I enjoy when the weather person says, with a straight face, that there is a 90% chance of rain as the water splashes on the windows. I know that nothing is absolute, but it would be a safe bet to go all in on the precipitation prediction AS it is raining. I also find myself moving a little slower, a bit grumpier when it is all rain clouds, something about the sun is inspiring and motivating. And we all have these kinds of days, onces that you are just in a funk, you just can’t get yourself moving no matter how inspiring your mission is. The good news is, everyone has uninspiring days and when you find ways to stay on track it will separate you from all the others. But how is the question - what things can we do to leverage the days we don’t want to do anything in order to get an advantage when others take days off?
First and most important is to have that checklist handy, if you have been following the blog then you know and have a list of daily activities, our calendar ticks, that need to be accomplished each day. Every other day we start with the toughest objective first and get the day underway by taking down the elephant; but not today because it is an uninspired day, so today we start with the easiest on the list. Start with making that flyer, or answering 5 emails, or cleaning up the meeting notes, which means we are getting ourselves moving forward.
Now that we have ourselves moving in the right direction, you may need to give yourself more frequent breaks, but be sure to put a timer on those breaks. For example, a five minute timer to stop and goof around on YouTube, then back to the checklist taking on the next easiest task. Even a timed afternoon nap can help recharge, supported by the American Psychological Association, when held to ten minutes or less, then back to the checklist. Again, all we need to focus on is moving forward - little by little.
Final one we will review today is coming up with a reward system on days that we need to self-inspire. If we get through checklist items 1-4 by noon then we get some of those Girl Scout Cookies that have been eyeing you up; on a diet, no worries we can allow ourselves to finish and watch that movie we have wanted to check out. The reward system is meant to help inspire you to get the checklist done in a timely fashion, to inspire some form of productivity on an otherwise lazy day.
Self inspiration is a mental game, we covered just three different strategies to try and get your mind in the right place - there WILL be days you do not want to move forward, so we need to find ways to get that left foot in front of the other. Remember that the checklist is the key, as it will help ensure that you track your progress. Once you know that you have to get the checklist done, then it is a matter of tricking your brain into motivation, it may not be your best work, it may need some review the next day, but seperate yourself from everyone else that takes uninspiring days off. Good luck this week and move forward!
We are in that phase with our seven year old son that anything that he is not good at right away turns into a moment of breaking down and giving up, “I’ll never be good at math, NEVER!” Even as I type this though, I can picture adults that maintain that same mindset - can’t do it right away, then it isn’t worth doing. So as we (mostly my wife and her teaching degree) agonize over reading the words “script,” adding 8 + 2, and not forgetting to punctuate a question, this is the moment that we have to establish the foundation of a growth mindset with him. And this week, it is a perfect chance to review some mindset truths:
Firstly, and most importantly we want to teach him growth. I don’t need him to get all A’s, to get every answer right, that is not only unrealistic, but adds a lot of pressure unnecessarily. What we want him to do is get better each time, to learn from incorrect answers, and limit the times he gets a specific skill wrong. In our daily lives, we are not often put into a professional situation that we are expected to be handed a job/task/skill and then get them right every time from that moment onward (and if that describes your job, you are either getting paid handsomely enough to deal with that stress or you are miserable at work). We put our new knowledge to practice, figure out strategies for efficiency and improve with each repetition - which is why you know what 8+2 is. Therefore, growth from mistakes is skill one.
From growth, I have found one of the most vital skills that naturally comes next is competition. No, not with comparing yourself to Bob in sales who has the brand new car, mansion, and jet skis - that is never going to work. When we compete from growth it is with ourselves, push ourselves intrinsically to be better than you from yesterday. Self competition is the only healthy version because as soon as you catch up to Bob, have the car and the girl, you will discover that Roger has it better than Bob and now you have a new shallow person to aspire to. Chasing goals, especially superficial ones, hardly ever works for more than a short period of time. However, when you compete with yourself then it is healthy growth, you find fewer excuses - I was able to do x yesterday, no reason I can’t do x and now z today. This becomes our second lesson today - compete against yourself for growth.
Finally, embracing the failures is our third mindset lesson today. Do not read into that incorrectly, embracing failure does not in any way mean accepting it as truth, but rather accepting that failures will happen so embrace it and then move forward. Once we can get Keegan to realize that he will not win every time, that along the way he will stumble and lose, and that those are the lessons to be learned for growth in avoiding the same failures over again. Such a simple concept, but probably the most difficult because in our culture we do not like losing. It is instinctive to get angry when we lose whether it is a card game, being passed up on a promotion, or a significant other leaves us. I am not saying don’t get angry, we certainly can’t help our reflects, but after the anger there are lessons to be learned, ample growth to embrace from such losses. Making embrace the failure as lessons for growth our final mindset for this week.
Recapping, we are doing our best to teach Keegan that after his initial meltdown over his homework to try and learn mindsets that will become habits for life...we hope anyway. By teaching him the value of personal growth, competing against yourself, and then embracing the failures as lessons he can get more from school than how to read and write. Same for ourselves, if we don’t currently practice these mindsets, take some time this week and think on how to create the habits necessary for growth - it will help reduce stress, improve your skill set, and make life overall more enjoyable. Good luck with the positive, growth mindset this week...and wish us luck with Keegan’s homework.
