Comfort Is Overrated

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The warning signs at the edges of our comfort zone tell us to stop, go back, stay safe. Our comfort zone will even make up seemingly valid justifications for staying in the zone.

Of course, to do something we’ve never done, we have to leave our comfort zone. But first we must catch our justifications. Next we remind ourselves why the Something New is more helpful than the comfort and why staying in the zone is worse than the discomfort of stepping out.

 

In your corner,

Mike

PS: We can also gather motivation by remembering how great it feels to finally step out.

 

The Art of Telling Things as You Want Them To Be

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Success, Will=Our inner game
Reading time: 2 min.

We can spend our time telling (ourselves and others) stories how and why things are the way they are. Or we can spend our time telling ourselves (others will find out soon enough) stories about things working out as desired even though we’re not sure how they will.

Which will get us closer to our goal?

Right. Toss the habit of describing things as they are and pick up the habit of telling things as you want them to be.

 

In your corner,

Mike

PS: The trick is to tell a story that uses general-enough statements that you can believe. For example, don’t say, “That won’t work because of this obstacle, that person, or this flaw” or, “I am going to do this detail, that strategy, and this other thing to make it happen.” Instead say general things you already believe. This might include, “I’m not sure how it will work out. I don’t need to know right now. It works out for others, so it must be possible. I’ve been in situations like this before and it worked out. You know, people really do enjoy being part of something successful like this. I bet there are lots of people who will jump in to help me. It’s okay. I can handle anything that might happen. I’ve got this. I feel better already. It will be fun to see how it works out.”

 

Today’s photo credit: Andi Licious Cold and Empty via photopin (license)

A New Year’s Dialogue

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Will=Our inner game
Reading time: 2 min.

Stuff happens because we act. (Easy.)

Different actions cause different stuff to happen. (Also easy.)

Our thoughts (which we may notice variously as our ideas, beliefs, values, moods, emotions, perspectives, or attitudes) determine which actions we choose. (Makes sense.)

Other people react to our thoughts and affect our results, too, even if we haven’t verbalized those thoughts. (Really?)

Most of our thoughts are chatter that happens habitually. (Huh.)

And up to 70% of  our chatter is negative in tone. (Dang.)

We can tell when our thoughts are negative because they feel bad when we think them. (Hmm. And?)

We can deliberately catch our chatter and replace it with thoughts that help us select better actions. (Oh, good.)

Deliberate thinking is tough to sustain because it takes more energy that habitual thought and it drains our willpower. (Oh, no.)

We can use just a bit of willpower to set up a simple, 5-minute, daily better-thinking routine. (Such as?)

Examples include writing lists of things we appreciate, meditating, visualizing how well our day is going to go, or many of the other buzz raising tools. (Hmm, easy-ish.)

And we can enjoy better results this year from better thinking with just a bit of willpower as our routine becomes a habit. (But can I do it?)

If anyone can, it’s you. (I like hearing that.)

 

In your corner,

Mike

 

Today’s photo credit: Alexey Kljatov (ChaoticMind75) Snowflake collage: mirror’s edge via photopin (license)

It’s a Protection Scheme

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Most of what we need, want, or desire can be accomplished by building a new habit.

But our old habits come with a protection scheme. Any attempt to interrupt an old habit triggers its protection scheme and makes us feel bad or even unsafe. These schemes make replacing an old habit so uncomfortable that we give up trying.

The good news is that these schemes were designed to protect us, not the habits. We had built these old habits to serve us and now they no longer do. As soon as we make a strong enough commitment to a new habit, the protection scheme will fade.

 

In your corner,

Mike

 

Today’s photo credit: mitchell haindfield liquid sunshine (seattle) via photopin (license)

What To Do When You’re In The Quick-Fix Trap

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Strategy, Will=Our inner game
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We can get trapped thinking we need a quick fix. Maybe we want a long-standing problem (e.g. not enough sales) to go away (e.g. by hiring someone to take over sales). Or perhaps we hope our problems will go away when someone discovers, picks, or rescues us.

But quick fixes rarely work. They miss what’s really going on.

Our desire for a quick fix masks our real needs: a bit of courage and a new habit or two to get us and our companies where we want to go. We don’t need to be rescued; we need the habit of winning while helping others to win. We don’t need someone take over sales; we need to have the whole company adopt a trustworthy sales process.

Quick fix? Think instead of the underlying habits we really need.

 

In your corner,

Mike

 

Today’s photo credit:
Joe Loong
cc

What Got You Here Can’t Get You There

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Leading
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Each phase of a company’s growth demands a leadership approach that is significantly different from the prior phase. When we see a company struggle, we can bet that its leadership approach hasn’t shifted to what’s currently needed.

