Stop Chasing More & Ask Yourself Why
The opposite of more is not less; it is enough
is the single, most powerful idea in The Path Made Clear (2019), by Oprah Winfrey.
What an EXTRAORDINARY paradigm shift!
No, really think about it. Is this the math in your head?
When your friend, neighbor, competitor earns more, owns more, has more than you, does that make you less - less successful, less affluent, less capable?
Do you compare yourself to others around you and tell yourself, "If they can do it, I can, too," without asking yourself whether you genuinely want or need what they have?
When you examine your values, lifestyle, commitments, pursuits, does it add up to something that matters to you?
When enough replaces less in the equation, everything shifts. There is a feeling of peace, contentment, centeredness, and accomplishment when we set our sights on our definition of enough and then achieve it.
The pursuit of more rarely leads to happiness, but a clear focus on creating enough in your life does. What are you chasing in the more column of your life? Do you know when it will be enough? When you do, you are on the path to freedom, fulfillment, and a happy life.
This weekend I made the drive across the mountains to Winston-Salem, North Carolina. As we crossed into Virginia near the Blue Ridge Parkway, a gorgeous vista of the valley below us came into view. As my daughter and her friends headed off to dance class each morning, I headed to a nearby estate to enjoy my ritualistic woodland, morning walk. Bluebird houses studded the Reynolda Estate, and their inhabitants flitted among the trees and shrubs along my path.
It was during this time of reflection that the idea of changing elevation to gain insight and clarity occurred to me. It struck me that in sharing my Vision Casting tool last week, I left an opportunity on the table to share a richer context. And that context, my friends, is this idea of breaking free from the mental models that constrict you. Here are four ideas to get you started.
I work with small businesses, and many of them have just moved from their initial start-up phase. They are now successful entities, and their success is mainly due to their all-hands-on-deck methods. No matter rank or role, everyone rolls up their sleeves and pitches in to get the job done, including the founder/CEO. The good news is that the CEO knows the business inside and out. The bad news is that the CEO is so enmeshed in the details that s/he can't think or act beyond this daily grind. A process like the Vision Casting tool reconnects these leaders with their purpose and gives sight to the enormous potential before them.
While start-up leaders are enmeshed in every part of their business by necessity, CEO's of established companies often become disengaged from the day-to-day operations. They are out-of-touch with the struggles and frustrations of their team and fail to bring the organization together to develop solutions to real problems and perceived issues. At its worst, these CEOs unknowingly contribute to disruption and dysfunction, which can erode their company's culture and the commitment of the team. One of my favorite books, How The Way We Talk Can Change The Way We Work (Kegan and Lahey, 2001), proposes that complaint is a sign of passion. "Beneath the surface torrent of our complaining lies a hidden river of our caring, that which we most prize or to which we are most committed" (p. 20).
Stand In New Shoes
All successful companies and leaders develop a playbook. It is a way operating that is their path to success. It shapes and is shaped by your view of the customer and competitive landscape. Typically, the more successful your playbook, the more unconsciously you operate within its parameters. This is why big companies can fail. The buggy whip market became obsolete when the Model-T became the new standard for transportation. The Palm Pilot was usurped by the Blackberry, who saw it's market decimated by the introduction of the smartphone.
My point is simple. The speed of change brought by market disrupters is escalating. Becoming insular, or worse arrogant can cause you to miss important tides of change. The best CEOs understand that their success is predicated on strong relationships with a variety of stakeholders - customers, governing agencies, partners, service providers, investors, employees, etc. They give priority to connecting with these stakeholders, listening to their needs and concerns, and then adapting business practices to maintain alignment with these shifting sands.
No man is an island (John Donne's Devotions (1624)). As humans, we are innately social creatures looking to make genuine connections. The old models of doing business are insufficient because technology has enabled us to connect and create in new and more powerful ways. To learn more, watch Seth Godin describes this idea in his humorous and inspiring Ted Talk.
Wherever you are in your personal leadership journey, I hope that one or more of these ideas will ignite your imagination and set you on your path to Claim Your Extraordinary in 2020.
How are you starting this new year and decade?
I spent the early part of my career in Fortune 100 companies and learned this truism - employees and managers share their dread of the annual goal-setting process. If you are or have been in similar business environments, you are likely nodding your head in violent agreement.
As a business coach, I practice this simple truth
excise from your life anything that depletes energy
So go ahead, permit yourself to step away from that SMART goal worksheet 😉!
Instead, begin at the beginning and get in touch with the thoughts and ideas that feed your mind, heart, and soul.
Start with the Law of Attraction - if you put positive energy into your business and relationships, you attract positive energy back.
Begin your year, your week, your day, this moment with actions that invite happiness, fulfillment, and abundance into your life.
When you are surrounding yourself with people and opportunities that energize you, you will have the passion, commitment, and endurance to breathe life into the future you want to create.
Visualize yourself living in this place of positive energy.
Notice the people, conversations, work, accomplishments that nourish your sense of purpose and fulfillment. Commit yourself to start living this compelling future today. Dismiss your internal pessimist who is likely shouting, "But how?" As Peter Block says, "The Answer to How is Yes."
Take actions that are true to living your visualized future and trust the how to reveal itself as you move forward in this journey. If you prefer tools and worksheets to help you, download the file at the bottom of this post or use this link to access my Vision Casting process on LinkedIn [@IgniteExtraordinary] and read feedback from participants who recently participated in a workshop using this tool.
To guide you on this quest for an inspired and energized year, I recommend my favorite book of 2019 The Path Made Clear, by Oprah Winfrey. [Here's a quick video of Oprah introducing this book.]
Over the next several weeks, I will continue to share insights inspired by The Path Made Clear. I invite you to return each week and explore a positive approach to moving forward with clarity and intention.
And give The Path Made Clear a listen or read - you'll be glad that you did!
This year I am challenging myself by mixing video/image posts into my weekly blog. The science of our brains and memory says that we retain more information when presented this way. The added benefit that it is short and snappy for you (not necessarily me) makes this move worthy of the challenge. Not to worry, I will still be writing traditional blogs and sharing my insights and experiences as well.
This week I am unveiling a new feature on my website. It's a short assessment (2 minutes or less) that can help you decide if you are ready and would benefit from committing to coaching. My assessment is a guidance tool for you, not a sales tool for me!