Build the Presence Habit

Posted on 2 CommentsPosted in Leading, Sales and Influence, Will=Our inner game
Reading time: 1 min.

When we are present, it can look to others like we have suddenly become much more powerful, smart, worldly, and wise. And, in a way, we have. Which is kinda nice.

And it encourages us to be more and more present. To be present more, we build the presence habit it just like any other habit. We start by setting a goal to be more present then noticing when we are instead focused fixing the past or controlling the future.


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Feel Good Despite

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in We=All Who Matter, Will=Our inner game
Reading time: 2 min.

Have you noticed how others can set our mood? If another person is having a bad day, we can take it on, a little or a lot. We might start feeling as they do. Or we might react negatively to something they are feeling. Either way, we have let them decide whether or not we feel good.

This happens, to be sure, with people we are close to: spouses, kids, parents, bosses, peers, employees. It can also happen with strangers we pass on the street. And the mood of people in every form of media also can knock us off our game.

We can replace the habit of taking on others moods with a new habit. Let’s call this habit, “feel good despite.” Catch yourself when you feel bad after an encounter with another. No matter what they are feeling or doing, you can select a thought that feels even just a tiny bit better (any thought that feels better will do).

Then you will feel better and others will benefit from being around you.


In your corner,


PS: Thoughts of criticism or blame toward the other person won’t feel good. If you catch yourself thinking thoughts like these, try thoughts like, “They are doing the best they can; we all are,” “They so get to have that opinion,” “What they think of me is really none of my business,” or “Peace.”

PPS: Of course, if another person is feeling good, we can let that feeling affect us all we want.


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Attention For Results

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

Contrary to common wisdom, the results we get come from how we focus our attention and not our actions. Our actions simply flow from our focus.

If our attention is scattered by habit, urgency, fear, threat, or focus on whatever we do not want, then our actions will be distracted and ineffective. Our results will suffer or we will struggle mightily as we try to give more action in lieu of attention. If we maintain our attention on our desired outcomes–even as we field the urgent stuff–our actions will be coherent and the results will be as desired.

Our most precious asset is not our knowledge, intelligence, experience, execution, team, or ability to raise capital. It is our attention. Instead of time management (or change management, project management, knowledge management, or work management), let’s become masters of focusing our attention for results.


In your corner,


PS: So if you want different results, focus your attention differently. Right?

PPS: You can start with your Effectiveness System and lists.


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to do

From Zero to Effective in About 30 Minutes

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

If you have longed to get yourself organized, productive, and effective yet have not known where to start, try a single list and just one habit.

The Effectiveness System is a handful of habits and a small set of lists. Because the whole system can be too much to tackle at once, I suggest you master one habit and/or list at a time. To get going, try Habit #6: Refresh as your first habit and Outcomes as your first list.

An outcome is something that you are committed to complete and that takes more than one doable step to complete. Example: “Hire new Program Manager” might be something I choose to do that will take more than one step.  We start with a list of outcomes instead of doable tasks because, while you can always think up the next best doable task for any outcome, it is easy to lose track of the outcomes you’re committed to achieving.

Make a simple list of your desired outcomes. Consider large and small, near-term, and long-term projects at home and work. Don’t be surprised if you end up with between 40 and 80 items.

At least once per day, do a Refresh. Scan your list of outcomes to make sure it is up-to date and accurate. Add any new outcomes and remove any achieved outcomes. For each outcome on your list, see if you can describe the very next doable step.

Carry this list with you through your day. At any time, you can scan it for the next most important and possible thing to work on.

Later, once you’ve mastered this list and habit, add the others. In the meantime, launch a simple Effectiveness System from nothing in about 30 minutes.


In your corner,

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Fundamentally Fine

Posted on 2 CommentsPosted in Will=Our inner game
Reading time: 2 min.

Yesterday’s post about what to do when new habits won’t stick included this postscript: “The good news is that no belief about you, me, or it being fundamentally broken, flawed, or wrong is true. Not a titch.

Most of us face this belief in flaw from time to time. It can be a deep-seated habit. One reader asked for tips on how we can really believe that we and the world are not fundamentally flawed, wrong, or broken.  Here are two exercises you can do to “own” the belief that we are fundamentally fine.

A ladder. Acknowledge that you currently believe the opposite, that you think there is something wrong with you,  me,  or it. Feel how thinking that thought feels. (Hint: instead of words to describe your feelings, look for sensations in your body and describe them.) Sit with it. Allow whatever reactions may pop up; just noticed them. Then ask yourself, “What thought would feel better?” Patiently wait for the answer; it may take 20 seconds or so. Feel what that new thought feels like. Repeat that question with this new thought. Keep iterating until you feel really good.

