I had this amazing moment last night working on skills to prepare me for the mission trip Rwanda at the hospital I am helping build. I saw a number of people working on skills and passionately and actively working on them. An interesting moment occurred about 45 mins in — one of the individuals was clearly getting better and the other still not seeing progress.
The reason applies to business, your health, and any hobby you can choose. The questions we can answer with this approach include:
- How can you become better every moment, attempt, and day
- Have you found yourself making the same mistakes and not learning?
- Why do some improve and others do not?
Use this as a tool for yourself, your family, and your team. There is no greater gift you can give yourself than growth and education.
Are you seeing the lessons and mistakes, and improving
When you are doing anything there is a point where we go into automatic. A default you could say — driving, meetings, conversations, training, reading, cooking, etc … This is a mistake that will prohibit your growth and development.
The reason is you are not SEEING what is happening. You are not seeing the good, what can be great, and what wasn’t good at all. It is this vision of the details in our activities (micro level detail) within our day that are opportunities for growth. Beyond that, this is the only way you will achieve your life goals.
Are you arbitrarily training or intentionally?
Our goal is to not simply automatically live our days in and out, but instead to be in the moment and see what we can change. It takes conscious effort to not arbitrarily keep trying and and failing. Instead if we use the time and energy we are devoting to activities and examine how we conducted ourselves we can expect to see different results.
The common quote comes to mind — only a fool repeats the same behavior expecting different results.
You don’t get the results you want, you get the ones that match your daily execution. You have a choice and a chance to get better. Here is a guide:
- When you perform something you wish to get better, visualize what you were doing
- In your mind’s eye, see what you did right and what mistakes you made
- What can you do to change the mistakes — anything, what you did wasn’t enough, so anything you pick has the chance to be better! (especially helpful when you are blazing a path without coaches, mentors, or a guide)
- Apply the fix, and reassess
In the day, I see so many areas where I can apply this habit. I also recognize and have taken note of very high performers, and how they have applied this same methodology to their daily habits. Here are some examples:
- Sleep — how they prep, and the care they put to setting themselves up for success
- Food — good food, meal prepped, and available to suit their day’s performance
- Meetings — their organization, focus on the people, and ensuring time is used effectively
- Driving — Safer, better, more pleasant, and more useful time
- Training — the right level for their point in life and towards their goals
- Cooking — an effort to improving what, how, and why they prepare their food in a certain way. Accumulating an amount of skill that over decades compares to professional chefs
Are you living your life with or without intention?
Your focus on performance is wrecking your success
Watch out — this is a key factor in your success and happiness.
At the broad strokes we are looking achieving our goals and furthering the mindset and beliefs we see as greatest to our children and the next generation. Broad strokes may include running a 5k (or the fastest 5k ever), competing in the olympics in 2020, launching a business that gives you the ability to work with homes and spend more time with your kids, or to climb the highest levels of the corporate ladder. These are your goals and are at the macro level. This is your performance and we can measure these very practically.
Athletes measure the weight in weightlifting to see progress and stagnation. Business leaders watch their profit and loss statements, and parents get feedback from how their kids behave and reflect their beliefs. We have such powerful feedback loops at our performance that I believe sometimes we miss the immense value at the micro level.
Your focus on performance is ruining your ability to achieve your goals
To see true success, adaptation, and growth the secret is at the micro level. Assessing each moment and interaction. Let’s elaborate on two specific examples:
Achieving our best 5k run
Whether you are a runner, an athlete, or simply working on your health because you know that giving yourself 45 mins a day will deliver 10–15 extra years of quality life, there are particular micro details you can focus on to see results. Here are an example of what you would focus on to improve a 5k foot race time:
- How did we take each step;
- How was our breath;
- What was our cadence;
- How was our sleep the night before;
- What have we eaten, and so on and so on.
How to be a great leader
Financial results, growth of the business, and awards are not the mark of a great leader. Though sometimes we allow them to be associated to directly. Instead great leaders build passionate individuals who grow, succeed, and carry on the legacy of not just the company and brand but that of the leader.
When you have a great boss / leader, you know it. They are rare and a blessing. I have this in my life and in part share these in the hopes for others to achieve the same benefits. To become a great leader:
- How are you communicating with your team, is it effective?
- Are you in tune to the changes in their life and adjusting incentives and work accordingly to reflect their individual needs
- Are you making the most of every meeting
- Are you empathetic to the customers
- How are you prioritizing your employees, market, and shareholders with your time, attention, and priorities
- How are you handling negative and poisonous people in your organization
Micro over Macro perspective
Reframe your attention and you will be happier, see progress, and growth. The macro is for how define our goals, set goal lines, and a vision of the future. These make up a daily habit of to allow us to focus on energy towards these directly.
The micro level is where we make those adjustments to achieve first place / financial success / community achievement vs. 3rd place and bankruptcy. It is also from a mindset level the key to seeing both what we did well in a race / business / meeting and pulling the lessons to do better the next time.
How to be better at everything
In the end everything you do creates a lesson and experiences to build upon. I wrote a piece on how our life events accumulate to define the person we are — emotionally, intellectually, and socially. These lessons and the progression within life are dependent upon how we react to these moments.
It is not lessons, ‘oh I failed’, that we are solely seeking. Instead, to be better at everything, we truly are looking at our daily actions and performance. Your efforts here will help make you healthier, and more successful. In addition, the more you develop your empathy and professionalism with your partners and colleagues you’ll also be showing respect for their time and skills. Our self improvement isn’t selfish but instead is the gateway to having an impact on the world, for the better we can perform and achieve our goals the more we can build up others too.