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)

The One Thing We Forget About Getting Stuff Done

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

We spend much of our energy on getting everything done either by ourselves or through others. But there never seems to be enough time. So we stress and steam and push and plead to get everyone into action and producing.

But we regularly leave out one thing that would simplify things and speed the results we seek: trust.

When we trust that everything works out for us, that others are fundamentally good, and that we can handle anything that comes up, we pave the way. People gain confidence, we are not bogged down in stress, and results come shockingly quickly and well.

Most of us have seen how this trust works. But in the tension of the day and against the backdrop of the what the world generally believes, we forget. The sooner we remember that the key is, “believing is seeing”–not the other way around–the easier it will be.

 

In your corner,

Mike

PS: This version of trust means that we feel good about the desired results–as if they have already occurred–before they actually show up. If we feel bad, we aren’t trusting and will fall back into the slower, more stressful way: doing stuff to make things happen.

PPS: What does it look like to feel good before the results show up? It will be different for each person. To get started, try doing a ladder exercise with “how it is now” at the bottom of the ladder and the desired results at the top. Once you get to the feeling at the top, it will be very easy to see how to trust, feel good, and jump into inspired action.

PPPS: And it will become easy for others to pick up on your excitement and get inspired themselves.

PPPPS: Trust does not supplant action. As we trust, we will see the next best thing to do: make that call, write that note, work that spreadsheet. But we won’t be acting to feel better and cause a result. That’s so important.

 

Today’s photo credit: Ulf Bodin Uppsala, March 21, 2015 via photopin (license)

Why We Can’t Mandate Best Practices 

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

Sure, when we learn a helpful tool or idea, we want to share it. But we as leaders can’t mandate it. Forcing others to use a tool (a task organization method, say, or a way of remaining calm under fire) that we find personally helpful causes them to focus on pleasing us instead of learning and leveraging.

We can, however, model and coach. Implementing the tool or idea for ourselves will inspire people to investigate and adopt these new ways. When they come to ask us about it, we can coach them through.

 

In your corner,

Mike

PS: The exceptions here are tools that everyone must use for smooth day-to-day operations. For example, having everyone tracking work with clients in a CRM is not, usually, optional. Modeling and coaching are great ways to help people adopt these tools and approaches that we all need to use.

Selecting What NOT To Get Done

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

It’s not about getting it all done. We can’t even get most of it done. There’s just too much we could do and more is always coming.

The trick is to get good at selecting only the best things to get done. And to actively NOT do the rest.

To do this, we first give ourselves and our teams permission not to get everything done. Otherwise, the stress and guilt will derail us. Next we set aside time daily and weekly to choose those best things to get done. Otherwise, we’ll be too reactive. Then we dedicate time monthly and quarterly for reflection and planning. Otherwise, our strategy will get stale, we’ll clash with each other over what we should be doing, and the reactive fire-fighting will creep back in.

 

In your corner,

Mike

PS: What’s the most important thing to get done today? (See, you knew the answer right away.)

 

Today’s photo credit: Tim Pierce accomplished (344/365) via photopin (license)

The Siren Songs That Tempt Every Leader

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

Trying to figure it all out and get it all done are the siren songs of leadership. They snare us every time.

We can avoid the rocks of micromanagement and the shoals of overwrought strategy by leading instead of deciding or doing. We have more than enough to do as captain of the ship. Our work is getting clear on desired outcomes, setting up rules of engagement so that everyone can win, believing (really, really) we will succeed, tracking and tacking, and getting out of the way so that others can execute.

Let them do the figuring out and executing.

 

In your corner,

Mike

PS: One sign that you are headed for the rocks: the sense that it’d just be faster if you did the work instead of them. Steer away! Pure siren song, that.

 

Today’s photo credit Lorenzo Costa – The Yorck Project: 10.000 Meisterwerke der Malerei. DVD-ROM, 2002. ISBN 3936122202. Distributed by DIRECTMEDIA Publishing GmbH., Public Domain, Link

Swayed By Reality

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

The sages tell us that the formula for creating any outcome is belief->actions->results. This is a leverage formula. We leverage action into results because we know that taking concerted action generates more results than our default, reactive action.

We usually forget the first, more powerful part of the formula. Focused belief generates better actions (and therefore much better results) than our default, habitual beliefs.

Here’s an example. Let’s say that we want to convince someone to change a behavior and that this person has resisted changing in the past. In our habitual beliefs, we may think of this person as hard to deal with, lazy, obstructive, or untalented.

But what if we changed our belief?

Which belief would better support our goal of getting them to change: that they are hard to deal with, for instance, or easy to deal with?

“Ah,” you argue, “you are ignoring reality. What if they really are hard to deal with?”

But that’s the power of this formula. Thinking that they are what we have thought they are leaves little room for something to shift. Choosing to believe something new about them (despite what we have been believing and calling reality) blasts open the door to different actions and results.

The trick is not to be swayed by “reality.”

 

In your corner,

Mike

PS: Of course, this trick works for anything we want, not just in getting others to change.

PPS: A great way to know when an old belief is getting in the way is that it feels bad. Let a bad feeling tell you it’s time to choose a new belief.

 

Today’s photo credit: Andrew Stawarz Nymans Garden View via photopin (license)