The Saddest Excuse for Mediocrity

One of my childhood friends liked to say this…

The more you study, the more you learn. The more you learn, the more you know. The more you know the more you forget.  The more you forget the less you know, so why study?

He made me laugh!  I assumed that was his intent and not his philosophy because he was a good student and a good friend.  Today it’s not so funny.  I see people living their lives this way, in fear of the responsibilities that come from high achievement, excellence, mastery and proficiency.  I imagine the following thought process spinning around in their minds…

The more I prepare, the better I become. The better I become, the more I can achieve.  The more I achieve, the more people expect of me.  The more people expect, the busier I get.  The busier I get, the more stressful my life gets.  The more stressful my life gets, the less I will achieve.  The less I achieve, the worse I become, so why prepare?

In other words, this imagined sequence reflects “fear of success.”  Some will miss the irony and significance of their rationalization.  Others will just laugh it off, not admitting their fear.  Still others will simply choose to be in denial.

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The truth is simple.  This preparation formula demonstrates the reality of fear and why people settle for mediocrity.  It’s real, it’s unnecessary and it’s NOT FUNNY!  Since it’s a serious matter, we should be engaged in stomping out mediocrity by inspiring parents, teachers and others to leverage their influence to help others dispose of limiting beliefs by replacing them with empowering beliefs.  Most importantly we should be helping the young people closest to us become who they were meant to be.  That responsibility gets me up and going every day.  What about you?  Who do you know?

P.S. There is undoubtedly someone close to you that is unprepared for the future. If their developmental gaps include productivity, professionalism, relationships or leadership, then perhaps they would benefit from LEAP, my on-line course.  Learn all about it at: www.MoEaH.org.

Read This One!

Here’s an excerpt from “The Power of Asking” by Daniel Cole

“Percy Ross once said ‘You’ve got to ask. Asking, in my opinion, is the world’s most powerful and neglected secret to success and happiness.’ People are afraid to ask because they don’t want to look needy, foolish or stupid. They are afraid of experiencing rejection. There are afraid of hearing the word No. The sad thing is that they’ve actually rejected themselves in advance. They are saying no to themselves before anyone else even has a chance to.”

For the entire article, go to: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/power-asking-daniel-cole

What is “What If?”

What If Banner

Once An Ancient Mind Game

Now a Life-Changing Adventure Game for Career Professionals

Everyone plays this game more than they admit.  For some it’s mostly from a negative perspective. What if I get lost? What if it doesn’t work? What if I don’t like it? What if I fail? What if people laugh? What if, what if, …? Such negative self-talk is a game of fear that causes us to talk ourselves out of life’s opportunities Today, the Game Changers Team of Wright Cross Performance Group is pleased to announce a brand new edition of What If? Let’s Play!

ROUND #1 – “The Practice Round”

The object of the game is to use four What if? Power Questions to knock down Negativity and out of the game. Your first move is to think of a hypothetical opportunity that involves Going Someplace, Doing Something, Learning Something, Meeting Someone, Discovering Something, Acquiring Something, and/or Experiencing Something. Maybe it’s the chance to develop a new skill or have a little fun. Next, within the context of your opportunity, answer the first What If? Question (Q1) by choosing the favorable outcomes you desire from such an opportunity. Unlike Chance Cards in the game of Monopoly, all of the What IF? Outcomes are positive AND you can choose as many as you want. How cool is that?

Q1: “What if I choose to grab this opportunity – what positive outcomes will I want and expect from it?

Influence Money Knowledge Momentum Strategy
Clarity/Focus Insight Efficiency Effectiveness Plan/Goals
Motivation Peace of Mind Fun Excitement Pleasure
Strength Confidence Inspiration Self Esteem Accountability
Referrals/Leads Relationships Teammates Friendships Faith
Opportunities Solutions Improvements Direction Options
Ideas Suggestions Resources Processes Systems
Growth Decisions Resolution Relief Vision/Dream
Methods Resources Tools Techniques Skills

After answering your What If? Opportunity Question, answer each of the following What If? Consequence Questions. Your answers will reveal the solution that wins the game.

