I Do It: The lesson from a 3-year old

Meeting new people is great. Meeting this particular group was great because they are new (so you can ask a ton of fun questions and hear new stories) and they are going to be connected with us moving forward.

As I reflect it was more like holding an interview for someone who already got the job. No pressure, just getting to know one another, because the outcome is already decided.

But one member of the group stood out.

The energetic 3-year old.

His grandfather describes him as a constant joy and ever-present “investigator” of his world.

As the father of four, I can appreciate an energetic “investigator.”

What I witnessed was someone who is bold and fearless.

When faced with something new (marking his name on the plastic glass, meeting new people, deciding what food to take from the buffet) he had one motto, one thing that helped him push through any perceived difficulty or lack of experience with this particular task.

He would loudly proclaim “I Do It!” and he would just go attempt whatever task was before him.

No fear or worry.

“I Do It!”

No reflection of whether or not he had the skills needed or the right training.

“I Do It!”

No calling a meeting or scheduling a call.

“I Do It!”

No panicked paralysis pondering if it was going to be perfect.

“I Do It!”

Although each attempt or task was not perfect (the permanent marker on a new shirt serves as proof), the motto and the persistence remained.

As I watched each interaction, each proclamation, and each action I found an interpretation.

“I Do It!” really means “Hey, I am new at some of these things but have ambition and I want to be given the chance to try, fail, try again, and succeed. I may not always get it right, but that is part of learning right? We are all just here trying out things, finding what works for us, and moving on to the next thing. Thanks for giving me some space to give it a shot. I am building confidence and mastery along the way.”

Thanks for the lesson.

When I get stuck, doubt myself, and wonder how to move forward, I will remember those words.

“I Do It!”

The Rockstar Dilemma

The Rockstars: the great performers in your organization.

For a while it was you. Everything connected. Everything was going your way.

You were on top.

You were the one everyone sought out.

You were the first pick to help others, mentor them, and get them up to speed.

You helped develop others.

But things change.

They began to rise.

They started to perform.

Now, they are the ones everyone seeks out.

Now, they are the first pick to help others.

A shift in Rockstar status can be disruptive. The shift can leave you feeling unsure and insecure.

“Is there still a place for me?”

“What will happen if I build and develop others, and I am no longer needed?”

At some point in your career will most likely be faced with the Rockstar Dilemma: When you move from the top performer to another role as others rise up and take their place in the organization.

The Rockstar Dilemma presents us with a choice that usually takes two different paths.

  1. We see our role not only to perform, but to help build capacity in others, and to share what we know to help them succeed.
  2. We see our role to perform as sheer competition, and anyone’s gain is our loss.

Choosing the second path is easy. We just perform, and perform, and move ahead as long as we can.

Choosing the first path is hard. We face the dilemma of performing, while helping others develop and perform, knowing that there is a chance that someday they will surpass us.

There is insecurity in the first path.

There is risk in the first path.

I hear the response every time I introduce the first path of the Rockstar Dilemma.

“But, if I develop them, I will no longer be needed. You are essentially having me work myself out of a job!”

My response is always the same.

“If you are the kind of leader who can build teams who are better than you, and can out perform you, you will never be out of a job. Organizations will pay you a lot more than you are making today to build that kind of a performance culture.”

When faced with the Rockstar Dilemma, let’s pick the right path.

LLKA (Life Lane Keep Assist)

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(Icon Created by Richard Nixon from the Noun Project)

Our cars have become technology powerhouses. Cars remind you where they parked, describe alternative routes to upcoming traffic, make noise when you get too close to the curb, brake to prevent collision, and my new favorite: keep you in your lane.

These cars scan the road ahead. If you start to veer our of your lane, the car is there to help by gently nudging the wheel to keep you in your lane.

Small gentle nudges to keep you safe.

Small gentle nudges to provide direction when you get a little distracted and start to drift.

Imagine if this technology was available for us.

I can see the commercial.

Cue the dramatic music, and cut to video of busy, distracted living, while people race down winding roads.

[A voice begins]

Do you get distracted from your larger picture life goals? Do you spend time thinking about what you could have done, or should have done, instead of working on that thing right in front of you? Have you felt the pull of comparison to others and the resulting and life-stalling envy?

Welcome to the Life Lane Keep Assist.

The new Life Lane Keep Assist is designed to keep you in your lane.

Life Lane Keep Assist is a friendly nudge when the distractions or comparisons in life tempt you to compare your self with others, forget that you have value, and veer away from your own journey.

Life Lane Keep Assist works with you and your mind, head, and heart to turn to back to what is important in your life. It starts with a small nudge, builds to a larger push if needed.

[The cameras pan to a few individuals for one-on-one testimonials.]

