Many of you read articles, blog posts, books or listen to a TED talk and you are inspired. You learn something new. You actually make changes in your professional/personal life as a result. Does it all end there…with you?
My tip for today is take this one step further. Why else would benefit from knowing or getting exposed to this information?
- Your team?
- Your colleagues?
- Another leader in your community?
- Your family?
- Your mentor or mentee?
Of course learning and developing as a leader is critically important. Take it one more step and share what you have learned with someone else. Email them a link to that blog post. Send them a podcast link. Take a photo of a powerful paragraph and email that to them. Share what you’ve learned over coffee or lunch.
Some folks will be receptive to this. Others will not. You’ll learn who is open to this. Focus on adding value. This sharing – it is about them, not about you. You could help someone launch something incredible in their life!
I’ve already read a couple of books on habits. I’m intrigued by how we create and maintain habits and how habits bring about positive change. In my reading, I recently came across a new book written by Dr. BJ Fogg – Tiny Habits.
I’m not through reading it yet, but I am already picking up great ideas that I can apply at work and in my personal life. Dr. Fogg lays out a systematic way to create habits – tiny habits – that have the power to change our lives.
As he writes “there are only 3 things we can do that will create lasting change: Have an epiphany, change our environment, or change our habits in tiny ways.”
He goes on: “One tiny action, one small bite, might feel insignificant at first, but it allows you to gain momentum you need to ramp up to bigger challenges and faster progress.” Jeff Olson (The Slight Edge) calls this the compounding effect.
Like most people, I tend to rely on motivation to try to reach an outcome. Dr. Fogg teaches that this focus will not work. It is the focus on and doing the behaviors that move us towards our outcome – this is the real difference-maker.
If you are interested in learning more about habits and the power they can harness, read this book. If you are looking for ways to help your team improve their results, this book will help. If you are wanting to achieve an outcome personally, read this book.
“There is a painful gap between what people want and what they actually do…the problem is with the approach itself, not with you.”
Buy this book and learn that approach. It is practical. It is actionable.
If you lead a team, you are coaching (or, at least, I trust that you are). I gave a presentation a couple of years ago on why coaching is so important for our team members. I also shared the following on what happens to the COACH when he/she becomes a better:
- Your reputation improves in your company.
- Your influence expands on your team and in your company.
- Your voice/opinion is respected on your team and with your colleagues.
- Your future will reveal more opportunities for you.
There is no down side to working hard at becoming a better coach. Yes, your team members will become better, but YOU have benefits when you commit yourself to becoming a better coach.
Remember: “You influence from a distance. You impact up close.” Dwight Robertson
Commit to impact. You will create a better world around you.
Are you a note-taker? If not, I encourage you to develop the habit of taking notes. “You mean in meetings?” That’s one place. But there’s more times to take notes:
- Reading a book
- Preparation for a meeting
- Video content you’re listening to
- Podcast you’re listening to
- When an idea hits you and you don’t want to forget it
- Reading a blog
- Reading a magazine
You get the idea. Where do you record your notes? That’s up to you. Carry a small notebook to capture ideas. Use a journal. Use your smart phone/tablet/laptop. Use talk-to-text to capture in-the-moment ideas. Just capture your thoughts.
But here’s the tip that makes the most difference for me. I personalize my note-taking.
When I read a book, I’m a highlighter. When I read, I have a highlighter and a pen with me. I highlight a passage I want to remember. I often write a note in the margin that helps me connect dots (from this thought to a future action).
And once I complete reading the book, I often go back and write in my journal what I learned from that book. So, how do I personalize the notes? I put them in first person even if the author did not write that thought in that way. Here’s an example:
James Clear is the author of Atomic Habits (I highly recommend reading this book and then following him in social media). In the chapter, “How Your Habits Shape Your Identity (and Vice Versa)”, he writes about “new identities” in light of moving away from the person (habits and all) to the person we want to be.
He asks this question: Who is the type of person that could get the outcome you want? In my journal, this would be written: Who is the type of person that could get the outcome I want? Other examples:
I become my habits.
The most effective way to change my habits is to focus not on what I want to achieve, but on who I wish to become.
When I make a specific plan for when and where I will perform a new habit, I am more likely to follow through.
I do this because I want to internalize what I’m learning. Making it personal moves new information and ideas to my heart and to my mind and making the likelihood of me following through much more successful. I create a conversation, of sorts, between me and the author as though she/he is talking to me. I pay attention to the content more. I put more of what I am learning into action.
Next time you take notes – especially when you need to take action on those notes – personalize them. It’s one way you can coach yourself to become better.
Pablo Casals, the famous cellist, composer, conductor, once said (modified a bit):
“Do you know what you are? You are a marvel. You are unique. In all of the world there is no other person exactly like you. In the millions of years that have passed there has never been another person like you… You may become a Shakespeare, a Michelangelo, a Beethoven. You have the capacity for anything. Yes, you are a marvel. You must cherish one another. You must work—we must all work—to make this world worthy of each of us.”