Q2: “What if these outcomes were truly possible – then why would they be important to me?”

Q3: “What if I DO NOT take advantage of my opportunity – then how will I feel?”

Q4: “What if I DO and then actually realize one or more of my expected outcomes – them how will I feel?”


ROUND #2 – “Playing for Keeps”

Practice is good, but a real opportunity is better.  In this round, repeat the four power questions with a real “What If? Opportunity such as Prepare to Win!   This half-day workshop on November 4, 2014, featuring Tom Ziglar (son of Zig Ziglar) is a live event to help you grow personally and professionally and build professional relationships.  Once again, unlike Monopoly, the What If? Outcomes are heavily stacked in your favor.  So much so that you could experience ALL of your chosen outcomes, but only if you play by the rules of the new edition of What If?  The longer you play the old negative edition, the longer you will procrastinate and miss out on the available benefits of Prepare to Win!  It’s an opportunity you can’t afford to miss.

Claim it now at:  WrightCrossPerformanceGroup.com

 

What If?


Killing Time is a Felony (or Should Be!)

On the heels of a full-day workshop about personal productivity led by Michelle Prince, I was inspired to ask this question.  “With time being the precious commodity that it is, why do we treat it with such reckless abandon? ”  Maybe there should be a severe penalty for killing time.  Then it dawned on me.  Wasteful use of time is it’s own penalty, like burning money!  How can we stop doing this?   (Enter Michelle Prince.)

Time Blocking Means Scheduling What’s Important

Thinking back on what Michelle taught us about Time Blocking, I had another thought.  Imagine your favorite band is coming to town in two weeks and you’ve never heard them in-person.  You wonder, this can’t be the first announcement. How come I’m just now hearing about it?  While questioning your predicament you immediately go online desperately hoping that a few seats might still be available.  Hooray!  You discover two unclaimed adjoining seats near the back row.  Without hesitation, you break the all-time speed record for online purchases.

After a sigh of relief, you check your calendar to see if anything has to be rescheduled.  First things second, right?  But, maybe you aren’t the type to be caught up in the moment, meaning you had the good sense to check your calendar BEFORE buying the tickets.  Regardless, here’s the important question.  If something else was scheduled on the day of the concert, what would you do?  Remember, it’s your favorite band.  You would reschedule what’s important to make room for the concert.

My imagination continued to churn, this time in a different direction.  Suppose your favorite band had to cancel.  Would you clear your calendar until the rain check date was announced?  Of course not!  Yet, how many real opportunities do we miss because we keep our calendars open for unknown opportunities that might never happen?

Simple is as Simple Does

Productive people faced with an opportunity begin with one simple action.  They schedule what is important as soon as it appears on the radar screen and reschedule conflicting priorities as needed to keep them on the calendar.  Admittedly, this approach does fill the calendar quicker and occasionally requires cancelling a priority.  However, I would wager that this happens far less often than we fear.  The important thing to remember is this:

“What gets scheduled gets done.  What doesn’t get scheduled doesn’t get done.”
— Michael Hyatt

Scheduling forms the commitment.  What other behaviors do people exhibit when they are committed?  They tell people about their decision.  They invest money in it.   They visualize what it will be like.  They make plans.  They prepare.  Without these behaviors there is no importance and no commitment.  Sadly, they are left with one more option on the pile of discarded opportunities.  An unimportant opportunity rejected intentionally is sensible.  An important one missed by poor scheduling is tragic.

Self-Talk: The Enemy of Importance

Let’s look at an example of “importance.”  Is your family important to you?  What’s important to your family?  Certainly your time.  If you are the breadwinner in your family your income is important.  In turn, that would assign importance to your capacity to earn future income, which leads to your next question.  “What am I doing to protect and increase my capacity to earn a living for my family?”  You might discover that strategic investments in yourself are long overdue.  It’s time for action!

