round and round

You Need Not Struggle

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Career, Sweetspot
Reading time: 2 min.

We regularly struggle in jobs that have long ago stopped working for us. We get stuck because our day-to-day busy-ness takes all our time. And we harbor fear-uncertainty-doubt about what–if anything–else we might do. It seems easier to stay put and tolerate it. “That’s just part of life, eh?”

But it becomes a downward spiral. Staying put and tolerating drains us. The more we are drained, the less energy we have to make a switch. And the more it seems easier to stay put and tolerate.

If this sounds all too familiar, there’s good news: you can break the cycle. First, improve your thinking to feel better right where you are. Notice what is already good. Even before you make a change, feeling better will help you see better possibilities and make better choices. Then make a plan anchored in what you want (income, time, freedom, possibilities, etc.), what you are good at, what drives you, and where you get to solve the kinds of problems that you find compelling.

You need not struggle.

 

In your corner,

Mike

PS: We are talking about staying too long. Of course, flying away at from a situation too soon robs you of the chance to prove and improve yourself.

They Struggle, Too

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in We=All Who Matter
Reading time: 1 min.

One clue to working or conversing with almost anyone: despite appearances, they struggle and fear just like we all do. When we recognize this we open the doors to our compassion and formerly awkward, strained, or difficult conversations become easy.

In your corner,

Mike

You Don’t Need to Know How

Posted on 3 CommentsPosted in Do=Natural flow of action, Success, Will=Our inner game
Reading time: 2 min.

A client and friend of mine tends to get good parking spots at the busiest times. At the crowded supermarket, at a busy restaurant, and while holiday shopping–midday, on the weekend–at the mall,  she finds spots right up front. No hovering or stalking people returning to their cars. She just pulls in.

How does she do it? Well, she doesn’t do much. She says to herself, “A good spot will be there for me. I do not need to know how.” She knows she is going to get a good parking spot and does.

In contrast, we normally worry, get angry, and struggle to find a parking spot.

We also struggle to grow our businesses, get a new job, raise our kids, complete a project, find a mate, and cure a medical problem. Wherever we struggle, the underlying assumptions are that the situation is bad, we are somehow “less than,” we must figure it out, and we must work hard.

My friend gets the good parking spots, in part, because she is neither distracted by the struggling nor blinded by the assumptions to see the spot opening in the front row of the parking lot.

We can absolutely adopt my friend’s approach for all the things we might want to improve. We can cultivate a sense of knowing that it will work out while letting go of the need to figure out how.

Tomorrow we’ll explore some good ways to get started.

 

In your corner,

Mike

An Awful Way to Sell or Buy

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Money, Strategy, Success
Reading time: 2 min.

“Lowest Price Guaranteed” is an awful way to sell or buy something. When you compete mainly on price, your quality and service suffer and you struggle to make a profit. When you buy mainly on price, you often regret it and end up paying more in the end. You get what you pay for.

My brother-in-law is a very successful builder. He knows down to each 2×4 how much it costs to build a house that you will love. He prices his houses on value: he feels well paid and you feel like you got a good deal. He chooses to be generous instead of nickeling-and-diming you. When potential clients select another builder with a lower bid, he knows they will be disappointed with their choice and remains firm in his pricing.

It is initially harder to sell or buy on value. You have to know what you clients value–what they really want. You must foster trust so they will tell you. And you have to help them realize that value with your products/services. As a buyer, you will have to trust your vendor. You may need to step outside your comfort zone and be a bit vulnerable.

The rewards–no struggle or regret and plenty of mutual wins–are worth the effort. Go for value.

 

In your corner,

Mike

How Do You Approach a Problem?

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

There are three ways to approach any problem. All three can work.

(Before you read further, think of a problem bugging you or your organization. Keep this problem in mind as you explore the three ways.

Three Ways To Approach Any Problem

  1. You believe that the problem is hard, that it is a threat to you or your organization, and that you might not be able to fix it. (Hint: you can tell you are taking this approach because of the knot in your gut, weight on your shoulders, tension in your neck, etc.)
  2. You believe that it is easy, that all is well, and that you quietly expect to have it all work out. (Hint: this approach feels exciting, light, etc.)
  3. You believe #1 above while you pretend that you believe #2.

Approach 1 causes undue struggle. Approach 3 can be soul-crushing. And Approach 2 is so so so (keep repeating so another pretztillion times) foreign–we are so used to Approaches 1 and 3–that we refuse to try it.

For the problem you thought of above, I strongly encourage you to give Approach 2 a shot. The worst that can happen if it doesn’t work is you revert to Approach 1 or 3.

 

In your corner,

Mike

 

PS: Approach 2 is similar to the Quite Cultivating I mentioned earlier.

It’s Not Your Business Plan

Posted on 4 CommentsPosted in Career, Money, Strategy, Success, Will=Our inner game
Reading time: 3 min.

Let’s say there is something in your business or career that is not working. And let’s say you have thought of or tried everything without seeing the results you want. It’s as if you’ve hit a wall and cannot find a way around or over it.

