There is an urban myth about a CEO who was asked by his team how they were supposed to pull off an impossible project at work. He replied, “Be awesome.” When a senior member of the team asked what they should do if “being awesome” wasn’t enough, the CEO replied, “Be awesomer!”
While I certainly think that’s excellent advice (and have shared my own thoughts on this in the TEDx talk “Why Aren’t We Awesomer?”), there are three things I’ve learned over the years that certainly help tilt the odds in your favor if you want to be more successful at pretty much anything you do in the world…
1. Don’t be a victim
My high school yearbook quote was adapted from a Japanese proverb:
“The secret of success is to fall down seven times, stand up eight.”
One of the wonderful things about the inside-out understanding – the realization that we are always feeling our thinking, not our circumstances – is that it frees us up from having to blame the outside world for our experience of life, including the experience of “falling down”. This isn’t to say that bad things don’t happen to good people or that no one will ever attempt to lie to, cheat, steal from, or defame you. It’s just that if they do, your experience of that will be 100% created via Thought and experienced in Consciousness.
What that means is that you’re free to respond to the specific challenges of your life from a deeper place inside you, guided by your natural intelligence instead of being led around by the nose by your angry, hopeless thinking. As Syd Banks used to say, “life is a contact sport”, and there are inevitably going to be some bumps and bruises along the way. But there is an essential resilience to our nature that allows us to bounce back from difficult circumstances and respond to life with creativity, passion, and hope.
And it is this innate resilience that precludes the need to become an advocate for my own helplessness and victim-hood. I may well fall or even be knocked down seven times – but unless I get lost in my own story, I will bounce back as good as new and better than ever each and every one of them.
2. Don’t be a jerk
One of the most horrific stories I ever heard from my NLP days was of a noted trainer who was caught cheating on his girlfriend. When his girlfriend burst into tears, he reportedly said “Oh for goodness sake, just do a ‘Change Personal History’ technique and get over it!”
Knowing that on a fundamental level we are all only and always feeling our thinking can at first blush make it seem as though we are completely off the hook for our actions and attitudes towards others. After all, we can’t “make” them feel bad anymore than they can “make” us feel bad. And if they choose to get upset because their thinking is running amok, well that’s not our problem, is it?
Here’s where the difference between theory and practice – that in theory there is no difference between theory and practice and in practice there inevitably is – comes into play. Technically, we don’t have “buttons” that others can push, as it’s our own unrecognized and often uninvited thinking that sets us off. But I know at least five things I could say which will pretty darned reliably set my wife’s thinking off in a less than productive direction and she knows at least five things that will do the same to mine.
Does that make my experience her fault or vice-versa? No. But it does mean that I’ll probably do better in life if I’m sensitive to someone’s habitual thinking and moods. I don’t need to pander to them and I certainly don’t need to allow myself to be manipulated in an effort to avoid “setting them off”. But thought-created or not, a little bit of kindness in life goes a really, really long way.
3. Let people count on you to do what you say you’ll do
My father was a simple man and a wonderful role-model. He loved his work, put in the hours, cared for the people he worked with, and was always home for dinner on time. I innocently adopted these traits in my own life, not from any moral stance but because it just seemed like a kind of obvious approach to take to life.
Imagine my surprise when I ventured out into the “real world” of business and found so many people acting as though the world owed them a living, breaking promises to colleagues and customers with equal aplomb. Who knew that showing up on time and doing what you said would turn out to be a competitive advantage?
If someone can’t count on you to do what you say you’ll do, they’ll inevitably attempt to manipulate and control you to get you to deliver on your promises. They’ll use whatever combination of threats and bribes and appeals to your better nature they think will get them the result they want. And at the first opportunity, they’ll move on and find someone else to work with.
Agreements are the basic building blocks of coordinating action in the world. If I can count on you to do what you say you’ll do, we can build empires together. If I can’t, we’re going to struggle to get together for lunch.
That doesn’t mean you have to be like the coach who once phoned me when I was five minutes late for a session to see if I’d been in a traffic accident. But it does mean that if you want to thrive in your own chosen career (and “being awesomer” doesn’t seem quite specific enough advice for you), taking responsibility for your experience, being sensitive to the foibles of others, and letting people rely on you to get the job done will help you to succeed in pretty much anything you set out to do.
Have fun, learn heaps, and may all your success be fun!
|With all my love,