The “you” you have come to rely on has to die in order for you to live beyond the predictable.
The you that has made you successful, even exceptional is great. He/She has created miracles without money, has turn companies and relationships on the brink of disaster around, and has leaped across oceans in one single bound. In street vernacular on could say you are a baddd________(fill in the blank). The you, however, that has you be “exceptional” is like a one-hit-wonder: you only have one hit that you keep playing. After a while, that one song gets pretty stale. But hey, it worked last time, or last performance evaluation, or last relationship. Well, kinda. Sorta.
The you that makes you “exceptional” puts you in an invisible cage that keeps you locked in—locked into old habits, behaviors, and expectations (of yourself and others) that reiterate the “you” that used to be effective. You may be great at getting things finished but you end up micromanaging your direct reports or worse, doing things yourself and then wonder why you come home late and edgy. Or you are a real “nice guy” who cannot say no, so you are always behind the 8-ball. Or you are so independent, you have trained everyone around you to come to you for solutions, but others never ask you if you need a hand. Why would they? But then you end up feeling used and alone. Simply put: what makes you exceptional can keep you isolated, lonely, and counter-effective.
In order to have a different result something has to change. Something has to go. To die. And what has to die is how you see yourself. But how? How do you see yourself different, so much so, you start to cultivate new tangible and relational outcomes? Here is one Street Smarts Strategic Visioning tool that will make all the difference:
1. Rest: This is going to sound crazy but it takes a very grounded person to rest. Here is why. Rest is a function of issues and matters being resolved instead of being put up with or put off. It is impossible to rest if you are worrying about bankroll. And no, I don’t mean make a list. I mean take note of the things that bother you, that keep you up at night, that stay on your mind and look to see what you would have to do to get that matter resolved once and for all. I will give you 3 examples.
One of my clients, let’s call him Bill, was working with me last week about rest. Bill has a supper tracking system for all his “to-dos.” When I ask Bill, however, what is really on his mind that is ALWAYS there in the background Bill said, “I feel like my website doesn’t have enough content. I need more content and more products up on my site.” As we talked, a series of truths became apparent. Bill was comparing his website with other company websites that were much larger than his and who have more manpower. The aspect of Bill’s self-image that had to die to create something worth living for was his perfectionism/better-than-ishness . So in order to rest, Bill would have to look at websites that are comparable to his size and stage of development, not the fortune 100. Surrendering his self-image of perfect gave him the room, humility, and reality to see that what he needed to do was create some benchmarks that would give him peace of mind and compare his site with other sites/companies that were comparable to him.
Another truth that became apparent as we visioned strategically was that Bill was trying to do it all on his own because he thought he could not “afford” to hire more staff. Again, it was time for another death–the “All or nothing” Bill. Bill believed that he had to hire full-time people with full benefits and pension. After we talked, he created having someone come in one day a week to handle the things that would free up his mind and his time.
Ok one more.
Our beloved Bill got into a disagreement with is girlfriend. Bill is brilliant and can pin anyone to the wall verbally with facts, figures, and data that supports his claims and proves that he is “right” all the way back to the Stone Ages. Bill felt attacked and became defensive. But then he remembered that aspect of him was dying, his arrogant and condescending self-image when his feelings are hurt was trying to resurrect itself. Bill very lovingly said that he really wanted to hear his beloved and that they should talk later. Then he sent her an electronic card expressing his love for her. Arrogant and righteous Bill would never do that; but Bill who cherishes and nurtures his relationships would.
Here is my point: in order to have new results you have to take new actions. The new actions will tell you what the next right action to take will be. The secret here is willingness. It takes willingness to let go of what you know and how you have known yourself—to die—so that you can live in present tense. When you let the you that pushes, forces, and nit-picks die a swift death on the altar of your grandest, greatest self, you inadvertently bring out the best in others. Bills’ girlfriend, friended me on Facebook (from another country) thanking me for the work I am doing with Bill. He is calling forth a generosity in her that is reaching beyond him to me. What if you could do the same with your employees, clients, or kids? Would that sort of unsolicited reach be worth you dying for, just a little bit, so a CREATED you could be borne?
Go on…and die.
I dare you.
With all the love my heart can hold…