I confess, I am intrigued by the concept of "paradigm." Over and over, I find that "the world" is not as I see it. I think I understand, and then I discover that I am blindly ignorant. (Actually, I'm not blind---just a little too near-sighted! I do, however, find that I'm "off" a little bit from what I had thought was "the truth.")
How do any of us ever know---and articulate to someone else---"the truth"? As I was in the process of finishing this article, "Tapping the Insight of a Wise Mentor," I experienced a minor argument (see the final paragraph). I decided to follow my own advice. I looked at the situation from a truly long-term perspective, and chose to do something very different from what my feelings led me to pursue.
My 99-year-old buddy suggested I do something that was not at all consistent with my feelings of the moment---and it turned out quite well. (In the process, I discovered a totally different way of looking at the issue than I had previously seen!)
Oh, if I can only remember to commit to and execute behaviors that are initiated from the perspective of my 99-year-old buddy!
Have you been watching the Olympics on television? I've been inspired! Oh, not from an athletic standpoint (though I have been doing more running and situps in the past two weeks!).
I've never been more than a weekend athlete. When I was a little kid, however, being an Olympic athlete was one of many unrealistic dreams. My genetics allowed me to only play second string baseball for three years in high school.
These Olympic athletes work hard, and they care. I relate to that! I can feel the disappointment of those who have trained for years--and something unexpected happens that dashes their hopes. And I get choked up when I see someone stretch themselves just a bit beyond what they've never before been able to achieve.
The athletes work to keep their emotions in check. When things go well, they're a little more open. But when they're struggling, we're not allowed to see what's happening inside.
It's the same for you and me. We love to celebrate our victories, but oh, what anguish when our plans don't proceed as expected! Take a look at this week's article, "Feelings are Fickle and Provide Poor Guidance."
Last week, I provided fifteen potential motives for improving. Is it significant that this week I identified more reasons (nineteen) for NOT seeking improvement?
As I've worked the past two weeks on my columns, I've realized in a fresh way just how much our feelings influence what we are willing to do. As you evaluate for yourself why you are driven to improve (or you avoid improvement), consider the role "feelings" has in your choice. I'd welcome your comments on this, as next week the impact of negative feelings will be the topic for my article.
For you, my prayer is that your desire to improve is in the foreground of your mind and life. If there are any impediments to improvement in your life and organization (see "What Keeps You (and Your Organization) from Improving"), they are lost in the background.
After thirty years of helping leaders and their organizations improve, and after six years of writing weekly leadership articles, I'm surprised I've not addressed this topic before now.
What drives a leader to improve? That's kind of an obvious question, with a lot of potential answers! Frankly, I'm a bit embarrassed that I've not catalogued the possibilities before now--it's such an obvious gift to present to a leader! ("Here, choose from among these the one or two that seem to most naturally fit, and we can work to make that incentive more robust than you ever thought possible!")
What drives YOU to improve? (Click here for the article.) Is the answer immediately obvious to you? I hope it is, but it may not be. Many of us just do things we think should be done. And we get comfortable with whatever works. Comfort tends to diminish anyone's desire to improve.
Being intentional is a powerful perseverance tool! I encourage you to intentionally explore what motivates your desire to improve, personally and organizationally.