t a threat. Nor are the stories you make up about what would happen if you don’t do them correctly, on time, or to someone else’s satisfaction. What you fear is baseless. Action taken when buzzing low is always counterproductive. Be easy about it all. Things always work out. You will never get through the pile; you’re always adding more. Think of it as a “could do” pile, not a “to do” pile. Breathe. Get perspective. Enjoy the process. You’ve done this before. You’ve got this now. Yes. Feel good, raise your buzz, then act from the ensuing inspiration. Repeat. And enjoy the results.”

Better?

 

In your corner,

Mike

PS: The stronger the feeling, the more imperative the memo.

Today’s photo credit: Allysse Riordan Piling up via photopin (license)