BREAKING OUT OF THE TIRESOME RUT
“If you wait for perfect conditions, you’ll never get anything done.
It’s easy to get stuck in a rut in leadership – same place –same thing – same responsibility.
But settling into a rut is dangerous. As Will Rogers used to say, “Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there!” What does it take to get you moving?
There are three common motivators:
PAIN: Often it’s not “seeing the light” that gets us going, but “feeling the heat.” You delay the dentist appointment until the pain is unbearable.
PRESSURE: When the doctor says “Lose 50 pounds or die,” or the boss says “Improve performance or be fired,” that pressure will motivate you to make a change. The problem with pressure as a motivator is that it doesn’t last. When the pressure subsides, so does your motivation. There is a better motivator.
PERSPECTIVE: When you see the big picture, or when you’re inspired by a challenging vision or purpose, you’ve found the best motivator of all – perspective. You realize that you’re wasting your potential.
“If you wait for perfect conditions, you’ll never get anything done.”
Four steps for getting out of the rut
1. ASSUME responsibility for your own life. Refuse to be either an excuser (rationalize failure) or an accuser (blame others). Instead, be a chooser, and choose to break out of the rut you’re in.
2. BELIEVE you can change! Stop saying “I can’t” and start saying “I can.”
3. CLARIFY what you really want. Write down specifically how you’d like to change.
4. DON’T WAIT for ideal circumstances. Stop saying “When things settle down ….” Do it now! “One of these days” is really none of these days.
Transform Your Leadership through this One Simple Skill
“My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry ….”
One of the most common causes of frustration and friction in leadership is that we don’t really listen to each other. Too often we talk at each other rather than with each other.
Research shows that we spend about 40% of our waking hours listening, yet most of the time we’re only listening at 25% efficiency, and that creates many of our problems.
Fortunately, listening is a skill that can be developed. The benefits of learning how to listen are enormous: fewer mistakes, better negotiating, greater wisdom, more friends, less arguments, and much, much more.
The Bible says, “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry.” If you do the first two (be quick to listen and slow to speak), the third will be automatic.
Three things that hinder leaders’ hearing:
• When we think we already know it all. “He who answers before listening – that is his folly and his shame.”
• When you interrupt and jump to conclusions. “There is more hope for a fool than for someone who speaks without thinking.”
• When we are defensive and un-teachable. “The way of a fool seems right to him, but a wise man listens to advice.” You can learn from anyone if you know the right questions to ask!
Let me suggest three hearing aids:
1. Listen with your eyes – Approximately 80% of communication is non-verbal. Facial expressions and body language usually tell the real story. Look at people when you listen to them!
2. Listen with your heart – Be sympathetic. Tune in to the emotions behind the words.
3. Make time to listen to the people around you – Tom Peters calls it “Managing by Walking Around.”(MBWA)
Imagine how your leadership could be transformed if you focused on carefully listening to those around you. Give it a try this week!
A leader’s interpretation influences his situation: It’s not what happens to me that matters as much as how I choose to see it. The way I react will determine whether the circumstance makes me better or bitter. I can view everything as an obstacle or an opportunity for growth – a stumbling block or a stepping stone. The bible says “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
A leader’s impressions influence his depressions: In other words, my mind affects my moods, my thinking determines my feelings. If I’m feeling depressed, it’s because I’m choosing to think depressing thoughts – about my work, family, or anything else. While you cannot always control a feeling, you CAN choose what you think about – which will control how you feel. “Hear me and answer me. My thoughts trouble me and I am distraught…”
A leader’s beliefs influence his behavior: We always act according to our beliefs – even when those ideas are false. For instance, as a child, if you believed a shadow in your bedroom at night was a monster; your body reacted in fear (adrenaline, sweat, etc.) even though it wasn’t true. That’s why it’s so important to make sure you are operating on true information! Your convictions about yourself, about life, and about God influence your conduct. “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.”
A leader’s self-talk influences his self-esteem: You are constantly talking to yourself unconsciously. When you walk into a room full of strangers, what do you tend to think about yourself? To develop more confidence you’re going to have to stop running yourself down! “As he thinks in his heart, so is he.”
A leader’s attitude influences his ability: Winners expect to win. Your perception controls your performance. Mohammed Ali only lost two fights in his career. Before both of them, he said something that he hadn’t said before other fights: “If I should lose this fight ….” “All things are possible to him who believes.”
A leader’s imagination influences his aspiration: In other words, your dreams determine your destiny. To accomplish anything, you must first have a mission, a goal, a hope, a vision. “Without a vision the people perish.”