Slow the heck down.

I recently took a risk and organized a speaking event for myself so I get could get quality video and audio of me speaking.

I have this grand vision of being one of the most inspirational speakers to ever walk the earth.

If I don’t speak, it’s tough to accomplish this dream.

So I set up this event. And I learned a lot of stuff.

The primary thing I learned was also the most unexpected.

When watching my video back, I realized that I rushed through my talk. I didn’t have many “dramatic pauses” or moments when I let the audience and myself just think and process.

So, with some friends, I broke this down. I sought feedback. What is it that is causing me to rush through things rather than patiently walking through them?

And I came across this: I often find myself getting more caught up with performing, looking cool, or being awesome than with allowing a moment to make a difference for itself. And so I would rush, trying to get all of by AMAZING THINGS TO SAY out so everyone realized how brilliant I am!

I try to white knuckle it rather than letting it happen, seemingly naturally.

We all want to be “amazing,” right?

The crazy thing is this: the moment I let go of “being amazing” and instead simply create opportunities for “amazingness” to happen, that is the moment I find myself the most fulfilled.

Letting go of my need to be the hero for others allows them to be the heroes in their own lives.

And I have found that I can only do this if I pause and let everyone see the resource all around us.

What fight would you rather win?

Each day you can focus on and fight for what is possible.

Or you can fight for what is not possible.

Just depends on what fight you would rather win?

I was talking with a friend the other day and he was describing a conflict he was in.

I asked him if he were to rate himself on a scale from 1-10 in terms of curiosity regarding the conflict, what would he say.

He said a “3.” And then he began explaining why he wasn’t very curious.

I asked him if this was a battle he really wanted to win.

Because at the end of the day, he would have successfully defended his lack of curiosity. And subsequently the presence of a reality illusion (believing that the way I see reality is completely right).

And it hit him.

In order to win this battle, he would have to sacrifice a level of connection with others that he so deeply longed for.

Including a deep relationship with himself.

The Maps we Create for Others

I wonder how many more years until the people who are being born will have no knowledge whatsoever of what a map is. Or maybe we have already arrived there.

When I moved to LA in 2006, I purchased a Thomas Guide. I wonder if anyone even uses them anymore.

Yet, one lens to look at the world is through the maps that we form in our mind.

For example, when I meet someone new, I have a first impression. A map begins to form in my mind of what I think about that person.

Then, if I continue to talk to them, the map changes shape as our conversations explore new territory.

And so we have a map of that person. This map includes assessments, judgements, interpretations, etc. of that person as seen from our perspective.

This can be resourceful – providing a foundation for exploring further…

It can also be incredibly crippling.

I confess that at times I have created a map in my mind of people and then held them in that map, choosing not to explore new territories of who that person could be.

Instead of seeing them with fresh eyes each day and being excited about possibility, I have at times put people in boxes, with thoughts such as, “that person is weird, makes stupid choices, will never change, etc.”…

And then completely closed down the possibility of connecting with that person in a new way. Affecting both myself and the other person involved (and potentially the lives of everyone we ever interact with in the future. ever.)

And I am tired of doing this.

I am committing to exploring.

This does not mean scrapping the map. As mentioned, it is a foundation for exploring.

I am committing to look at the map with new eyes, and to expand the map and add detail through journeying into new conversations, interrupting my judgements, being curious, and connecting at new levels with people.

One approach keeps me in bondage.

The other, freedom.

A Humbling Question

What are you not committed to, only because you believe it cannot be done?

This question, taken from Tracy Goss’ book The Last Word on Power, is one of the most sobering of questions that I have come across.

It sets my mind free to dream as if I were given a new porsche to drive along the canyon roads near my house.

I drive and at almost every corner I come go around, I feel the tires grip the road and my mind grips idea upon idea. I discover and rediscover things that I have left undone because I was afraid it could not be done.

And once in a while, fear sets in. The rain sets in, and the porsche slides around a corner as I take my eyes of the road, seemingly looking; hoping for more clarity; secretly hoping for a “secure” path where I will get to do what I love and make a lot of money and be successful without having to take any risks.

