Stop doing, please…

Here’s the best advice I can give anyone in the business of coaching another human being. If you want to become a virtuous builder of another, this is what you’ve got to master. Of course, you gotta help your target gain clarity within (CORE), clarity of their aim (OPUS), and conviction/discipline to productively act (PA) in the process of becoming whole. Your role in this is to awaken and challenge your target to become who they are. You’re not giving them anything in particular, you are simply helping them see (sometimes for the first time) who they already are, gain clarity of their God given strengths, and discover how to put them to good use in work/life.

This will take awhile.

Once your target has gained their clarity, your job as their virtuous builder is about to get busy. You think your big job is giving them more coaching around creatively growing stronger within and moving toward their aim – it is NOT. Your biggest job as a builder of another is what you stop them from doing. Your job as a builder is more about what you don’t allow your target to do than about what you encourage them to do. Once your client has clarity, your job is to keep them from endlessly adding. Your job, as a builder, is to help put your client in the position of loving mistakes. Yes, you want to build strong people who can afford to learn from mistakes. You do not learn from the mistake that kills you, do you…

In other words, builder, your job is keep your clients from killing themselves with too much of a good thing. When we study strong men and women, what kills them is their success. Whether due to pride or naivety, the uberman begins to believe they can do no wrong. Your unpopular job as their builder is to think of what can go horribly wrong – what can kill them. And, get them to listen. This is not easy.

Tons of coaches can help you get better through addition. Only the few are gonna help you learn through subtraction. For example, almost any medical doc can help your health (at least in the short term) by adding prescription medicines and surgeries to your system. Very few medical doc’s can help your health through subtraction – removing medication, or other unnatural stressors like sugar, trans fats, frozen dinners, sleeping pills, chronic cardio (not good), sitting (the new smoking according to some doc’s), and a host of other “hit delete” items. The best coaches help their clients avoid the position of hating mistakes. The best coaches keep their clients from the kinda debt that kills them quickly when a downturn suddenly appears. The best coaches don’t get a lot of notoriety for catchy slogans and wonderful new marketing ideas – nearly anybody can help you do more. The best coaches stop their clients from killing themselves – especially the strong ones.

So, if you think you want to become a builder of another, you had better get busy learning how to talk people out of “no brainer” kinda opportunities. Your job is to build systems that love mistakes, instead of ones that hates them. You’re gonna have to help them STOP doing before the hard stop hits. Only the few develop this skill. 2008, 2001, 1989, 1979, 1929. Great progress, history tells us, comes when great downturns hit and some, well prepared system is in the position to love it. Are you ready for the next turn down?

Good…

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Crush it vs. crash it…

Today, during practice 184, I challenged a team to take back control of their time. I challenged them to live their values inside the company walls before attempting to live them outside. Of course the real challenge is to author your own, personal values since we know humans value what they internalize, right?

We all want to stand in our moments of truth, I reminded them through a good visual of Johnny walking the line, but only a few of us recognize our moments, are prepared for them, and appropriately walk into them with clarity, conviction, and grace. If you want to redeem your day, remember not all moments are created equally. Some moments are hinge moments. Mastery of these hinge moments of truth are the difference between being busy vs. being impactful. Life and work quality are not measured by how many hours we check the boxes but, instead, by how many moments we crush it – really crush it.

Yesterday, during practice 7, a team came together and crushed it. The 90 minutes was magic because they put in the work prior to practice and came ready to crush or be crushed. Your job, leader, is to crush your moments of truth. Sully did just that when he pulled off his mastery on the Hudson back in 2009. All the other USAir pilots crashed it when they were asked to do likewise in a simulator. Here’s the moment of truth that led to crushing it vs. crashing it. Sully grabbed the controls and exclaimed, “my aircraft,” in an instant following the bird strike. His moment of truth came when he wasn’t in control. He grabbed it immediately. He crushed it. When the other USAir pilots were put to the same test via the simulator, they had a “oh s@#t moment” when the unthinkable, bird strike hit ’em. They did not grab control in an instant and the few seconds that lapsed before they gathered themselves was the difference – they missed their moment.

