1. People are classrooms. They contain volumes. And as such, deserve to be treated with deep democracy. Even if you don’t like them. Even if you have the urge to “accidentally” push them out of the fourteenth story window of your office.
Go out of your way to experience everybody as your mentor. As Emerson reminds us, “Every man I meet is my superior in some way.” As Ginsberg reminds us, “You don’t have to like them to learn from them.” How could you morph this person into a professor?
2. Problems are messages. The word “problem” derives from the Greek term, proballein, which means, “to throw forward.” Interesting. Sounds like the challenge is keeping your receptive capabilities open enough to see what the problem points to.
Three helpful questions to ask are: Is this particular problem part of a larger problem? What does this problem tell me about the larger picture? And what am I pretending not to know about my role in the problem? Understand: This problem is a message, and it’s your job to reply in a timely fashion.
Like a first date with a girl, you don’t want to keep it waiting. What if, overnight, a miracle occurred, and you woke up tomorrow morning and the problem was solved – what would be the first thing you would notice?
3. Questions are catapults. Lord of the Rings style. Launching your curious butt over the wall of uncertainty, plunging straight into the heart of understanding. And the cool part is: Once a question has been asked, it’s neurologically impossible for a human brain (not) to begin answering it.
This fact is especially powerful during a meeting, for those of you unfortunate enough to attend them regularly. Ultimately, people sitting around the table can pretend they didn’t just hear you. But their efforts are futile. A question asked is a brain toggled. And like a bell that can’t be unrung – once you send your question out there, there’s no turning back. Truth or bust. Where do you want to take people with your questions?
4. Rants are goldmines. In moments of unbridled emotion, unexpected anger and unimpeded passion, truth surfaces like a fart in a bubble bath. So, next time you feel a rant coming on, let ‘er rip. Try not to avert your ears. (Or your nose, for that matter.) Instead, spy on yourself as you rant.
And like the spontaneous bedtime story you continue to tell to your kids after they fall asleep just to see how it turns out, keep ranting. Then write everything down. Then organize your rants in an easily accessible way. You never know: You might say something good. Even better, you might say something bad. When was the last time went on a good rant?
5. Shortcuts are mirages. We just think they’re real because they’re everywhere. Stupid instant gratification culture. Like I tell my audience members: Learn to love and leverage the longcut. Shortcuts are stressful, expensive and time intensive. Shortcuts cause stress, rarely succeed and often backfire. They never go unpunished. They are a refuge for slackers and a lazy man’s panacea.
Stop taking them just to impress yourself. Instead, learn the chords. Take the long cut. Work your face off. Develop bottomless patience. That’s where the true oasis awaits. Will this choice bring your long-term fulfillment or will it bring me short-term gratification?
6. Transitions are teachers. My friend Ria from My Mommy Manual recently reminded me that when you undergo periods of personal transformation, it’s crucial to examine the new and different types of things you attract into your life. People. Ideas. Situations. Thoughts. Attitudes. Experiences. Whatever shows up in your life is your fault. Outer represents inner. You are the result of yourself.
And the trick is twofold: (1) Practicing enough self-awareness to recognize that these new things are supposed to be teaching you; and (2) Maintaining a teachable, coachable attitude to convert those new things into lifelong lessons. If the current phase of your life were a how-to book, what would it be called?
7. Values are navigators. Maps and compasses are for sailors and boy scouts. As long as you have enough self-awareness to ask, “If I were me, what would I do in this situation?” you’ll get where you’re supposed to go. That’s how you chart your course. That’s how you traverse turbulent waters.
By knowing yourself SO well that you could memorialize your non-negotiable decision making patterns to the point of repeatability. Do that, and I promise you’ll discover land. What if you started wearing a bracelet that read, “WWID?”
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What epiphany will you have this week?
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For the list called, “23 Ways to Bring More of Yourself to Any Situation,” send an email to me, and you win the list for free!
That Guy with the Nametag
Author, Speaker, Coach, Entrepreneur
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