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Monthly Archives: June 2013

The One Unexamined Assumption You Probably Have Which You Can’t Afford To Keep

Un-Game Principle: Things are usually not what they seem. A new perspective could change everything.

13-06-18 One_Unexamined_Assumption_You_Probably_Have_Which_You_CanEveryone has that little voice we locate in our head that incessantly talks to us. So much so that some of us don’t even realize it. It’s white noise. However, if we are aware of it…you know, the voice that you might say “Oh, I could never give a presentation as good as Josh Raylan .” Or, “I wonder if I did the right thing in firing Joan.” Or the one that says “There was nothing else I could do.” Or, “My boss is a jerk. Why’s she putting all this pressure on me?”

If you’re like most reasonably self-aware people, you’re not pleased with that constant chatter that swings between doubt and worry and back again. We consider it a pesky voice that should either be pushed aside by positive thinking or be stomped, in our opinion, to a well-deserved and not premature death. You’ve heard the saying “We’ve met the enemy, and it’s us.” That saying often refers to our inner voice which we sense is not our voice of wisdom (intuition you trust, but that’s a different subject) but the one designed to keep us pacing in place. The voice that assures we keep the status quo if we like it and even if we don’t.

I suggest that thinking of that pesky little voice we can’t shut up as the enemy (Did you ever notice it isn’t quiet for long, and it distracts you from enthusiastically moving forward on goals you care about?) is the unexamined assumption you and I can’t afford to keep.

I am a professionally certified executive coach. While I was in my coach training program I remember vehemently arguing with my coach that this voice is the enemy and must be defeated. I argued for at least 20 minutes (wanting to be right is a sneaky version of that pesky voice…the one that wants to keep things as they are. Yes, I certainly didn’t intend to give that assumption up. No way!).

Eventually I saw it my coach’s way. Here’s the distinction I saw. Remember, something that is distinct once wasn’t and now is. A synonym for distinct is clear. And when you’re clear you have choices. And choices empower you.

That pesky little voice you and I want to submerge, defeat, shut up…whatever…is not our enemy. It is merely our opponent. And if we think of the playing field of life as a football or soccer field, then we realize we need our opponents. After all, what would happen if your team showed up and your opponent didn’t?  Ah huh. You got it. There’s no game! Duh! You can’t play the game without an opponent, be it on the football field or on the playing field of life! So why would we be wishing our opponent away (It’s only our enemies we want to destroy before they destroy us.)?  After the game we shake our opponent’s hand. We’re glad we outplayed them. But now we may even be friends and have a beer together.

In Congress there was a time when politicians knew the distinction between enemies and opponents. As fear and uncertainty have mushroomed, this distinction has gotten lost.  As isolated individuals we have no direct control and perhaps little influence over the politicians.  But we have control over ourselves and whether we treat our voice as the enemy that isn’t.

So how can we look at that voice in a way that empowers rather than disempowers us?

First of all, realize, like no kidding, it’s not the enemy.  It’s the opponent we need to outplay. How do we best do that?

First, recognize the function of that voice. It’s designed to preserve the status quo. It warns us of any danger to the status quo.  It’s designed to keep you out of your mind and in your emotions. If you ignore that voice, the voice warns you, you’re in danger of doing something different  and dangerous. Doing the same thing is safe. You know how to handle that. You’ve always done it before. So there. You got proof.

When you get back into your mind and out of your emotions, wouldn’t you at least want to examine whether something other than the status quo is useful and appropriate?  For example, don’t you think it would be useful and appropriate to stand back and ask” Is it really true that I could never give as good a presentation as Josh Raylan?” Engaging with that question would give you the opportunity to change the status quo which your little voice tries to prevent you from doing. If you examine the question and then decide yes, you can do as well as Josh with a little training, well, then you have lots of options open for making that happen. In short, you’ve outplayed your opponent who just wanted you to keep the status quo firmly rooted.

Second, realize that the chatter wouldn’t be active unless you were considering doing something differently. In other words, when you hear the pesky little chatter, sometimes referred to as monkey mind, you…yes YOU, are up to something BIG! Any change is big in the eyes of our opponent (the voice) because it means a shift. No more status quo.  One small change can be the domino that throws all others down. So, small is big.

Without challenging the unexamined assumption that your pesky little voice should be eradicated as the enemy for you to have a chance to capture the gold, you will not become interested in what it has to teach you. Be interested.

a) Listen for the meta-message “you’re up to something big” and

b) Be alert to asking “What strategies will that little voice use to keep me from going for the something big that I’m up to?”

You may be amazed by what you learn. A new perspective can change everything.

