Are you settling?
Or are you striving to improve?
Are you busting a gut to meet your annual targets? Or maybe you’re ahead of your required run rate so you’re slowing down a little over the hot summer months. Either way, what are you putting into practice with your current behaviour? What are you teaching those who look up to you?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for living in the moment, being present. Recently I’ve been making an extra effort to appreciate every day for what it is.
That doesn’t prevent you from seeking to express your potential. Does it?
It doesn’t prevent you from building on what you’ve accomplished to date.
If you’re not progressing, you’re regressing. Make no mistake about it, there is no such thing as standing still. Your world, your marketplace, your team’s development don’t take a kit-kat break. They carry on.
Every cell in your body is either growing or decaying.
Does that mean you should ‘do’ more? No. Not unless you feel you’ve been procrastinating and stagnating.
Does that mean you should ignore your mind and body’s call to take a rest? No. Absolutely not!
Rest to refuel
You need your energy to be the best that you can be. Resting and refuelling are part of every elite performer’s schedule, no matter what their field of expertise is. You cannot sustain your performance levels without it.
When you default to ‘doing more’, remember to also ask yourself: what are you planning to ‘do’ more of? Why? What will it lead to that is better than what you’re experiencing today? What have you been ‘doing’? Are you going to improve anything? Practising mediocrity is going to breed more mediocrity.
To progress, you need to start “being” the improved version of yourself. Start thinking as if you’re already your improved self. Get a sense of how you’ll feel. In “being” that new you, you’ll automatically start to do the things that are required of you.
So how do you find out more about yourself, so you can become the better you?
Ignore 10,000 hours of practice
Have you heard of the idea that 10,000 hours of “practice” in your field will enable you to become an expert (as popularised by Malcolm Gladwell)? Nonsense.
That may have been true years ago. And it might still be true in certain sports if the practice is very deliberate (as explored by Matthew Syed in his impressive book Bounce). How so?
Well, the world used to be more linear than it is today. You could practice something if the parameters remained constant. Kind of like sport, which has rules that generally remain quite constant.
But your business life isn’t like that. Is it? Your marketplace, your organisation, your infrastructure, your technology, your regulatory environment and the psychological makeup of your team are constantly changing. Aren’t they?
And at a faster pace than ever before. So if you’re not pausing to reflect on your way of working and the direction you’re headed – how can you measure if you’re progressing or not?
Try 10,000 hours of experimentation
So don’t practice anything. Experiment. Try 10,000 hours of experimentation.
Don’t seek to be right. Be curious. Let your team see your curiosity in them. Let them see you applying it to your own performance.
For example, do you want to improve your ability to stay focused on a particular task? Then every time you feel the urge to pick up your phone, pause and see it as a challenge. Every time you’re compelled to check your inbox, stop. Or if you find yourself picking up the phone and checking the emails before you are aware of it, create phone/email free times where you turn both off.
These moments become the opportunities to learn how to maintain focus on the task at hand. They become the experiment instead of being your weakness.
If you do enough experiments, whilst tracking and reviewing the results, you’ll see an enormous upswing in your performance. You’ll give yourself the proof and the evidence that every scientist craves!
You’ll improve the quality of each subsequent experiment because you’ll apply the learning from your previous ones. Those lessons make your success curve exponential rather than linear.
The performance improvement process I have just described can be simplified as a cyclical one of Act – Review – Plan – Act – Review and so on. It is exactly what developing a coaching style to your leadership culture fosters – exponential leadership for your business. It’s self-perpetuating.
This is the type of content I write about in my regular emails. To read more about what you can do today to improve your own performance and lead your millennial talent more effectively, click here to sign up. You’ll also get a free report called “Here Today, Gone Tomorrow”, which sheds further light on the topic.