Self-Awareness Can Be One of the Secrets to Success
In talking to a business acquaintance the other day I was reminded of his strong opinions. He is one of those people who puts up verbal roadblocks to any idea or suggestion that is not in alignment with his opinion of ‘how things should be’. He is thereby missing new information or innovative ideas to consider because his mind is closed.
Have you ever been accused of only hearing what you want to hear or seeing what you want to see?
Try this exercise. Ask a friend to look around and make note of everything that is green. Next, have him close his eyes. Once his eyes are closed, ask him to tell you what around him is red.
Almost everyone you ask will not be able to tell you what was red because they were focusing on what was green. Our perceptions work the same way.
If we have expectations or biases, we tend to see what we want to see. Likewise, if people try to tell us something we do not want to hear, we simply do not hear them.
With the increasing rate of change in the business environment, this is not a good time to be close-minded. In the past, many businesses succeeded by maintaining the status quo, but in today’s marketplace, it is necessary to expand this narrow focus.
One way to do that is to be aware of our own prejudices and expectations.
Loyalty. The word congers up something good… like a loyal friend, loyal employee, and of course, loyal pet.
Cognitively we know that the definition doesn’t change (‘the state or quality of being loyal; faithfulness to commitments or obligations; faithful adherence to a sovereign, government, leader, cause, etc.’) but our perception of how it’s applied may make loyalty good one minute and not so good another.
For example: being ‘loyal to a cause’; if you’re loyal to MY cause, it’s a good thing, but if you’re loyal to the other side, well…I may think you’re either nuts or your loyalties are misplaced.
What about ‘blind’ loyalty? I’m embarrassed to say that on more than one occasion I have adopted the viewpoint of a friend rather than think and research the information to develop my own opinion. I think this is a kind of blind loyalty.
Too, I remember while growing up I did some things that my older sister talked me into doing that could have really hurt us both. We now look back on and say, “What were we thinking?” Has blind loyalty ever affected your thoughts or actions?
More gray areas exist when it comes to loyalty in politics. Thomas Jefferson wrote: “I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend.” Thought provoking words as local and national politics and philosophies often create divisions in our community.
From a business perspective, do you think the following statements true or false?
- As a paid employee, my employer deserves my loyalty.
- As a competitive business owner, my employees deserve my loyalty.
It would be helpful for each of us to determine how we think about loyalty at work well ahead of the time when we find ourselves in a situation that requires immediate action and where loyalty is in play.
I wish you a safe and happy summer!!!
During the holidays, when time is at a premium, I especially appreciate these brief business tips from Paul Hellman. This month’s tip: “The easiest way to change your boss—or anyone else.” Take a minute and take a look. It might change your view… even just a little.
CNBC runs these tips regularly on their website:
To subscribe to these fast tips (no cost, no spam):
Happy Holidays, everyone!!!
The application to vote by mail must be received by the Elections Official (Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk no later than October 30, 2012. Go to the LA County website to download an application: http://rrcc.lacounty.gov/Voter/PDFS/VBM_BALLOT_791.pdf
I came across this article written by Paul Hellman, founder of Express Potential. Among other accomplishments, he is a business consultant and executive coach, helping businesses improve performance and productivity, which is why his message caught my eye. It’s called “The 7 Laws of Attention”; it’s well-written and on target! Laws # 3 and 5 especially resonated with me. Please read the article and see if you agree with Paul’s message.
1) It’s easy to get distracted.
When Jimmy Carter was President, he was criticized for micro-managing requests to use the White House tennis courts.
You can see how tempting that might be—easier than negotiating with Congress, or dealing with tough foreign situations.
The challenge is to focus. What are you paying attention to? What should you be paying attention to?
In the last hour, my avoidance behavior has included checking email, scheduling a haircut, and eating almonds.
I don’t even like almonds.
2) Your attention shapes you—and others.
“When a pickpocket walks down a street,” says a proverb, “all he sees are the pockets.” The boundaries of your life are determined by your attention. Sometimes we obsess about small things; we get small.
And if you’re a leader, others pay attention to you. What you say, and what you do define what’s important.
What do you say is important?
3) Assume non-attention.
Attention spans are shrinking. There’s too much information, too much noise. So just because you said something, doesn’t mean anyone heard it. Imagine, the next time you talk that, instead of info, you’re delivering a truckload of furniture. Here’s the problem: the other person’s house is already fully furnished. Where are they going to put all your stuff?
They don’t even hear you ring the doorbell. They’re out back, in the swimming pool, drowning in information.
4) Attention is a scarce resource; people kill for it.
We forget the value of paying attention to others. Managers, when coaching employees, often think they have to provide advice and make suggestions—and sometimes that’s useful.
But there’s power to just listening. Listen well, and others will say you have “presence.”
Are you present?
5) It’s not enough to pay attention.
You’ve also got to look like you’re paying attention. “I was surprised,” a manager told me recently, “to discover how negatively people viewed my texting during meetings.”
Maybe you can multi-task, maybe you can’t (neuroscientists say you can’t), but either way, the optics are bad.
6) Attention can be practiced, and developed. Could make you happier.
“A human mind is a wandering mind, and a wandering mind is an unhappy mind,” say Harvard psychologists Matthew Killingsworth and Daniel Gilbert.
Their research (http://www.trackyour happiness.org) suggests that focusing on what you’re doing, even if it’s just washing the dishes, correlates with happiness; mind wandering, not so much.
7) Your attention needs to be refreshed. Often.
Take frequent breaks—shift your attention to here-and-now sensory experience. Stand up and stretch, go for a walk, listen to music.
YES, we are so excited to be (already) working on B2B~2013!
Now is the time to mark your business calendars and add placeholders in your budgets for sponsorship dollars!
If last years’ hugely successful B2B is any indicator, more businesses will be vying for exposure at the Valley’s premier business event, so please consider this reminder to:
- Save the date – March 19, 2013
- Earmark – Sponsorship funds in your budget
B2B 2013 will be held at the Hyatt Regency Valencia. Many of the details are still being planned so watch the VIA website and our media sponsors for information as it unfolds.
Like a lot of business people, I get my fair share of junk email. Every once in a while, something will catch my eye and I’ll take a look, wondering, “How in the heck did I get on this mailing list?” This time, the looking paid off.
From “simpletruths.com”, motivational and inspirational gifts, I got a glimpse of something I found useful and wanted to share. It also reminded me of an earlier post by Scott Capistrano. This is from a book entitled, “The Nature of Success”.
“The root for ‘motivation’ is ‘move’, and movement is change. Ask yourself right now… Am I moving forward or am I standing still?
Do I have a career that I love? …Do I have a healthy lifestyle? Is my energy level, my attitude, where it should be? … Is there an activity I’ve wanted to pursue?
Truthful answers to these and other questions will tell you whether you want, or need to change.
A cautionary inner voice will tell you not to rock the boat, to stay on the path of least resistance, but your heart is telling you otherwise.
Listen to your heart. Filter out the old static and tune in something new. Challenge your assumptions, identify and study people already doing what you want to do.
Read books and listen to tapes that will motivate you to break away from the notorious “comfort zone”.
Confront your fears. When one is unsatisfying day just blurs into the next – your life is begging for a change.
Change can truly be a wonderful gift. It can recharge your emotional battery and nourish your soul. Just do it! Choose change and let it make a positive difference in your life.”
— Mac Anderson
Maybe this particular message appeals to me because like some of my business colleagues, I am making changes AND want to know we have some company!