Crush is vs. crash it. Your best bet to crushing your moments of truth is to come into them a bit more prepared, leader. Moments of truth are hinge moments. They matter more than most. I want you to become more aware and feel more in control of your work. The more you notice moments of truth and stand in them, the more you master the mundane. Funny and true. This mastery of moments will give you more confidence. Confidence, rooted in competence, will lead to more conviction that you “got this.” Eventually, this will light you up. Eventually, you will crush it. Good…

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Practice leaders…

Yesterday, during practice 7, a few teammates allowed me to build them in front of their peers. I asked for permission, in my kinda direct manner, and then hit them with some truth in love. I didn’t hit them in a hurtful kinda way but in a caring, helpful way. You could tell they felt helped by the way they reacted. You see, this team, including these teammates did a lot of laughing yesterday during our 90 minute practice. They did a lot of laughing as they learned. Our practice was not some comfy “lunch and learn” kinda affair, don’t get me wrong – this team worked and whistled while doing so. Good.

Turtle is gonna open his mouth a little bit more while he’s thinking. He tends to internalize and hold his thoughts in. His teammates could benefit from his processing but they don’t ask. You see, they’ve been taught you don’t ask the introvert to come out.

I did. I do. I’ve come to learn they’ve got a lot mo once you get ’em going.

Timmyd learned he’s gonna be better by closing his mouth a bit more while he’s processing. He takes “wearing it on his sleeve” to an extreme. There is a time and place for sharing and, believe it or not, a time to go a bit more turtle. He’s gonna learn to lean against his tendency to tell all. Funny, how complimentary this couple.

And, Ms. Wallcomingdown is gonna speak her highway with a bit more “shoot.” Ms. Wallcomingdown tends to bite her tongue out of some misplaced fear and her teammates want to hear more from her in these moments of truth that happen everyday in millions of ways. This team in the middle, yesterday, learned that it’s not their place to seek consensus just ’cause they happen to be positioned as a service arm. Their place is, well, their place. Their place is to perform and lead. Their place, as leaders, is to sometimes play Curious George and sometimes play “my way IS the highway.” You see, this team is a team of leaders – Practice Leaders. Yesterday, they were vulnerable with each other and with me. Yesterday, they inspired me with their willingness to trust each other. Yesterday this team of leaders practiced changing some limiting behaviors even though they are winning with what they’ve got. You see, this team isn’t satisfied with simply winning, so, they are practicing with the aim toward an ever improving performance. Good.

Well done, practice leaders. Actually, well done Leaders…

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False harmony…

Today, during practice 20, a team came together to speak and listen to truth. This is always good and rarely easy. A year and a half ago there would have been a lot of words used and very little really said. Today, there were still too many words spoken. Teammates danced instead of dealing directly, if you will. But it was markedly better than it’s been –  we are making progress. Good.

False harmony is so popular on most normal teams because real harmony requires real dissonance, first. Funny, to come together as ONE we’ve got to learn to fight like brothers/sisters or even brothers and sisters. False harmony is the norm in most families, among most friends, and between most teammates. You gotta care enough to be teed up by a brother and to tee up as well. And, you gotta remember to give grace and understanding prior to pushing from belief. Your problem, most likely, is you’ve been dancing too long and mistaken harmony for unity.

Unity is hard earned among elite teammates. You don’t have to like each other. You must have respect. And, don’t forget, exclusive clubs are only elite if they exclude those that are not. False harmony is easier. You are most likely better off shooting for something that feels good even if it’s false. Real unity is real, hard, work. What kinda team you building, friend? What is holding you back from becoming ONE, distinct, deeply connected, and BTL.? Tell me more, friend. Actually, tell each other more – more truth. Good…

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The choice in Choice Recovery…

“I wanted to thank you for guiding me through the BTL process. Being through BTL has helped me succeed mentally, physically, and in my work performance. I have taken an offer working in a different field, and am so sad to leave FFCC. However, I know it is what’s best for my family, and myself. I’ve got to jump out that window, out of my safe haven, and pray to God I don’t fall on my face.

These are the big points I am taking away from BTL

– I am a dreamer.

– I was sleep walking, and am now awake.

– My life is 1/3 over; I need to buckle down, do some hard work NOW so that i can reach my goals.

– I want, more than anything else, to provide my children with a safe home, exceptional education, and most importantly, a good example.

I hope to see you in the future. Again, Thank you for your guidance.

Good luck and God bless you, Chet.”

Cali wrote me this note 3.5 years ago. She was certain she was running to greener pastures with the XYZ company. She had made her choice and was convinced the time was right to jump, so she did. Don’t miss this next learning from her. You see, it didn’t take Cali very long to realize the grass was not greener on the other side. Quickly she realized her mistake. Here’s the magic. She swallowed her pride.

