This morning, I started reading a new book, Soundtracks by Jon Acuff. I have been studying how the brain works and how we act/react according to how we think. This book will be providing more insights into that area.
One quote caught my eye today.
“I imagine that everyone I work with is a business partner that I’m trying to help grow. I have 350 partners.”
Every day whether in person or working remotely, we interact with coworkers. Most of the time, these interactions go smoothly. Other times…not so much.
Acuff is pointing out in his book that our brains work off of existing “recordings”, thoughts that we believe (whether they are true or not) and then we act on them. Soundtracks is about replacing old “recordings” with new ones. Doing this brings meaning back to our encounters. It inspires us to move forward looking at life with a fresh perspective.
So today, as you log on in your home office or as you enter your office building (maybe for the first time in a year!), imagine that everyone you work with is a business partner that you are trying to help grow. If you get asked the same question multiple times a day, there is an opportunity to help your business partners grow. If you get caught up in an email string that takes a harsh turn, don’t respond with another email. Pick up the phone. Send out a Skype/Zoom invite. Walk to their desk if you are both onsite. And talk. Listen. Ask questions. Find ways to help them (and you) grow.
Break out of old patterns. Change the “recordings” of old soundtracks and replace them with better ones. You can do this. You can rewire your thinking. It is possible.
Order The Path to Promotion here.
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.
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?”
Many years ago, I was having lunch with a friend who was going through a rough, personal time – an ugly divorce. As we talked, he poured out his heart to me – hurt, bitterness, anger, etc. It was real. And it was tough to listen to. He was so frustrated with the entire ordeal that at one point he said, “I feel like I need to be doing something right now. I feel caged up. My life isn’t moving forward. What do I do now?”
What do I do now?
We are several weeks into the Covid-19 disaster. The news is filled with daily reports of death and despair. Our world-wide economy is being more than constrained. Small business owners are watching what they fought so hard to create crumble right in front of them – and at no fault of their own.
People are losing their jobs and their security. I hear first hand of stories of despair and worry. It would be hard enough to lose a job, but during a time when government tells businesses to remain shuttered, new opportunities seem unreachable.
What do I do now?
This post is not meant to provide magic dust to sprinkle on your life. I write to you to give you hope. What is there to do when the rug has been pulled out from under you…
There are things you can do now. Things that will strengthen you. Things that will encourage you. Things that will prepare you for your next opportunity that will come.
- Stay connected. You’ve got friends/family members who care about you. Stay connected with them. The temptation is to become even more isolated than the world is now. Fight that urge. Call someone. Get a fresh perspective. Hear an encouraging word.
- Strengthen your mind. Even if you are not out of job, use this unique time to become better. Read a book that will make you stronger now than you were just a few weeks ago. I highly recommend reading The Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday. I came across this title just a couple of weeks ago, and I am almost finished reading it. This book will inspire you. It will give you a quick kick in the britches. It will make you think. If not this book, find a book where you spend time investing in you now for your future opportunities. Or find an uplifting podcast. You will not regret it.
- Control your mind. What we say to ourselves dramatically determines how we navigate life. Be mindful to things you say to yourself. Dr. Shad Helmstetter has been writing about this for decades – his words and work will encourage you! Don’t roll your eyes at this. Your self-talk is far more powerful than you think. You can “re-program” your brain and make it work for you, not against you.
- Journal your journey. Multiple studies have shown that journaling is vital. But what you write is as vital. Take time to document what you are grateful for. Write down positive interactions you had on a particular day. Record questions you have and then follow up on learning the answers.
- Don’t neglect your spiritual life. From my perspective, this means spending time in prayer, worship, and meditation. When stress comes, we are easily knocked off our feet. Staying spiritually tuned is an essential grounding necessity.
- Be others-focused. When hard times come, it is natural to sit in a corner and lick your wounds. But find ways to do something for others. When we focus on others, we can more easily get out of the funk we are so easily entangled in.
Sure, there are things that are out of control. Don’t focus on those things. If it’s out of your control, then it’s a waste of your time mulling over it. Focus on what you CAN do, then do it.