Yet we, as leaders, resist changing our approach for the very fact that it has been successful so far! Deep within our brains we are running programs that seem to say, “Don’t change. We got this. It’s worked before. It’ll work now.” But, alas, it won’t: what got us here won’t get us there.

Luckily, we are more than our deep programs. Our wisdom and intelligence tells us when we are off base; we will feel bad, we will see more struggle, and we will have fewer desired results.

These are our signals to evolve as leaders. Listen, trust, and grow.

 

In your corner,

Mike

 

Today’s photo credit: mikeyashworth cc

Habits That No Longer Work

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Will=Our inner game
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Many of our habits come from decisions we made as children. These decisions might include being shy or outgoing or being passive or forceful. They may also include notions of who we are and how the world is. These decisions made sense and made our young lives better, easier. But we often outgrow these habits. And what had been important tools stop working for us and become problems.

One or more old habits are likely driving whatever isn’t working for you now.

Luckily, we are now older. We don’t need these habits because we are much more able to manage the situations of life than when we were little. We get to replace any no-longer-working habits with new ones.

 

In your corner,

Mike

 

Today’s photo credit: Artful Magpie cc

vigilant

Vigilant Buzz Raising

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Success, Will=Our inner game
Reading time: 2 min.

Wherever we continue to struggle with something, we will find a long history of our bad-feeling thinking about that something. This thinking will often be habitual; we would hardly notice we are thinking it. And we may even think it’s normal to have these bad-feeling thoughts about this issue.

Bad feelings tell us we are focused on something we don’t want. And, habitually stuck with these bad-feeling thoughts, we tend to apply the same old solutions, recreate the same old issues, and get the same old results again and again.

The fix is simple. We can break out of the old, habitual, bad-feeling thinking with vigilant buzz raising. We can continuously, consciously raise our buzz. That is, we commit to always noticing the old, bad-feeling thinking and to then finding good-feeling thoughts to think about this topic. When we do, we free ourselves up to notice and take advantage of new solutions that will work and that we couldn’t see before.

And we get to celebrate the better results that follow.

 

In your corner,

Mike

PS: Vigilance helps because our old thinking is subtle and habitual. Without vigilance, we will fall back to the old, more familiar ways.

PPS: The first step is catching the physical signals that tell us we are thinking something that no longer works for us.

 

Today’s photo credit: Glenn Seplak cc

I Feel Good

The Real Hard Work

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Will=Our inner game
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I feel good.

– James Brown

Learning to feel good–to raise our buzz–is vitally important to becoming more successful. Many complain that feeling good is such hard work. But so is feeling bad. Both take energy, time, and attention. It’s just that, for most of us, feeling bad seems easier. That’s because we’ve learned to habitually choose feeling bad over feeling good, especially when facing a situation we don’t want.

Maybe feeling good is easy and changing our habits is the real hard work.

 

In your corner,

Mike

PS: So worth changing these habits, though, ya?

 

Today’s photo credit: dlanor smada via photopin cc

black hat

When Our Habits Go Rogue

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Leading, We=All Who Matter
Reading time: 2 min.

We are all blessed with the ability to form habits. Our habits keep us safe (we look both ways before crossing the street) and help us do complex things with ease (if we had to think about how to drive a car, we’d crash every day).

Of course, we can have bad habits. Bad habits include addictions and compulsions. And they include good habits that have gone rogue.

Rogue habits used to work well for us; they were part of our inner circle of success tools. Say, for example, we developed the habit as a kid of getting forceful when challenged. Or maybe we clammed up in unfamiliar situations. We didn’t have to think about it: challenged = forceful, unfamiliar = clam. We received regular, positive reinforcement because these habits kept us safe and sane through our school years.

These habits continued to serve us as we moved into the work world. More reinforcement! At some point in our career, though, these habits stopped being effective. As we gained experience and responsibility, these or similar habits stopped helping and started hurting our cause. We experienced increased resistance from others. And we couldn’t see that our beloved habits, the things that kept us successful for so long, had gone rogue.

What to do? First, we need to know what our rogue habits are. Have a 360-degree assessment done. Or ask a dozen people who know you what might be a rogue habit that is important enough to address. Listen carefully and thank people for their responses. No arguments, no explanations. Just, “Thank you.”

Second, select the one rogue habit that seems to be generating the most resistance with others. Commit to replacing this habit. Third, go back to your colleagues and ask for their tips on how you might replace the rogue habit. Select the tips you think are best and implement them. Finally, go again to your colleagues to ask how they think you are doing and what other advice they might offer.

Anytime you experience resistance, consider that it may be due to a success habit gone rogue.

 

In your corner,

Mike

 

PS: We often do not need to stamp out the actual behavior contained in our rogue habit. We can learn to use it intentionally in the rare occasions when it’s appropriate.

 

Today’s photo credit: JadiKreatif via photopin cc