Five will get you twenty, it is not your business plan; it is not your career plan.

It is you.

Whenever you are struggling, it is how you see yourself and how you see the world that are at odds with the success you want. These ways of seeing things are so ingrained that you may not even notice them. And when you do notice them, you think they are part of who you are; you resist mightily any attempt to change them. These ways or beliefs were taught to you and were once useful to you. You may still see them as the secret sauce in your success recipe because they had helped you so well in the past. Holding on to them tightly–even after they have stopped working for you–you hit the wall.

What do you really need to do? You need to change who you think you are (which will lead you to change how you think the world is).

Not to worry, though. Odd as it may sound, a part of you already knows what you need to be. The rest of you thinks you are not ready and is in fear. The good news is that because you hit the wall, you are ready.

Exercise: Quietly ask yourself this question: “Who do I need to be in order to have the success I seek?” Be willing to be surprised by your answer. Write down your answer. Then ask, “If I were to become this, how might I do it? If my friend wanted to become this, what would advise?” Write down your answers to these questions. If you answered, “I don’t know,” to any of these questions, then try setting the exercise aside and coming back to it in a day or two. Or reach out to me or another friend.

 

In your corner,

Mike

 

PS: It is also not your marketing, sales, strategy, or operations. It is not your networking, resume, or interviewing skills. It’s not the economy, competition, …

PPS: Some common examples of these “wall hitting” beliefs include

  • “I am not a salesperson.”
  • “Life is harsh, chaotic.”
  • “Business is war.”
  • “I am not good at X.”
  • “I am not allowed to have what I want.”
  • “No one wants what I have to offer.”
  • “Money is scarce.”
  • “Money is bad.”
  • “Poverty is good. I want to be good.”
  • “I do not deserve.”
  • “Hard work is the only way.”
  • “With enough data or assurance from others, I can be secure then act.”
  • “I am lazy.”
  • “Life is a competition. Get before others get.”
  • “No one can tell me what to do.”
  • “I am not a leader.”
  • “You’ve gotta push to get what you want from others, from life.”
  • “I am threatened, alone, weak, ignorant, ugly, graceless, an impostor…”
  • “I cannot stand out. I am not special.”

PPPS: The very good news is that none of those things are true, really.

Leading Without All The Effort

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Leading, Success, Sweetspot, We=All Who Matter
Reading time: 1 min.

Last night, my wife hosted a small meeting at our house. The group was gathered to plan an important, impactful event. My role was logistics: help with refreshments, get the kids to bed, etc.

At the end of the evening, the group’s leader thanked me. In fact, I should have thanked him. I got to be part of something exciting where talented and passionate people were working in their SweetSpots. I wanted to help.

The usual ways of getting people to do stuff are full of struggle. The incentives, cajoling, pleas, threats, and politics feel crappy to others and exhaust you. Lose-lose.

When you operate from your SweetSpot, everyone knows it. And the people who matter most to you will want to participate–at least in part–because it feels good. You will be drawing them into their own SweetSpots. And it will feel almost effortless to you. Win-win.

Yeah, I like the second option better, too.

 

In your corner,

Mike

PS: By the way, we are not talking about charisma. A charismatic leader can be in her SweetSpot…or can be trying to cajole, plea, motivate with excitement. You can feel the difference.

Why Organizations Fail

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Leading, Organizations, Strategy, Success, We=All Who Matter
Reading time: 1 min.

Organizations often fail because they focus on the wrong things.

When you see any group (leadership team, functional team, sports team, board, entire organization, family, etc.) stuck and

  • bickering,
  • power struggling, or
  • getting lost in the minutiae,

they are likely focused on how something should be done, who does or decides what, and when these things will get done. Though important, focus on these things leads to dysfunction or destruction unless the group first focuses on the right things.

To succeed, any group must first focus then agree on the answers to these three questions:

  • What is true?
  • What do we want to be true?
  • Why?

Then the detailed arguments about how, who, and when can continue because they will make sense in the light of the right context.

 

To your continued success,

Mike

Blind To It

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Success, Will=Our inner game
Reading time: 1 min.

Show me any struggle–major or minor, personal or in your organization–and I’ll show you blindness.

The solutions, the road out, the way forward are simple, solid, and real. But blindness to them–an unintentional bias–maintains the struggle.

This blindness comes from adherence to beliefs about the world, others, and self that

  • may have worked or served you in the past,
  • have stopped working, and
  • have started obstructing.

Proving to yourself that you hold such beliefs and then changing these beliefs can be tough because they feel part of you, of your identity. Thus the blindness.

Note: neither I nor anyone else can tell you what to believe. Treat with high suspicion any belief I or others proffer. But we can help you unearth the often subtle beliefs that have stopped working and help you select ones that you can prove to yourself do work.

The blinding beliefs that cause one person’s or organization’s struggle are unique to them. And there are common themes. More about these themes soon.

Meanwhile, in what area are you or your organization struggling, a little or a lot? What might be a belief holding this struggle in place?