When I was a kid a good long while back, my grandparents gave me those funny dog magnents that repelled each other. Failure and momentum repel one another. You cant get momentum anywhere near failure.
So momentum's not enough. You need to build distance from your failure. And you're gonna fail. You have to. Learning something wrong very often lets you see how it's done right.
But if you're not careful, you'll kill off any momentum you need to succeed. this is the second part of that secret sauce. You gotta do it; you have to fail, you must succeed; you need momentum. A chicken-or-the-egg kind of paradox.
Medical hypnosis can train a patient to undergo surgery without anesthesia. Using your mind; your imagination; to reframe your past, to describe your future and your abilities in a way that allows you to succeed--to see you have succeeded. Time too can help in granting this distance. To shake off the idea you can't change or that change isn't happening already. You can't stop change. Time and distance gives you that.
When you're getting angry, taking a time out and getting away from the offending person or situation is a good idea. The same is true with failure. Being somewhere else--where you have succeeded can give distance to it. Taking a walk, a bike ride, or an evening out is a way to distance yourself from a project where you're spinning your wheels and getting nowhere.
Focus allows you to block out your failure in that same moment. yes, you've failed. But you can't fail and succeed at the same time in the same moment. You must experience them one at a time. One after the other. You may be failing repeatedly, but it's one moment after the other, and success can be in that moment when failure isn't.
It's the "aha!" when it works--when you get that tiny screw back into the brand new Warby Parker frames you just sat on or hook that trout on the twentieth presentation of the dry fly you tied on the stream bank that morning.
Focus drives out the preceding moment allowing you to be in this moment which is new and open to change.
Where are you finding your hand holds when distancing from failure?
I was just writing my newsletter yesterday morning.
(you don't receive it? No problem, sign up for it right here if you're interested) It was about Spring, the birds at my feeders on the deck, and about bacon, brussels sprouts, broccoli, and saracha sauce. Now have I got you interested?
Spring has me thinking about momentum.
That secret sauce that makes being disciplined and executing your plans work. The secret part is how do you get it and how do you keep it. Nike has a finger hold on it, but there's more. When I got up Sunday morning I didn't have a clue what to write in my newsletter. I didn't have a clue all week what to write. But I knew I had to write yesterday morning. So I just did it.
starting small can do it
That's what I did today. I looked round and noticed something. The birds at the feeder. and it went from there. One idea and it's down on paper. another comes, building off of the first one. It starts . . . until you finish.
memories can do it.
Recalling past success; remembering how the process went in the past throws just enough light onto that darkened path to show you the way. Just look at that bacon (or not, apologies to my non-pork/vegetarian readers for this image). A powerful image filled with memories. Are you thinking about adding some to that burger you'll be grilling later.
confidence can do it
Seeing a hefty balance in your checking account could have a nice feel to it, right? Giving you the confidence to try something new; risk something outside your comfort zone. Building up experiences of success are deposits in your confidence account and getting overdrawn keeps you from showing up in your life.
repetition can do it
Superstar violinists and golfers have something in common. They start at three years old. Repeating the drills, the process, or the performance leads to some of the other things on this list and to success.
showing up can do it.
Hiding out is not the way you're going to find success. Without success you can't build momentum. There's endless ways to hide out in your life and with technology greasing the rails, the danger is you never really have to come up for air. Fight it.
How are you getting momentum built up in your life?
While you say to yourself you'd wish you had that problem, you'll eventually reach a point in your career, the position you hold, or the project you lead; When you'll ask the qestion "now what?' So here are a few points to consider when you do ponder that question:
Jesse James' personal life collapsed a few years ago in a messy and public way. He blew up his professional life, went on a quest to Israel, learned blacksmithing, then reopened West Coast Choppers in Austin, Tx. A gift to himself and you.
What do you need to "bow up" in your life?
Check out, The Comfort Trap (or, What if You're Riding a Dead Horse?) for more on when to make a change.
You are not your executive role--that executive mantle you put on.
You're the person--the one who operates the machinery of that role. Why analyze the executive? The entrepreneur? The capitalist? You play out the personal while in that professional role. Trying to keep from losing yourself in that role--from forgetting you are a person separate from that role.
It's important that you analyze this. Psychotherapy, psychoanalysis, coaching; executives that have complex lives--that operate at high levels of effectiveness--have always taken time to analyze the person behind the role.
Why? The organization is a group of persons. Professionals who are persons playing out the personal in their professional roles. Understanding that organizations are a collection of people--people operating within their roles. Individuals that are always playing out the personal in the professional arena. how could they not? They're who they are and that is what's made them successful.
Again, why? Those behavior patterns, life scripts, routines, and groves scored into your personality and neural pathways have made you successful--until they don't. When things change, when you change, when time changes--everything can change and what worked may no longer work. To stay effective and on top of your particular game; you need a few tools.
This is becoming the analyzed capitalist. Being self-reflective. Being reflective about the organization. Analyzing your own motives and behaviors. Being introspective.
You realize you can achieve more.
You take this "you"--your sense of self,
You achieve in your many roles,
behind these roles
will alays be you.
How can self analysis make achieving harder? Easier? When does an executive want another person to help in self reflection? Coaching? Psychotherapy?
Winning is often seen as a solitary effort. About having your fate in your own hands. Our movies are set to the theme of the hero and of the heroic journey. The Summer Olympics that are going on right now are broadcast within this heroic context. Individuals are profiled, their trials and foibles highlighted, and the glory sweeter as they overcome and achieve excellence even as everyone understands it took a team for them to make their mark in history.
In a country like the U.S., being part of a team can be seen as disappearing as an individual to become a unit that operates as a singular entity without individual exceptionalism. This conflict about being an individual and being a team member is played out in sports teams dominated by individuals striving to stand out--and apart from their team.
The series depicted a BUD/s training task which had boat teams lifting up telephone poles and running with them. Something that clearly can only be done as a team. When the instructors spot someone not putting in maximum effort the whole boat team suffers. Yet if instructors spot team members excelling at individual tasks without regard to the team, again, the whole team suffers.
Over and over again the instructors rewarded both individual and team winners. And also punished individual efforts that sacrificed team goals as well as individuals hiding within the team and allowing the team to pickup their slack.
The individual must perform and the boat team must work together. The difficulties endured my many individuals and teams during the BUD/s training revealed these contradictions and gives clues to the cultural conflicts that occur when simultaneously seeking to take advantage of the power of the group as well as the heroics of the individual.
You'll have to start working in groups if you ever hope to accomplish big things. There is no question that each individual member must make their effort count for the team to succeed.
Do the cultural themes like the heroic journey of the entrepreneur or the icon of the cowboy of the American West make it harder of individuals to succeed in a project driven world?
When does the time come for an individual to take over from a struggling team to try and make something happen? Does winning trump learning the value of teamwork?