I can best describe this week as professionally brutal. Whereas, the blog this week is going to be vital in turning things around, and I am going to do so by re-framing my situation. It can sound hokey to think that everything can be positive, let’s just agree that there are just some situations that flat out suck - it is completely true. However, if we let these negatives grow and become our habitual response then we slowly grow into Eeyore, and make the negative become our default personality. So let’s start by explaining the term re-framing: essentially it is the act, the habit, of looking at a loss and thinking about all the ways we can put ourselves in control of a win in the future. As they explain it in Psychology Today, it is not the naive mind set that everything is going to be alright, just be patient and everything will work out just fine. No, re-framing is just the opposite, that if something positive is going to come of a bad situation, we need to stop, reflect, and think about how we can grow and improve because of it. Plants grow best after it rains, right?
So let’s move this into an example, let’s say that you get passed up for a promotion, your car won’t start on Monday morning, and then someone hacks into your email which locks you out. Rough week, especially since once a few things important to you go array, inevitably you notice all the little things not going your way as well. Re-frame and reflect, the promotion means that either you have not been putting in the efforts necessary to move up the ladder or that there are factors involved that are out of your control and it may be time to start searching for a new job. By re-framing the situation, we put ourselves in charge, we are the center of both problem and solution, which means we are going to either A. Start coming up with a clear plan to stay on task, be it checklists, adjusting some habits, or even meeting with the boss for feedback. Or B. jump on LinkDin, searching for job positions you would enjoy, budgeting for the possibility of no salary for a set amount of time, or even starting a little side hustle to see if something can become of it. Once you stop blaming outside sources that can not be changed, start looking to yourself on what growth can be made - we can re-frame a frustrating situation into a positive step in the right direction. We can do the same for the car not starting, right? Do we service it enough, should we be checking the fluids more often, perhaps time to start budgeting for a new car - put yourself back in control. Finally, the email one can also be re-framed - rather than why is a hacker picking on poor little me, instead change your password more often, keep your new passwords someplace habitual and safe, or just delete that account if you don’t use it often. We can re-frame any of these type of negative situations to develop a growth, positive mindset.
Now, is every situation something that you caused - I mean a meteor can hit you in the head, your car can get rear ended, you can get food poisoning at your favorite restaurant, some things are just the universe seeing how tough you are. Continue to re-frame rather than sulk, how can a bad situation be viewed and reacted to differently to build yourself. Again, this is not a sunny side, everything will be alright, just let karma do its thing - no, act, but choose to act with purpose. Reminder this week is to re-frame, the next time you drop your phone in the toilet, lose a big sale, or find out that annoying Uncle is coming to visit, whatever is trying to set you back, stop and reflect on how it can be used to help you improve and grow. Take control, be the problem and the solution - it is a welcome form of freedom for sure.
Almost every idea can be developed into a good idea, with the proper motivation and a clear why to guide it - thoughts can become actions. Now, let’s compare that thought to the numerous, hundreds, thousands of ideas that splatter into your brain and we quickly realize that we need to narrow the concept of “good” idea down to “MUST” idea. With our business and life planning fresh behind us from January, our action plans are now in place, but the moment we start the act of doing we are also evaluating, assessing, and reassessing the effectiveness of our action plan...is this really working? So this week, let’s unpack the “MUST” idea and then ways to assess the effectiveness to ensure you are on the right track!
First things first, we decide on the must ideas - ones that clearly support your one goal, that you know are easily actionable, simple, and you believe you can complete with consistency. For example, a must idea could be to donate to your local charity every month with proceeds from your business. Simple. Actionable. And good for the community. Plus, in this example, it will support your one goal which is to grow your sphere to fifty people in the community. Some things you will need to do for consistency is add it to your calendar, on a date that you know that there will be proceeds for the charity donation, and ensure that the calendar has a loud alert set up that will remind you for sure. Next, be sure that the amount you plan on donating is realistic to support consistency - you know your budget, so plan accordingly. Good start, it is a simple action that you can set up a plan to remain consistent, triggers in place to remind you, and will help achieve your one goal.
Now, let’s talk assessment - this is key to your simple action plan and keep the MUST ideas effective, as we need reassurance that it is in fact helping your one goal. To further our example, we want to grow our sphere to fifty people, right? Therefore, a way to assess whether our action plan of donating to charity has given the opportunity to meet new people - track it. A vital part of your action plan and the results is whether it is something that can be tracked, can you keep score of how you are winning. In our example, we simply put our new contacts into a CRM, even mark anyone that you already know but get to speak and interact with on a more regular basis. You should be able to physically see the scoreboard and know in a moment if the actions are positively affecting your goal. If you can not track it, adjust the goal, the wording of the goal, OR accept that you are taking action for your own well being (which is also fine if that supports your goal).
Reassessing is not just tracking though, if you are looking at the numbers over an extended period of time and do not see the results you want or expect then it is time to review. Is this action still supporting your one goal? Are you giving it enough time, not every action will breed results in a month - how much time will you give it, IF you feel it is a MUST action such as charity donations? What are some of the unintended results that you are seeing, perhaps your action plan is on the right track, but you may want to branch out with it, adjust the path it is taking a bit. For example, you are donating to charity, not meeting new members for your sphere, but there is a local business that also donates and now you have some co-branding opportunities with that business - awesome, let’s adjust the MUST actions to include supporters. Stick to your simple action plan, adjust, and then take it in a new direction of donation and branding. You should be reassessing weekly at minimum, review the plan, what actions are working, and why.
To wrap up our thoughts on the simple action plan this week, and do remember that this can apply to personal as well as business, we have our one goal, we have a simple and consistent action plan, now we are working on reassessing it continually to ensure we are on the path to success. Remember, be sure the plan is simple, that you have put in place the triggers to help you stay consistent, and then track the results to ensure you are doing things that support your goal and may need adjusting. Mark your calendars for this Friday to review (or set up) your tracking and we will talk to you next week.