“There I was, going though life while comparing my journey to others. It was discouraging, but with Life Lane Keep Assist, I began to live in my own lane. At first it was hard, I kept wanted to go back, but the small nudges and re-directions provided a much needed focus.”

“It was hard to focus. There were so many demands and needs, I was trying to do it all. I didn’t know how to say no. Thank you Life Lane Keep Assist for helping me steer away from the unimportant, and focus on how to make a real difference.”

“Before Life Lane Keep Assist I got way to involved in other people’s lives and created unnecessary conflict. Life Lane Keep Assist helped me from putting myself in the middle of conflict that wasn’t even mine to begin with.”

Life Lane Keep Assist – Available to help in your life journey today.

[Music Fades and screen goes blank]

Until Life Lane Keep Assist is standard equipment in our lives, we will have to just remind ourselves when we start to drift into the wrong lane. When we get out of our own lane, our own journey, our own lives, maybe it is just a simple nudge that can help us get back.

Cross-Examine the Narrator

That Narrator.

That voice.

The one who cuts you down.

The one who seems to have a job description to regularly review your faults and past failures and bring a case against you.

We can try to silence the Narrator, but simply recognizing and trying to ignore that voice is not always enough.

During a coaching session we talked about the Narrator, and how often it reminds us of faults or short-comings. And, how when we silence that voice in one area or approach, the Narrator seems to find another angle, another strategy, another way to try to disrupt us.

But there is another way.

Cross-Examine the Narrator.

Instead of just taking in these words, these accusations, maybe it is time for us to examine the evidence, and take issue with these old approaches and rehashing of past failures.

Maybe it is time we put the Narrator on the stand after each statement or accusation that is leveled against us.

“Well you are not very consistent, if you were, you would be more successful. Look at the time you have wasted, and where you could be today.”

Hold on a second, now it is my turn and in my best pretend courtroomy lawyerly voice.

“I may not always be consistent, but part of my behavioral style allows me to be flexible and move quickly which is a strong quality. And as far as success, I am successful and here are the areas that I have had great success. [list of the evidence]”

“Yes, but…”

“So, you agree that I have had successes, but you keep insisting on bringing up old news, or old events. Your honor, I move to dismiss all charges.”

“I object!”

“Object all you want. You have no case. You have no relevant facts, and your accusations are groundless and are more of a distraction. Case dismissed!”

Don’t let the Narrator’s voice go unchallenged.

Speak up and Cross-Examine the Narrator.

Present the evidence.

Be tough on that voice that has been tough on you.

Dismiss the case against you.

Move forward and be free.

Yes

Yes

Yes.

But I am tired.

Yes.

But I want to rest.

Yes.

But I would much rather [insert distraction here].

Yes.

But it will be hard.

Yes.

But I may fail.

Yes.

But people may laugh at me.

Yes.

But I am afraid.

Yes.

But I am not qualified.

Yes.

But I am not ready.

Yes.

Learning to say Yes while wading through the obstacle swamp our minds and bodies create for us may make all the difference.

Timid Anchors and Storms

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We need anchors.

Connections to something real.

Reminders of who we are.

Solid tethers to what is true.

Storms come.

Physically, emotionally, relationally, spiritually…

Some storms are generated by our insecurity.

Other storms are the result of another’s activity.

Some storms just seem to come without warning.

Anchors need to be strong and solid, not timid.

Timid anchors give the illusion of strength.

Timid anchors are lightly attached on the surface.

Timid anchors will break free when tested.

Find your anchors.

Test the timid anchors.

Relocate them to solid ground.

Storms will come again.

May your anchors hold.

 

Disqualified

 

Disqualified

You were not good at math. You were easily distracted. You got an F. You got more than one F. You lost your temper. You messed up. You lost the account. You didn’t get into college. You didn’t tell the whole story. You said the wrong thing. You didn’t lose the weight. You were a bad friend. You got fired. You spoiled the party. You quit the team. You stopped calling. You didn’t get science. You made the mistake. You struggled with[insert name here].

Sometimes events make us draw conclusions. We were not good at math therefore we will never be good at math. We spoiled the party, therefore we will always spoil the party, so we should not be invited. We quit the team, therefore we are a quitter. We struggle with a pattern of behavior, therefore we will never overcome.

But worse than giving up, we become disqualified.

Disqualified is when the past is allowed to remove you from future opportunities, growth, or development.

Disqualified is a limitation on our potential.

Disqualified is keeping us from making a difference.

Disqualified is when struggles keep you from helping others.

Disqualified is a lifetime ban.

But, maybe there is no Disqualified status.

Maybe we misunderstood the value of the journey, the struggle, and the failure.

Maybe the fact that we struggle, fail, quit, mess up, and lose are the very things that qualify us to make an impact.

Maybe others need to know that we struggle as well.

Maybe we can learn, grow, develop, and be.

Maybe the future is wide open.

Maybe we are qualified.