Being your own cheerleader is most important!…and actually, necessary. Your view of yourself and your self talk is the most powerful input you will ever get.
Often I will discover or have it pointed out to me some routine I didn’t finish that negatively impacted someone. We call it in my house, an “open loop.” I open windows in the a.m. to cool down the house but I forget to close them before the sun comes around, so the house is twice as hot as it would have been. I feed the cats but forget to put away the catfood afterward. (I will get back to the catfood in my part-2 blog.) These are the kind of loops that are easiest to leave open because they involve timing but not much thought. I can be thinking about something completely different as I do these things so I may get distracted and pick up on a thought in the middle of my task. Oi!
Here is what I mean:
The windows – If I don’t set a timer for the closing of the windows I will most likely forget. There have been times I have remembered early and thought to myself, ‘ it’s too early…I will come back to it’ with every intention of doing so. Convinced I will, I go on with my day but end up completely forgetting. I am better off doing something either immediately when I think of it or I need to set a timer. Really those are my two options. It’s tricky though because doing it immediately may keep you from accomplishing something else you had planned to do. It’s good to pause and check first. If nothing will be impacted, then go for it!
Anyway, back to my original thought – being persistent. I accidentally tick people off, whether I know it or not. All I can do is apologize and do my best at being aware of my open loops. (Timers can be a helpful tool. Just remember to not pound yourself if you forget the timer, too. Beating yourself up just makes the rest of the day worse.)
Let people express their frustration so they know you care about their feelings. Whether you mean to do things or not, they are hurt, so let them know you love them by listening.
Try not to internalize their words of anger as attacks on who you are, it’s just what you have done. Now, yes it can be hard to separate those two but if you do you will be able to think more clearly and problem solve how to make the situation better. If you let other people’s anger completely overcome you it will distract you, and just make things worse.
You aren’t stupid, you aren’t an idiot, so just listen compassionately, keep your head on straight and be open to the fact that you just might come up with a creative idea to help improve the situation so it won’t happen quite as often. Be persistent with being persistent. 😉
What routines do you find challenging to complete? Please share. We may be able to help.
In early 2009 I was asked to make a “Lunch & Learn Training” presentation for the local Chamber of Commerce. While it was an honor to do this, it came at a really difficult time. The pressure of my work life was incredible: during the 4th quarter of 2008 the (economic) world appeared to have ended and the 1st quarter of 2009 looked just as miserable. My leadership role had just expanded to include all the Idaho branches of a national financial planning firm, so I was on the road even more, with more advisors to supervise and ~$500M to monitor. Of course, being in that industry at that time presented its own “special” challenges. It was often an act of courage just to suit up and go in each day.
So, it seemed more than fitting that my presentation was titled “The Power of Passion and the Fuel of Focus.” I needed to daily tap into that core and figured other business people did, too. It made sense to go there, and better still to tap both the left and right brain of the listeners.
Whoa, was I wrong. It was an epic crash and burn. So, so epic.
In retrospect, there was probably nothing that I could have done differently to change the outcome. And, candidly, I don’t think I would have changed anything even had I known the group was preloaded to be so sour they could have provided the filling for a load of Sourpatch Kids candy.
…Star Wars Style
Of all the presentations I’ve seen, the ones most engaging and compelling are those that include a short video, especially from a popular movie, to quite literally set the scene for an idea or concept being presented. I used about three minutes from the beginning of the final installment of Star Wars. Anakin Skywalker and Obi-Wan Kenobi steal their way onto Lord Grevious’s ship. Disastrous mayhem follows. It ends with Anakin crashlanding–in a huge and epic manner–what is left of the enemy ship. But a smiling Obi-Wan quips, “Another happy landing!”
The takeaway, of course, was that your expectation often determines your perspective. Anakin really expected he could successfully land what was basically a manufactured meteor; he was really upset by the crash. Obi-Wan was fine with it. Both went through exactly the same experience. Each had a completely different take on the outcome.
