You know the drill. Ask someone how they are doing, and you hear, “Oh, I’m getting by.” If “getting by” works for you, that’s cool but you wouldn’t be here if it were.
There are challenging times where simply holding your head above the water is an accomplishment. But for your quotidian life — that collection of mundane moments that define you are, what you do, and your path to accomplishment — simply getting by is bullshit.
A new client told me his company spends 80 percent of their time putting out fires, 15 percent on big picture strategies and 5 percent on miscellaneous. He wanted me to help him change that to spending 80 percent on strategies, 15 percent on miscellaneous, administrative and creative recharge, and 5 percent putting out the fires. He wanted a change.
Getting Past “Getting By”
If you want something different than what you have, it’s up to you to make it happen. A few weeks ago, I ran across a post-it note scribbled with a phrase given to me from trusted mentor and friend.
Make yourself better everyday and don’t be afraid of change.
This is not an inspirational phrase. It’s a command.
Athletes’ training programs provide an excellent, easy-to-conceptualize example. If an athlete wants a better performance, they must change their program. They must train better, smarter, and differently than in the past.
In the business world, think like an athlete. If you want a new role, what are you doing to improve yourself? What is your value proposition? What are you delivering to merit a promotion, higher rate, or new responsibilities?
If you want your organization to perform differently, what are you doing that deviates from your current typical practices? How are you enabling your employees so they can bring purpose and value to your organization? Change isn’t easy, in fact, it can be downright disruptive! However, articulating a clear picture of your vision coupled with a long-term strategy is the first step to administering change in a positive way without completely upsetting proverbial apple cart. Everyone in your organization should, can, and will benefit. For those in a leadership position, that is your job. Your value as a leader is your ability to rise into the role in how you guide others and develop ways to unleash their full creative potential. As a leader, you must model the idea of expanding your own growth and development if you expect staff to follow you and improve their own.
Where Change Begins
There is a popular hashtag circulating the social media world these days. It’s called #bethechange. Whatever change you want to make, it starts with you. Make the change you want intrinsic.
Start by building value in yourself. Choose actions that give you confidence and that align with your beliefs. You will begin to project that internal confidence.
My personal example is reading. I believe that if you are not reading something every day (or in my case, listening to an audiobook), you are going backwards. Business books. Pleasure books. Books on creative inspirations. Whatever. Reading is one of my practices that helps continue to build my value. Don’t like books? Try a podcast if you prefer more flare. It’s learning and learning is AWESOME!
What about you? Are you happy? Unhappy? Satisfied with a particular situation? Or not? Depending on your answers, pinpoint something you can do to change it. This doesn’t mean you throw it all away or should expect change by next week. That’s not a realistic expectation. Change takes time.
Dreaming Gets Real
It’s easy to daydream about things getting better, especially when you’re in a good mood. The hard part is holding yourself accountable to the execution. Sometimes the effort feels like you’re tearing off a band-aid. It can hurt emotionally and/or physically. To be blunt about it, change requires doing shit you don’t want to do.
Your alternative is to float comfortably along on life’s currents. If this is your plan, expect the world to take you wear it wants you to go. Strain and effort are required to change direction and make the next step happen. So chart it out. Anticipate the struggle.
Shawn White did not go to the PyeongChang Winter Olympics freewheeling his way to heart-thumping performance and gold medal. He had his run fine-tuned. Each move had been practiced thousands of times. In the process (which took years), he faced failure (figuratively), split his face (literally), slammed into emotional obstacles, and occasionally experienced the high wave of joy. In each of his Olympic runs, he knew exactly what to do every time he broke the lip over that halfpipe and knew his competitors didn’t have his same bag of tricks. Spectators had the privilege of witnessing Shawn White’s value proposition in the form of a spectacular and utterly unique run.
You’re Up Next
Now it’s your turn. Go train for your personal performance. It’s yours alone. Own it. Once you do, “getting by” will eventually be replaced with “going great.”
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