Cali decided to humble herself and call her former boss and ask for her job back. Few course correct so quickly and humbly. In my work with BTL this is one of those moments of clarity that few have the guts to step into. The reason Cali came back better, instead of bitter, was her strong CORE was built with belief – the belief that it’s not all about her. Instead of being stuck in her head and making it all about her, she admitted her mistake and didn’t compound it with another one. She had the guts to go back. Sometimes this choice is the hardest of all. Our culture and our natural mind tells us forward is the only way, the reality is so often the best way round is retracing our steps and going back. So, Cali came back. Today, Cali is one of the Choice Recovery leaders who isn’t looking back. She and her team of consultants are going forward with rapidity and setting records beyond Durps dreams. Sometimes it pays to take a step back…

Are you humble enough, friend, to admit the mistake you just made? Where is pride stopping you from making the choice to go back and repair? Thanks, Cali, for coming back. Who knew that your choice would be one of the catalysts to Choice Recovery? Who knew…

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Get out of your own head…

Recently I spoke with a friend of mine who is really struggling. I had reached out to tell him I’ve been in his exact struggle and would love to offer a perspective, calm his nerves, and let him know it’s gonna be alright, since I’ve been through it. My intent was good. The talk really never transpired, however. My friend simply told me his struggle over and over again. I listened and patiently waited for him to ask me about my similar struggle. Crickets. My friend kept speaking of his trouble. I kept listening and didn’t really ask many questions – my friend kept speaking without much in the way of prompting. He had a lot to get out of his head, I guess. I continued to listen and waited for him get it all out so he could begin to get curious and gather a wider perspective. He kept speaking.

You see, my friend is all caught up in his head. When you think what you’re dealing with has never been dealt, you get stuck in your head. When you think live is easy and something hard hits, you get stuck in your head. When you develop the habit of running from your acute stuff, you get stuck when it finally finds you.

Life is hard, friend. Get out of your own head. Stop the incessant “woe is me” self chatter. You have friends who want to help you. You gotta let them in, however. There’s no room when your ego’s been allowed to grow uncontrollably for years. Thanks, Ryan, for your book Ego is the Enemy, and especially for your chapter on getting out of your own head. Good one. Good…

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The Builder’s Journey to “Conscious Competence”…

…is the DREAM STATE for whatever your OPUS is, i.e. your labor of love.  There are two continuums on this journey, and they are dynamic, not static.

The first is your level of competence.  There are levels of being competent and not competent.   When you’re around a mentor who has put in 20,000 hours of lifetime mastery, and you’re at 10,000 hours, you recognize what getting to the next level looks like.    And with a strong core, it’s energizing to you.    But for someone at 0 hours, all levels 10,000 and above may seem indistinguishable in the same way the peaks of the Rockies look mostly alike when they first appear on the horizon driving west from Kansas (feeling the love, Toto?).

The second continuum is your level of consciousness (i.e. awareness) about your level of competence.   There are many areas of life in which we are oblivious about our level of non-competence.   We don’t become conscious about our obliviousness until our eyes are opened by observing someone else.

Masters in the art of living build competence in the areas of life they love, and embrace becoming more conscious of their current level of mastery with all its nuances — as well as the next level which awaits them.

They embrace this cognitive dissonance with the curiousity of a 3-year old, always seeking to learn not just the how & what but the why & the why not.   Like Leonardo D’Avinci, they value not just what they know but even more, what they still have yet to learn.   This is why masters love training with and shadowing other masters.   In his book, Peak, it’s what Ericsson calls ‘deliberate practice.’

Here’s a go-to drill.

Take a minute and write about a specific competence you want to further master and why.  Next to it, put the name of someone you know in whom you’ve observed it.   Get a few minutes on their calendar, and then practice 7 good minutes of questions to have them walk you through not only what you’ve observed but the thinking and the mindset behind it.   Chances are, this will not be obvious to themselves at first, because we’re not conscious of our own competence until we have to think about how to explain it.   I observed this with the head of a system in Practice #58 last week, when a young apprentice financial advisor had the courage to ask his leader how he answers client questions so simply without unloading a dump truck of industry knowledge.    The leader had to stop and think and it wasn’t until the third or fourth explanation before clarity arrived.   When I asked the team who learned the most in practice today, some said the young apprentice, but then the leader’s partner jumped in with a smile and said “no, I think our leader did.”

With a strong core, you will rinse + repeat this growth cycle over and over, and it’s why elite leaders embrace BUILT TO LEAD practice for themselves and their teams.

Together We Improve.

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