Ingrid Martine, MA, PCC, author of The Un-Game and mind-ZENgineering coach works with organizations and individuals to empower them to move their lives from a 7 to 10 at work, home, and play.  For her FREE report, “Reap the Harvest of a Quiet Mind:  Empower Self, Empower Others”, or “Management Training for Business as Unusual”, visit:  http://www.yourleadersedge.com, or connect with Ingrid at:  www.Twitter.com/ingrid_martine and www.facebook.com/coachmartine.

The 1 Most Important Purpose; the 6 Most Important Tools for the Manager

Un-Game Principle: Tools without clarity are like a car without wheels.

Business Team Signing ContractLucky are the people who are clear they aren’t clear! It’s a great starting point to become a powerful learner…to become a beginner. After all, no master was ever born a master. He or she was an enthusiastic, open, receptive, courageous, vulnerable beginner.

So what’s the ONE most important purpose of a manager or a leader? I could (and will) make a case for this: A manager’s purpose is to be a catalyst. Most definitions of ‘catalyst’ work for my purpose, but let’s just say a catalyst is a person who knows how to make things happen. Without a knowledge of the art and science of making something happen, a manager is up the creek without a paddle.

There are ways to make things happen, and then there are ways to make things happen. In the olden days coercion was a tool. Subtle coercion tactics still exist. We can just call them manipulation. But no coercive tactic is sustainable, and all pale in comparison to the genuine use of personal power to catalyze a team’s actions. Genuine personal power whose intention is to honor, respect, and empower others is simply irresistible. People are enrolled and enthusiastic to accomplish a shared goal.

The manager and leader who understand their one most important purpose consciously or unconsciously get that they have SIX ‘tools’ to help them be the best catalyst possible. I put the word tools in quotation marks because we don’t consciously recognize these ‘tools’ as such. But they’re all we’ve got to work with (play with if you take yourself lightly which is a good idea in any event). And we might as well learn to use them consciously.

The first tool is money. For brevity’s sake I’ll just give one example of a use for each ‘tool.’ As a manager you will have the money resources available to forward your goal. If you don’t, good luck! To see the misery of being without it, just think of Congress who legislates and then doesn’t provide the funding. Duh!

The second tool is time. In today’s world many people are experiencing having to do the job of two or three which has obvious ramifications for the quality of product, process, and relationships. A manager must be able to manage the time crunch and establish the fine line between too much tension and not enough tension. Allowing too much time can be just as detrimental as allowing too little.

The third tool is relationships…also known as support (but not only). It could be said that everything happens out of relationship. And I don’t mean who you know although that could have obvious advantages and disadvantages. I’m talking about being connected on a heart level with the people you manage. They matter to you. They are not a resource. They are not a commodity. They are men and women with lives that matter. As a catalyst you want to help them work well with others because you know the importance of relationships. So you nurture and develop them knowing full well that they, too, are on a journey from being beginners to being masterful and all the stages in between. And this is true no matter their content expertise. We’re all beginners in what’s needed now to make the world go ‘round: collaboration, co-operation, and co-ordination.

The fourth tool is physical vitality. How much does illness and absenteeism cost business? I don’t know, but it’s a lot. So as a manager you’re going to be very concerned about the well-being of your team members. If you need to be persuaded, just think about what happens to your muscles if you tried to keep them in a perpetual state of flexing. Enough said.

The fifth and sixth tools will surprise you, I suspect. They are creativity and enjoyment. We generally don’t even think about those in the same sentence with work. And that’s a grievous error. So as a manager who understands her one most important purpose, you will also ask yourself the question “What can I do, how can I assist, who must I be in my own values and attitude, such that my team is free to be as creative as they can be and that they enjoy what they’re doing?” Engaging with the question in an ongoing manner is well worth it. It will lead to other powerful questions that the whole team can engage in. One such question might be “How can we do this with clarity, focus, ease, and grace?” Hmm. Honing the six tools may just be a way to answer that pregnant-with-possibilities question. Once honed…and that’s an ongoing challenge…the vehicle you use en route to your goals will have the dependable wheels to get you there.

Ingrid Martine, MA, PCC, author of The Un-Game and mind-ZENgineering coach works with organizations and individuals to empower them to move their lives from a 7 to 10 at work, home, and play.  For her FREE report, “Reap the Harvest of a Quiet Mind:  Empower Self, Empower Others”, or “Management Training for Business as Unusual”, visit:  http://www.yourleadersedge.com, or connect with Ingrid at:  www.Twitter.com/ingrid_martine and www.facebook.com/coachmartine.