Some logic. There is no way you can prove true beyond doubt your old belief about you, me, or it being broken, wrong, or flawed. There is also no way to prove true the new belief that you, me, and it are not broken, not flawed, not wrong. Funny,  isn’t it? We hold onto the old belief without proof.  Yet we resist the new belief because there is no proof. If we can hold onto the old belief without proof, then it makes perfect sense to adopt the new belief without proof. Why would we do that? Because it feels better. And because,  with the new belief, we are much,  much, much more likely to have the freedom, joy, growth, and reward we seek.


In your corner,


PS: You need no special rituals to do these exercises (though you can add any you like). You can do these at breakfast, on your commute, or whenever.


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What To Do When New Habits Won’t Stick

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Will=Our inner game
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Try as we might, sometimes new habits just won’t stick. When we struggle to adopt a new habit–eating well, not procrastinating, or reacting better around others, for example–we very likely are holding ourselves stuck with another, deeper habit. Replace the deeper habit to eliminate the struggle. Then adopt the first habit with ease.

The deeper habit can be tricky to identify. Here’s a big tip: it is always a belief about something being fundamentally wrong with you, others, or the rest of reality.


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PS: And usually what appears as something fundamentally wrong with others or reality is really something I believe is wrong in me.

PPS: Yeah, it’s profound. And simple.

PPPS: The good news is that no belief about you, me, or it being fundamentally broken, flawed, or wrong is true. Not a titch.

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Can We Change, Really?

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Will=Our inner game
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Can we really change? Can people on our team change? Can any of us get better at anything or are we stuck with the hand we’ve been dealt from the personality card deck?

If we believe that our personality traits are set for us by some combination of nature (DNA) and nurture (our experiences), then change will be slower and more difficult.

If we believe we have control over our reactions, then change is inevitable. By taking command of our reactions, we can change life-long habits of thought and behavior for the better. Tools like the flip, the ladder, telling yourself a different lie, the keep-or-toss, focus on the good stuff, this is me, and knowing how to change a habit help us change.

A better question is, “Do we want to change or are we resisting?”


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Solution-Resistant Problems

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Some problems seem to resist solving. These problems feel bad to consider. Knowing how uncomfortable they are, we don’t fully address them. Instead of solving the problem for good, we end up creating “solutions” that only numb the discomfort.

To solve solution-resistant problems, embrace them.

Start by feeling through the bad feeling. Catch yourself feeling bad about the problem before you react to numb the feeling. Choose to stick with the feeling for a bit. Allow the feeling well up then subside; you will be fine. And you will then have much more ease with and clarity about the problem.

If you are considering a problem related to you alone, ask, “What do I want instead of this problem? And what is the very next, concrete step I can take to move closer to that?” If the problem is shared within a team, have everyone consider, “What do we want instead of this problem? And what is the very next, concrete step we can take to move closer to that?”


In your corner,


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It’s like turning your head

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Will=Our inner game
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Evolutionary neurologists have a good explanation for our habit of focusing mostly on the negative, the problems, what is wrong. They explain how we inherited our vigilance from distant ancestors who needed to be on guard against lion attacks.

We focus our attention today on the negative because we believe, somehow,  that this is the way we, like our ancestors, stay alive. It’s hardwired, they say, down in the primal parts of our brains.

Of course, no lions are chasing us. And as my friend Sally likes to say, “If I am neither on fire nor in the Amazon, then I am fine.”

Despite any primordial habit we may have picked up, choosing to focus on the positive, on the appreciated, on all that is working is as easy as turning our head to look at it.

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How to Drop the Resistance to Changing Old Habits

Posted on 4 CommentsPosted in Will=Our inner game
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Success usually requires replacing some old habits with new ones. Replacing a habit is simple to do. The first step–committing to the change–can be really tough because our subconscious minds resist.

We build of our habits to keep us from harm, from feeling bad. In effect, we tell our subconscious minds, “Please do that thing, think that thought, react that way whenever you notice us in this situation. Please make sure we do this habit automatically, without having to think about it. We do not want to feel again the bad feelings that led us to build this habit.” Our subconscious minds happily oblige. And many, many of our habits still serve us well.

Sometimes we recognize a habit that gets in the way of our success. Since our subconscious minds think they are just doing their job, they will resist attempts to change that habit. Like sentries with their orders, they respond, “No can do. You wanted this habit to keep you safe and happy. So that’s what we’re doing. Have a nice day.”

Luckily, the sentries will let old habits drop if we present our case well. All we need to do is feel how great the new habit feels. Spend a few minutes a day imagining what business and life will be like when you replace the old habit with the new one. In short order, you will see the resistance drop and the adoption of the new habit begin.


In your corner,



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