When you sit in the exit row on a plane you are required to give a verbal commitment.
You commit, by agreeing out loud, to do all you can to help the entire set of passengers get out in case of an emergency.
When you say “yes”, you’re saying, “I’m prepared to be a leader,” and to do what the 143 or 175 or 300 others need you to do, according to the specific instructions.
The others are on your team. You’re sharing an experience and have the same set of guidelines. For the duration of the flight you are a team.
As a leader your get some more leg room. That’s it. It may or may not be worth it. And even if you’re in the middle in the last row, the flight will be better if you are on board with the rules of being on board.
Oh yeah, everyone thinks that’s the right thing to do.
Everyone says it’s true.
I’ll get everyone together and we’ll get it done.
Is “everyone” really all of the people? Who’s important, and who is optional to be in the group of everyone?
If you need everyone on board you better be sure that everyone knows what’s happening. And if you don’t need everyone then just ask the people who are crucial.
So, there is probably a really good way to do the thing that you need to do. Others have done it before, I’m sure, and you can get a lot from their experience.
You can research the best way to do this thing, you can rely on your own experience or you can ask a friend.
In my experience, I find that relying on my own best practices, for that thing or other similar things I’ve done before, is the best way to get a satisfactory result.
If I think about the way I like to do things, the way the best things have worked out for me, I find that there aren’t really an unlimited way to do things…
So, do something, see how it feels when it’s done, redo it, and go from there.
The best way to practice, is to practice.
Remember that time…? It seems like it was easy, right? You showed up and got it right.
Your successes are likely more complex than you remember them.
You worked hard, you considered options that ended up on the cutting room floor that you don’t even recall now.
Sometimes we think our former selves had it easier, or the competition wasn’t as tough as it actually was, or we were just better then…
Give yourself credit and get to work on the complex concern in front of you now.
I think we should celebrate the fact that we’ve changed.
If we’re still operating the same way we did years ago, we’re not getting better. We might not be getting worse, either, but staying the same is probably not what’s best.
I’m always surprised that people are surprised that I’ve changed.
Each time you state what you’re all about, what you stand for, you set yourself up to fight for that moment to moment.
If you are “all about” discipline, for example, you then need to be ready not only to be disciplined in your actions but to fight for the belief that discipline is important.
It has to work.
When things are upsetting, most of us can’t just take three deep breaths and be “over it”. Things don’t just go away because they hope they will, and most of the time the advice to “just let it go”, is a vast oversimplification.
Really, how do you do that?
If the event or situation was bothersome enough that someone else noticed and felt compelled to give you advice–the “let it go” mentioned above–then it’s likely not a small thing. Those people rarely have the “how” or strategy to help us get past that thing right away.
So, unless you have an idea of how to help someone get past a problem, practice empathy and try to simply recognize that they are having pain or a struggle rather than telling them to get over it.
Recently, I’ve been taking the time to think critically about the things that I have taken as gospel as a coach over my career. Like goal setting, for example.
For many years I spent time talking to teams about SMART goals (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic/relevant, timely, although there are many other versions of the SMART acronym). I believe that if one is setting a goal then it should have many of these characteristics, and yes, having outcome goals can be a motivator.
However, in recent years I have come to discount the value of hard goals and focused myself and my teams on the behaviors needed to be the kind of team we’d like to be. Often, outcome goals are a consideration (“what behaviors do we need to do in order to get what we want?”), but not always.
The best behavioral discipline comes when the things a team says they want to do on a regular basis are a reflection of who they are–their values–as opposed to what they want to have at the end of the day.
Too often goals can be used as a crutch. We sometimes make excuses to justify behaviors that are not championship caliber. We say that as long as we get where we want to go, it’s not that important how we got there. Untrue. Behaving in a way that’s outside one’s values, whether the values are stated and clear or not, is never a way to feel good about where one’s going.
Have some un-goals. Determine what you’d like to be on a regular basis and start doing those things and see where you end up.