Unfortunately, those attending that “Lunch & Learn” didn’t want to hear that their expectations of life in general, and particularly their businesses in early 2009, hugely influenced their perspective. Their perspective, in turn, determined their actions. If most of those actions were birthed from an expectation of doom, how many of their actions would be positive and proactive? Few, if any. Those business folks wanted a silver bullet to make everything better. Understandable, to a point. But not something I could deliver to them.
That there are challenges in life is a given. How we respond to them is not.
What are your thoughts? Any “Crash and Burn” experiences you’d be willing to share?
Dan Miller, in his terrific book, The Rudder of the Day; Stories of Wisdom to Kick Start Your Workday recounts the story in Robert Kiyosaki’s, Rich Dad, Poor Dad, about black crabs. If you have ever gone “crabbing,” you can easily visualize someone ambling down a beach, toting a bucket of fresh, vigorous crabs. Once you have learned the trick of catching crabs, it’s pretty fun to go collect enough for a special dinner.
The premise of the story is that the crabs crawl all over each other in the bucket. Once in a while, an intrepid crab will reach up to the lid, working hard on an escape to freedom. But the other crabs won’t have that, and pull the would-be escapee back into the bucket. This, of course, leads all of the crabs to the same fate.
The moral of the story, however, is that we all have “black crabs” in our lives, people who negatively influence our performance, intentionally inhibit our attempts at success or actively impede our enthusiasm. These people can be family, friends, or coworkers. Dan writes,
Small thinkers find it much easier to tell you why something won’t work than to help you find a solution. People who feel trapped and are struggling at a low level of success are seldom ones who will cheer you on to a new endeavor.
Crab R Us?
Before I’d heard this story, black crabs meant nothing more to me than crabs darker in color than the ones I used to go crabbing for. But I immediately recognized the “black crab” characteristic among some of the people around me!
In my family, countless times that I expressed a desire to try something, the idea would be challenged—and sometimes mocked—by an older sibling. Or by a friend. Or a teacher.
But, it is hard to imagine that anyone hasn’t had a similar experience. In fact, I wonder who hasn’t experienced the “black crab” syndrome in their life? Of course, it is important to put these kinds of comments—and the people who make them—into a context where they don’t hold us back from striving for something more, something better than what, where or who we are at this moment. It may take time to grow beyond the naysayer’s point of view. But it does no one any good to empower those “black crabs” and allow them to control our choices and limit our reach in life.
What are your thoughts? Have you experienced “black crab” people in your life? If so, how did you deal with them?
Hosting the Hope-Filled Hearts Concert was a huge endeavor. I wanted to 1) provide everyone with a great experience from the moment they walked in the door, 2) inspire people to try new things and make room for hope to grow in their hearts, 3) touch someone deeply so they would know they are not alone in their trials, and 4) impact our local community positively by gathering food for the Idaho Food Bank and the Idaho Humane Society.
This meant a lot of details needed to be taken into account and many volunteers would be required to reach my vision. After much time, concentration, and a couple hours out of my sleep time, I came up with a long list of jobs.
The two most amazing things about working on this project were:
I always knew there were at least a few people who had my back from the start. They planned on filling in anywhere and everywhere they might be needed. Not feeling alone in the situation, I was really able to hunker down and work hard. Many phone calls, announcements, articles, and requests were written asking for volunteer-help during the final two weeks before the event.
As each day went by I had this little fire of hope growing inside. It wasn’t because I had crowds of folks wanting to help. It was but because those who volunteered really wanted to be there and help out. They said “Yes!” with enthusiasm and often added, “what else can I do for you?” It was clear these people had planned on coming to the concert anyway, so I was truly touched. Their joy and enthusiasm to help me out just fed my own little fire of hope! Even when little speed bumps came along the way I just held on to the hope that I had been given by others.
The help of others was what really kept my hope-filled heart burning so I could shine some hope back into their lives! It is good to be hopeful, isn’t it?
What are ways you can help others discover hope for their lives? Who can you help by feeding their flame of hope?
Leave a comment below. Add to the conversation! We’ll be glad you did.