Archives For May 2016


 

Better every day can be subverted by being different every day.

I love racquetball – it’s a dynamic, fast-paced sport with more angles than a shady politician. So needless to say, like many midlife guys, I’m passionate about wanting to improve my play. So after another defeat by my racquetball partner, I took inventory of our games and I noticed every time we play, I’m trying something new; new shots, angles, positions and of course new variations in trash talk – none of which were working as I was still losing, and my game was improving at a snail’s pace. By taking inventory of my game, I was able to identify the shots that worked and the ones that didn’t. The ironic thing was that none of my experimental shots made it to the “shots that worked” list. So I began to refine the 5 shots that were winners. I closed down the laboratory of shot making and began to refine the 5 key shots of my game. Not only did my shots improve, I had more physical and mental energy to contend with the occasional surprises. I was calmer on the court, more clear thinking and began to win more often. There is something to be said for working on the winners by making way to do those things that are proven and eliminating those things that aren’t. So I looked at my career in the same light and found the same “disease.” I was doing a lot of experimentation and getting poor results. After a bit of scrutiny, I realized there are 4-5 things I do really well. In fact, I’m deadly in these areas and at the top of my game. They give me energy, produce results, and I love doing them. So why chase after alternatives to success? Perhaps the repetitiveness got to me a bit, but when I realized I could bring a new vision of refinement to what was already working, life instantly started working better.

Close down the laboratory of uncertainty today. Work on your winners.

Do I value the adrenaline rush of experimentation over tried and true results?
What are my sweet spots, the areas where my value screams progress?


 

Want to ruin a good conversation, drift or think of what you’re going to say next.

We’ve talked about listening before, but beyond listening is focus. In my earlier years, I was so distracted during conversations that I often got caught with no response other than a blank stare, wondering – what did this person just say, how should I respond, and how the heck do I save myself from total embarrassment? Generally, I’d be some percentage in the conversation and in some percentage of thought about something that had nothing to do with the conversation. The results were always a disjointed, awkward response or clumsy redirect only to do it again after their next response. Tragic! Not only were conversations infused with stress, they never reached even a hint of their potential and as fate would have it, overtime I became more introverted, lonely and insecure about basic social circumstances. Then I got married. Talk about bringing gasoline to a bonfire. It was in the process of forcing my mind to stay in the conversation that I discovered the hidden gem of creating relationships, especially with my wife. And although I still get caught in the drift from time-to-time, I’m now able to refocus in quickly. Where before my conversations were 50% in and 50% distracted, today I hover around 90% to 100% in. Through a bit of work and a new habit formed, I’m keenly aware that people are well pleased when I stay within the frame of the conversation. It’s a benefit that keeps me from nervously switching to the “me” show; an empty stage where I alone have a disconnected one-way monologue, ignore the audience, and no one claps. In fact, no one’s really there, but me, alone, afraid, and humiliated when I get caught in the drift.

Don’t miss the value of being “all in” during conversations today!

What percentage are you in, and out of conversations?
What would a day of “being all in” during conversations bring to bear?