After this sort of reflection, expect your self-talk to jump in.  “I realize that I want and need this.  But, there’s plenty of time to make it happen so, I’ll revisit it when the time gets closer.  I’ll make a note to myself.  This way, if a better offer comes up, I won’t have to rearrange my schedule and apologize for canceling.  Besides, there will probably be other opportunities when I’m not so busy.  The benefits might have to wait.”

Truth #1: We Schedule What We Value.

When two conflicting opportunities collide, we schedule around them.  Scheduling is seldom an either/or proposition.  When we are creative, we can usually find a way to make both things happen.  Instead of sacrificing, we adjust.

Truth #2: It’s Easy to Confuse “Importance” with “Interesting.”

Success means giving preferential treatment to that which is important over that which is merely interesting.  The negative alternative is settling for interesting, low-value opportunities, including nothing at all.  Temptation is that seductive stimulus that preys on people’s inability to differentiate between importance and interesting.  As a result, people are drawn to what seems important in the moment,  but turn out to be less important, even harmful.  Successful people have the will and the skill to recognize what is truly important and make appropriate choices.  They do this by reprogramming their values to make the important interesting.

Truth #3: Most Important Things Can be Rescheduled.

Highly effective people routinely adjust their calendars.  Because they are committed to maintaining a full calendar based on their priorities, they will inevitably find competing priorities that conflict with one another.  They realize that productivity begins with a flexible calendar, filled with the most important opportunities.  If something is important enough to be on the calendar, it’s worth rescheduling to make room for other priorities.  This is a must-have attitude for enjoying a rich, highly effective life.

A Lesson in Flexibility

Here’s a question I’ve been asking myself and others more often.  Is life an endless series of either/or propositions?  For example, do we really have to choose between a customer appointment and an investment in ourselves?  Maybe, but probably not.  What if a customer wants to meet you on Friday morning?  If the requested day and time are open, you schedule it.  If not, you suggest a different time or adjust your calendar.  You have the power to choose.  So often we make things more complicated than necessary by imagining what the customer might think, say or do if we suggest a different time or have to call back to reschedule.  That’s fear speaking.  Instead of listening to the speculation of our imaginations, why not reach out to the customer and ask a question like this?  “Mr. Customer, I have a conflict.  Would it be inconvenient for you if we choose another time that works for you?  I have both an early and a late opening on Wednesday.  Would either of these be convenient?”

Here’s a real-life example.  It was Friday afternoon, several years ago when I called Chuck for an appointment to discuss a home-remodeling project.  I was the prospective customer.  Chuck was pleased to take my call and suggested Tuesday afternoon.  I explained, that was too late, because I already had a quote and a signed contract that would take effect on Tuesday.  I needed his quote before then.  After a brief pause, Chuck said, “I can be meet with you at 6:30 this evening.”  His professionalism and flexibility were key factors in earning my business.

Here’s the point.  I didn’t know what was on Chuck’s calendar — I did know what was on mine.  Here’s what I do know.  When we understood each others’ time parameters and priorities we were able to schedule an appointment with the help of importance-based time-blocking.

A Challenge for Change

How many opportunities do we miss because we don’t schedule what’s important?  How often are we afraid to reschedule an appointment assuming people will be upset by a rescheduling request?  Just maybe, the original appointment has become inconvenient for them, too and they would welcome your request to reschedule.  Does fear of the unknown drive our actions or have we learned that reasonable people will make reasonable adjustments?

Here are four challenge questions for you.

  1. Do you understand what is truly important to you and those in your circle of influence?
  2. Do you schedule first what is most important?  (see: Big Rocks)
  3. Are you willing to reschedule as needed to maximize your time according to your priorities?
  4. What will you do differently as a result of reading this and thinking about it?

CLICK HERE for opportunities that might belong on your calendar.