As I keep looking for something that doesn’t exist, the heaviness of heart is felt. It is visceral. My porsche slides off the road and stops just before tumbling over the canyon.

I keep thinking, where does this courage come from? To take on the risks that lie ahead, knowing that failure is guaranteed and that success is the miracle we all long for.

I haven’t found it yet. But I will.

The only way not to find it is to get out of the car and walk away.

The sound of a porsche engine turning over never sounded so good.

Creating Better Performance

The way in which other people experience us always has implications. It is up to us to determine if those are the implications that we desire.

If we determine that we don’t like the implications that are happening, there is an opportunity to shift the way we are interacting with others which might alter the experience another person has with us.

For example, if I am a manager of employees. Let’s say, for example, I have an employee that is not performing at the level that we have agreed upon.

It’s time to investigate what is going on.

Let’s not be mistaken – the reason the agreed upon performance isn’t happening lies within what is currently happening, what I will refer to as “current reality.”

Current reality encompasses many things, including, but not limited to: the results, the circumstances, what I think about the circumstances and results, what the employee things about the circumstances or results, the clarity of the agreement, the attitudes of both myself and the employee, how the employee experiences me, how I experience the employee, etc.

What often happens is that we give up too quickly on investigating current reality. We make assumptions and just keep on going about leading and managing as we always have.

But that is not how reinvention happens in myself, others, and the company or organization.

The reinvention of the company and results lies within the investigation of current reality (and our willingness to press in and then to alter how we go about things).

Back to the example, there is an opportunity for me as the manager to really explore current reality. The responsibility is on me as the manager to discover what obstacles are preventing the desired results. This is how I step it up as a manager and CREATE responsibility. This is the environment where new results are possible. Without this, things will continue as they have been. And if I am frustrated with my employee(s) and the current reality, I will continue to do so.

And what we are going for is new results.

I do not want to be in a position where I am waiting for the employee(s) to change. This might happen, but is unlikely. At times, I find that I want them to change without myself being willing to change.

So I want to slow things down, investigate current reality, and look at new ways to go about things to create new results, better employee relationships, better performance, and higher profits.

The new results will be worth the time, energy, and efforts put into the process. It may seem laborious at times, but if I hang in there, the investment will pay off in the long run.

Books that are supplemental to this post: The Art of Possibility; Three Laws of Performance, The Last Word on Power.

Million-to-One Shot

The other day I saw a Rocky poster with the tagline: “His whole life was a million to one shot.”

It really got me thinking.

Sure beats “His whole life he played it safe.”

Subvert your Default

Life presents us with a variety of occurrences and events.

And then we are given the opportunity to respond to those events and even create occurrences of our own.

And when life offers us, well, day to day happenings, such as

We take a risk and it doesn’t turn out as we hoped
We offend someone (and become aware of it after the fact)
Our boss treats us a certain way
There is miscommunication between friends
Our day doesn’t turn out the way we had hoped
We receive an email that is hurtful
Etc, you get the idea…
When life offers us these events, there is often a response that is what I (and others) refer to as a default response. It is the response that comes to mind first or takes precedence over other possible options.

There is just one problem with this. The default response doesn’t always get us towards the vision we have for our future. At times, if we choose that default response, it will be devastating for the life we say we want.

And so we can choose the default response. Or we can choose to creatively subvert the default. We can choose to notice where it will get us, and if it pulls us from our vision, we can choose a different response – one that is in line with the vision we say we have for our life.

And if we are committed to that vision, we will get creative. We will not be run by our default response. We will intently choose our response. And sometimes the subversive response that we choose will miss the mark as well. And we will notice, and continue to choose other creative responses until we land the one that fully enables our vision.

If you are run by your default response, it causes me to wonder if your vision is really what you say it is. Don’t fool yourself. If your impact is not in line with the vision you say you want, then it is not truly your vision…yet…up until now on.

But you can choose a different future. From now on, you can choose to live in line with your vision.

If the impact is in line with your vision, you are hitting it. If it’s not, you missed it. Simple as that. Then you have the chance to go again. And again. And again. Until your desired impact lands with those around you.

Choose to subvert your default (when necessary).

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