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Lately a few books I have read and Cd’s I have listened to have focused on the concept of the ability to learn and the desire to learn.  What makes one business owner great, record profits, obtain raving fans for customers, and secure balance within their lives; while another business struggling to make ends meet, experiences challenges with building a team, watch their profit being squeezed and have a decided lack of balance in their lives?  One could say many things make them different; however one common character trait of most successful business owners is genuine sense of Humility.  They recognize that they don’t know how to do everything.  They lost the negative side of ego many years ago.  They know the difference between self-confidence and ego and utilize the strength of each.

Self-confidence is:

  • being able to step out of your comfort zone,
  • being open to someone else knowing more
  • being a willing learner
  • being willing to be wrong, but know it doesn’t affect the core of who you are

Ego (the positive side) is:

  • having self-confidence in what you are doing, yet knowing when and how to ask questions
  • having appropriate pride in oneself – aka self esteem
  • having a realistic view of how the world sees them, yet knows how they see themselves and the qualities they possess

We all know the negative side of ego.

Humility (the opposite of Ego) is:

  • expressed by the actions of a well-grounded person
  • found in knowing your intrinsic self-worth
  • respected as a virtue in life and in a religious/philosophical sense
  • often tied to fierce resolve
  • critical as a character trait to leadership effectiveness

Where do you stand with response to Ego, Self-confidence and humility?

Last week’s blog on the Mind Game introduced the topic of results; how what you tell yourself hourly, daily, weekly, and monthly directly impacts the outcome of our actions.   Now as your self-talk begins to become more positive we can put it into even greater perspective.  For every negative thought you have, “I can’t do this”, “I am not good at doing anything or this one thing”, or “You screwed up again”, (whatever your negative self-talk includes), it takes at least 12 affirmations to counteract that one negative statement.  WOW!  Does that become a motivator to stop telling yourself what you can’t do?  This doesn’t even take into consideration what others may say to you, it only pertains to the one negative conversation you had with yourself.  So here is what it looks like:

Negative self-talk:  “I really blew that meeting!  You aren’t any good at running meetings.”

Positive self-talk:

  1. I continue to improve my understanding of how to run meetings.
  2. I really appreciated the feedback to running meetings better.
  3. I am great at running meetings.
  4. Every meeting I run I learn more about how to be great at running them.
  5. I learned a great deal at that meeting that I can apply to the next one.
  6. I am going to start earlier in preparing for running meetings to achieve even greater results.

And the list goes on.

We all eventually make a mess of things, do something wrong, bring to light an area we need to improve upon.  Those are all facts.  It is how we look at those mistakes, failures, whatever you want to call them that helps us pick up the pieces learn and move on.

If you aren’t failing you are not growing.  So embrace the failure, give yourself credit, and create a plan of self-talk of how to improve the next time without beating yourself up.

Olympic athletes at the US Olympic Training Center have the opportunity to utilize a sports psychologist to help them bring home a gold medal.  A couple of weeks ago I was able to spend time with one of center’s psychologist to learn more about what creates the difference between an Olympic medal  winner and one that wins no medal. What I learned is that 50% or more of the reason athletes lose is due to their mental state.  Some of the things that get in their way are:  fear, self-doubt, personal beliefs, negative thoughts, lack of focus, and the most surprising thing is a lack of hydration.  A lack of hydration (water!!) reduces metal focus, and a reduced mental focus creates self-doubt, fear etc.  Therefore a lack of hydration can be the difference between winning and losing.  That is an easy thing (one would think) to control, but it is a common cause for losing.

This concept is just as true for the business owner as it is for the well trained athlete.  It does start with the assumption that you are good at your sport.  No matter how much focus and hydration I have, I could not win an Olympic Gold Medal at running.  It isn’t my passion, and I am not trained for it.  However, as a business owner and coach, I train on a regular basis for my “sport”.  I can win, I do win, yet all the things that get in the way of a sports athlete can get in the way for every business owner as well.

Question for you:  What is the dialogue in your head right now?  Is it filled with positive, challenging, focused thoughts?  Or is it filled with all the things you do wrong, did wrong, will do wrong, full of self-doubt, fear and lack of focus?

Your business and personal results will be impacted by your self-talk.  Change your self-talk and you will change your results.

If you want some ideas on how to make that happen, send me a note, give me a call.  I look forward to our conversation.

In the past I loved multi-tasking.  The more I had going on at the same time, the happier I was, the more productive I felt , and my satisfaction level was high – because I thought I was getting things done faster and more efficiently.  After leaving corporate employment, I began doing research on the true efficiency of multi-tasking.  Here is what I found out.  I was wrong!  How could that be?  Multi-tasking doesn’t make me more efficient?  Switching between 2 or 3 or 4 things (emailing, while talking on the phone while listening to another conversation) isn’t truly productive?  Delusion – the art of telling ourselves one thing when reality is another was rampant in my life.  I came by it honestly – I truly thought that my multitasking made me and my company more productive.

Here is what research has proven:

  • The mind cannot truly multitask.  What the mind does is actually switch from one area of focus to another – very quickly, but it doesn’t do two things at once.
  • Your productivity, and especially quality, goes down significantly when you multi-task.
  • It takes around 10 minutes for your mind to refocus if you are working on a problem, get interrupted then need to refocus back to the same level of concentration.  No wonder productivity is slipping for many people.

Here is a video I recommend you watch – see how you do on his quiz.  It might just change how you work and increase your productivity!

Myth of Multi-tasking Video

In the last 2 weeks we have viewed the Boston Marathon bombing, the Waco explosions and experienced the death of two fathers of childhood friends.  The fathers of our childhood friends both lived long and wonderful lives.  However, it still made me stop and focus on the value of life and the shortness of it. 

One of my mantras is to have balance between work and my personal life.  Balance isn’t always possible so the word harmony comes to mind.  Harmony allows for a blend of alto, soprano, tenor and base blended well together.  Harmony allows for occasionally all soprano, or all alto, more tenor or even base at times.  Harmony between work and a personal life allows for time to focus on business, but then welcomes times to focus on personal fulfillment.  There is harmony when we secure time for family yet find time for friends and other activities too.  It is without this harmony that we get the dull beating of a drum in the background that is ok, until it goes on and on and on and on.  Work can become that relentless beating of the drum.  All is well as long as the drum beat is blended with additional instruments (other parts of our lives), but becomes annoying when the drum beat is all alone.

Here are some questions to ask yourself as you create your own “harmony”:

  1.  What is your legacy? 
  2.  What do you want to be known for?
  3.  What is your contribution to society, your family, and your friends?
  4.  What do you want the conversation at your funeral to encompass?

I challenge you to spend time thinking through these questions.  Write out your answers, not for others to read, but for your eyes only.  Then put them somewhere secure and review what you have written in a year.  Then ask these questions:

  1. How am I doing?
  2. Where is my harmony (do I have any)?
  3. What do I need to do different in this next year to accomplish the legacy I want to achieve?

Only you can control your legacy, no one else.  You make the choices, you write the script.  You have but one life to live – so live it to the best.