Do you approach your day with this mindset? What would change if you did?
I’m inspired. Oh, how our world would change for the better if we all worked “to make the world worthy of each of us.”
You are a marvel.
In Shawn Achor’s book, Big Potential, he shares this sobering data:
“The average age of being diagnosed with depression in 1978 was twenty-nine. In 2009, the average age was fourteen and a half. Over the past decade, depression rates for adults have doubled, as have hospitalizations for attempted suicide for children as young as eight years old. What could possibly have changed so much to account for this?”
Achor points to rise of technology and social media. For kids, there is a never-ending need to announce accomplishments and the whirlpool of competition (from boyfriends to athletic prowess to stupid tricks to selfies) keeps spinning faster and faster dragging more and more people in. And then there is the pressure that continues to ramp up in schools and on the athletic fields and arts platforms. Better grades. Higher batting average. Flawless performances. Pressure! Pressure! Pressure!
For adults, it is not much different. Promotions, projects, and performance all set the stage for continual pressure points.
Achor’s challenge and call is for us to understand that our potential is “interconnected with others.” “We need to stop trying to be faster alone, and start working to become stronger together.”
Good words for today, right?
We are about to enter a time when we need each other more than ever. When the economy opens back up, we face choices. Everyone for themselves or everyone helping each other to recover. People want and need to get back on their feet. Each of us can help someone succeed. How?
- Be an encourager.
- Help someone find work.
- Listen to a hurting friend.
- Support a local business and encourage others to do the same.
- Celebrate someone else’s win.
“Because when we work to help others achieve success, we not only raise the performance of the group, we exponentially increase our own potential…making others better takes your success to the next level.”
As I stated in my last post, I have been reading Change the Way You See Everything. In fact, I just finished it during my lunch break today. This is probably the fourth time reading through this incredible book.
In the closing pages I read today, authors Cramer & Wasiak challenged me to change the way I see situations. What is the current situation right now on April 27, 2020? The ongoing quarantine due to the corona virus. The economy of the world is crippled. Millions in the US are unemployed – and this happened in a mere matter of weeks. Small businesses are closing never to reopen. There is a lot of depression, fear, and despair.
If we’re honest, most of us focus on that last paragraph. The 24/7 news channels feed viewers a never-ending diet of gloom and doom. It seems as if everything is focused on what has gone wrong.
But what if we could see this differently?
Think back to September 11, 2001. When that day happened, I’m sure many thought New York would be forever devastated. But Mayor Rudy Giuliani provided this vision:
“Tomorrow New York is going to be here…and we’re going to rebuild, and we’re going to be stronger than we were before…I want the people of New York to be an example to the rest of the country, and the rest of the world, that terrorism can’t stop us.”
And New York did rebuild. One year ago, I stood at the World Trade Center Memorial. I walked the streets of the city. It has rebuilt. Our nation became stronger and more vigilant.
How did that all happen? How will we climb out of the hole we were thrown into these past few months? Can we? Yes, we can!
Cramer & Wasiak challenge us to apply the 80-20 rule…in reverse. “Instead of focusing 80% of your attention on problems and 20% on opportunities, concentrate 80% on opportunities and 20% correcting what’s wrong.”
So what are your opportunities?
- Devoting time to invest in your personal growth and development.
- Investing time to discover a better/more efficient way to get work done (hey, you already changed where you work – focus on how you work!)
- Ask, “How are my customers interacting with me now? What is working with this? What small tweaks can I make that would make it even easier for my customers to do business with me?”
- Ask, “How can I become more financially fit during this situation so I can better be prepared for the future? Who can I turn to for help with this?” (locally, here).
- Ask: “Who can I help right now? Who needs encouragement, support, or a friend?”
“…what if you could reach into the depth of that problem and extract a treasure – a wealth of information that could propel the situation forward in a way that benefits everyone involved, exponentially!”
Cramer & Wasiak offer solid advice:
- Get a new vision of your world today.
- “Turn yourself on by sharpening your vision” of what could be.
- “Link your passion, vision, and skill set with the strengths and capabilities of those you have attracted into your circle of influence.”
- Change how you think about problems and set-backs.
This is not an impossible situation we are all in. But those that will rise to the next level and challenge will be those who focus on the 80% of the opportunities this time is presenting to us.
“How can this be the best problem we’ve ever had?”
I am re-reading a great book by Dr. Kathryn D. Cramer and Hank Wasiak. The book is Change the Way You See Everything. I’m in the section that talks about creating positive interactions/ relationships with others. Here is something that should make us all think:
“Research confirms that the tone you set (positive or negative) in the first seven seconds of any interaction determines the predominant tone for the remainder of the interaction. Start well, and you are more likely to end well – even in the face of challenging or disturbing interactions.”