We live in a society that measures our success by our accomplishments. For most people, accomplishments are based on DOING things. We have this ingrained idea that doing things is very important and there can be a lot of pressure to have massive to-do lists, to show just how important or valuable we are.
I’m going to suggest that a bigger accomplishment would be to focus on who we’re being rather than what we’re doing. Why not create intentions for who we want to BE, instead of what we want to DO?
Let me share a few examples of how two of my clients have applied this concept to their lives.
Take Kate – a classic example of a workaholic mother of 2 kids. She was driven to succeed in all areas of her life. The problem was, she was tightly wound, and had outbursts of anger when things didn’t go according to plan – which was fairly frequent. And she was miserable. She was on a path of self -destruction and knew it. The question was which would blow up first, the marriage? The job? Her health?
During the time that we worked together, which was recommended by her HR department for “performance coaching,” many things unfolded. One of which was her description of who she really wanted to be.
She wanted to be “serene, passionate, compassionate and flexible.” In fact, that’s how she saw herself, deep inside, but had lost access to those qualities as she pushed ahead in her life.
Another example is Bill – the classic inappropriate guy. He had a way of saying and doing very inappropriate and disrespectful things, including ignoring some stern warnings by HR. (So my first question to the HR director was “Why haven’t you fired this guy?” – to which she responded: “He’s talented and I think with direction, he has potential…” and my thought was we better hurry before they’re sued!)
Bottom line with Bill – he did have potential. It was an entrepreneurial company with a lot of renegades and no real role models. Underneath the façade of being a tough guy, he had a huge heart and really wanted to do a good job. Who he really wanted to be was someone who is “respectful, professional and has integrity.”
Once Kate and Bill determined the qualities they most wanted to demonstrate or be known for, we discussed how their lives would look if they were being this type of person. How would they feel about themselves and the people around them?
Both responded that their lives would be totally different, they’d be happier and the people around them would be happier too. They felt their lives would be unrecognizable and totally transformed in a way that they were totally committed to.
Once they decided the kind of person they really wanted to be, the next step was to determine how to DO this… and then to practice, practice, practice. This subtle shift in thinking produced a quantum leap in results they achieved.
What are the qualities that you want to demonstrate consistently? Do you really want to be known as crabby, controlling, negative, or demanding? Or would you rather be calm, collaborative, open or thankful?
Make your list and then imagine what would your life look like if you were being those qualities? Are you inspired enough to commit to giving it a try?
Next, when encountering a situation that you would normally have responded in a crabby, controlling, indecisive or negative way that you want to shift … stop and think: “What could I do or say that would be … ‘serene, flexible, collaborative or respectful’ ” … (or whatever words you choose.)
Stop. Think. Listen to yourself and choose who you really want to be.
To learn more, order Marty’s book: From Type A to Type T – How to Be a Transformational Leader in a Bottom-Line World