Saturday, November 24, 2012

If You Can't Get Out Of It, Get Into It!

Life is FULL of things that we wish we didn't have to deal with. 

The question is: If this (painful) action is truly inevitable, then what can you do to minimize your suffering?

According to the most successful/happiest people, once you have exhausted any creative attempts to resolve the situation, the most logical next step is to simply accept that the uncomfortable experience will be happening.  Once you overcome any denial, there are actually TWO options that put you more in control of the negative situation, and can help make the most of it:

The first is: Initiate the action as soon as possible to get through it quickly.  This approach allows you to get the pain over faster.  Why put off dealing with it?  No sane person enjoys pain, and putting it off only adds more suffering.  The dread of anticipation actually magnifies the pain and prolongs it.  The wiser approach is to "rip off the bandaid" rather than drag it out.  The sooner you start, the sooner you finish.  Plus, you avoid all the painful "angst time" as a bonus!

The second is: Find/create enjoyment in the midst of it.  As bizarre as it sounds, this is actually pragmatic.  Minimizing the damage from a negative experience is a self-preservation effort.  Focusing your attention to any beneficial aspects of the situation - whether it is bittersweet "good for you" value or actual enjoyment of some kind - is better than the alternative.  Once you have learned your lesson, any additional suffering is a waste of time and unnecessary pain.  Again, pragmatic and logical.

The good news is that you can use BOTH tactics in every situation.  But it requires the courage and discipline to boldly take that first step.  Take control.  Be accountable.  Face life head-on - and you will have a better life as a result.

Think about it.  But more importantly, do something about!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

What Are You Proof Of?

In business and in Life, we eventually get down to a fundamental question: What do you REALLY believe?

This is a deceptively complicated question.  We all have a set of basic concepts about life that we claim to believe.  But do you really believe them?  How do you know?  It is rare (VERY rare!) that a person will actually go through the difficult - and risky - process of examining the answer to this question.  Despite the wise and timeless truth that the unexamined life wasn't worth living.

So how do you know whether or not you believe something?  The same way that others know whether or not you believe something: Your behaviors!

When we truly believe something, our behaviors consistently reflect that belief.  If someone claimed to believe in gravity, yet consistently clung in fear to fixed objects to keep from floating into space, any observer would have doubts about those claims.  Behaviors follow beliefs.

When we start to believe a new concept (whether that you can or that you cannot), our behaviors change accordingly.  If you believe something - REALLY believe something - you act accordingly.

What do we call someone who believes one thing and then does another?  Clinically, it is termed "mentally disturbed".  Commonly, it is called "a lack of integrity".  Either way, it is unhealthy - and should be unacceptable.

Make a gutsy move: Ask others what they think you believe.  (Be prepared, you may get a shock!)  Your values are leaking out as your behaviors.

Gut check: Consider a values-based cause you claim to support/believe in - such as "love for your family" or "commitment to your company" or "dedication to your spiritual beliefs" and then answer this BIG question:  Is there enough proof to convict you in a court of law that you, without a doubt, believe in that cause?  In other words, do your behaviors prove to anyone observing you that you truly believe what you claim to believe in?

Think about it.  But more importantly, do something about!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Safety Net or Hammock?

Preparing for a future that is never really known (until it is the present) can be a risky venture.  Putting back-up plans and "just in case" support mechanisms in place is a good idea to mitigate that risk.  After all, safety (and personal/organizational health) is important.

But we need to be careful about being too careful.

People often create a safety net of contingency plans that slowly, over time becomes a hammock of comfortable (low-risk) settling.  Playing it too safe, too often, is not healthy.  In fact, it actually becomes dangerous - which is, ironically, the very thing we set out to avoid.  What is originally intended as a safety net can (if we're not vigilant) become a hammock - that can lull you into complacency.  Which leads to a dull, listless life of settling.

There is a saying: "If you hit the target every time, you are too close to the target".  Growth requires challenging our abilities and capabilities. 

When was the last time you attempted to do something important to you where you had less than a 50/50 chance of success?  That always generates a higher level of focus, creativity, and effort...and growth!
So, what do you want - dynamic growth or letting yourself get sucked into a hammock of mediocrity?

Think about it.  But more importantly, do something about!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Inspiration or Irritation?

There are THOUSANDS of leadership books out there all spouting off about how, if you want to be a good leader, you must be a role model of excellence, quality, integrity, etc.  When done well, embodying these traits can be a faith-building source of encouragement.

But is it possible to over-do it?

In other words, are your efforts to be an excellent role model inspiring...or irritating?

When someone - even a role model - is not relatable, it can actually put off members of your team instead of engaging them.  Being completely competent in your behaviors is only half of the requirement of being a leader.  Unless there is a relationship with your team, your "good example" efforts can be seen as distancing you from their "mere mortal" results.

The solution?  Be a role model of humility.  Be a role model of honesty.  Be "real".  Share (appropriately) your shortcomings, your pain and concerns - in a way that they can identify with withOUT undermining their confidence in your or the journey you are all jointly traveling.  This will help them see that you are experiencing the same "reality" that they are challenged with - and you are choosing to strategically persevere and have a positive attitude through it all.  Just like they can.

So they continue following you and everyone benefits. 

Just a natural consequence of NOT being irritating - and, instead, being an inspirational leader.

Think about it.  But more importantly, do something about!