September 19, 2017

Channel your angst over setbacks into the will to overcome them

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I’m about 25% through these aha’s (this one is 33 if you are counting) and while I’m really excited everyday to make progress, it’s been tough.

If you recall, I stated in the first aha Starting is the scariest part, that I would write 1,000 words a day until I finished all these aha’s. At that pace, that’s about 3 aha’s a day or 46 days. I’m now on day 11.

Life Gets in the Way

Frankly, I have a lot of angst about my 1,000 word a day goal. Not that I don’t think I can do it. I really want to. That’s not it at all.

The angst comes from all the other commitments I have in my life — from work, to volunteering, to having a social life. Throw all that in with a much needed (and welcomed) vacation and I start to feel the setbacks mounting.

21 Days to a New Habit

There is a long held mantra (well, at least a Google answers mantra, backed up by some research) that it takes 21 days to form a habit. This realization came about by Dr. Maxwell Maltz who observed that amputees took about 21-28 days to get used to their new limbs.

This 21 Day Habit Theory stuck and now is popular within all sorts of self help circles.

For me, I think once I get in the rhythm, the angst will subside — I just hope it’s sooner than 21 days!

Habits Are Non-Linear and Plateau

The 21 Day Habit Theory is somewhat simplistic in that it observed amputees who had to deal with their loss of limb 24/7.

New research suggests that we reach a plateau in forming a habit at about 66 days. This, of course, is highly dependent on the activity.

This is far from the so called 10,000 hours it takes to become an expert but hey, you got to start somewhere.

Ways to Take Action

  1. Form a positive habit: Setbacks can be a little less scary if you develop positive habits to overcome them.

  2. Don’t over think: Sometimes we get angst about events that have yet to happen. Just relax and do it.

  3. Adjust when you have too: Too often, we hit a setback and wham, stop. Learn to adjust your approach when conditions warrant and that will help get over setbacks.

  4. Be in the moment: Akin to over thinking, being in the moment allows us to deal with the here and now and not worry about the next setback or barrier.

 


 

This aha is from my book, #ENDURANCE tweet Book 01— A Little Nudge to Keep You Going. The book is chalked full of mantras, sayings, words of wisdom and encouragements to help you get past your challenges so you can achieve your goals. If you found this aha inspiring or helpful, then I would appreciate your support by sharing it with a friend and/or purchasing a copy of the book. If you missed any past amplified posts, check out the #ENDURANCE tweet Amplified! page. Want to get my latest on enduring? Then sign up for my FREE newsletter. Thanks for reading and keep enduring!

Pushing on a barrier should deepen our resolve to move past it

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Barriers are really things we fear.

If we are courageous enough to attempt to break through a barrier, then it’s an important barrier to overcome.

Barriers are our inner critics way of creating points of pause. These pause points are a way to test our mental and physical resolve to face adversity.

To some, barriers are annoying and frustrating. To those who change their attitude about barriers, these points of pause can turn into points of development and growth

Barriers Makes Us Stronger

That which does not kill us makes us stronger — Friedrich Nietzsche

Nietzsche’s quote applies to all the barriers we face if and only if we become engaged enough to resolve to move past them.

It may seem a bit extreme, talking about being killed and all, but the metaphor is apt because we don’t have to physically die in order to kill our spirit.

Getting Into the Fight

Engagement with the barriers and struggles we face is the only way to keep our spirit from getting killed. Barriers keep us in the fight because they define who we are and what we are about. If we let them stall us or stop us, we can lose ourselves — which slowly kills who we are.

Everyday, we need to be fighting to push through our barriers so we can keep who we are intact. Without this fight to get better, we lose ourselves.

Ways to Take Action

  1. Acknowledge the barrier: Recognizing the barriers in front of us goes a long way to pushing them our of our way.

  2. Take action: The best approach is to take action. Action will make progress even if it proves to be backward progress. At least you’ll know that approach won’t work.

  3. Gather support: Once you take action, you may need support from others to overcome the barrier. Gather support whenever and whereever you can.

  4. Push hard: Barriers can only be removed if we push on them with determination and vigor. If it’s a big barrier, we may need to push harder than we have ever pushed before.


This aha is from my book, #ENDURANCE tweet Book 01— A Little Nudge to Keep You Going. The book is chalked full of mantras, sayings, words of wisdom and encouragements to help you get past your challenges so you can achieve your goals. If you found this aha inspiring or helpful, then I would appreciate your support by sharing it with a friend and/or purchasing a copy of the book. If you missed any past amplified posts, check out the #ENDURANCE tweet Amplified! page. Want to get my latest on enduring? Then sign up for my FREE newsletter. Thanks for reading and keep enduring!

Incremental improvement is better than fleeting leaps

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I’m a big believer in making slow and steady process. I know, sounds kinda boring but what I have found is that the incremental solutions (e.g. those that have been methodically conceived and executed) stick. The fleeting leaps where you make huge leaps usually fade away.

The Breaking Records Mentality

Don’t get me wrong. It’s really exciting when you make a major breakthrough or crush an existing record. Those are notable achievements.

The problem with setting your sites on one offs and record runs means that you are pushing the edge pretty hard. That usually leads to highly variable results — something that most companies can’t ship. This variability is what I mean when I say fleeting leaps — achieved once but not reproducible.

By focusing on the incremental, you can get the big leaps but in a sustainable, repeatable way.

Home Runs are Great But

Sure, getting the single or double is not as sexy as the home run but you need to realize that what wins at both Baseball and innovation is the consistent player.

Just ask Billie Beane of [Money Ball] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moneyball) Fame.

Billie used data to compile a team that defied conventual wisdom.

Instead of using the normal stats, like stolen bases, runs batted in, and batting average, he focused on what the data told him. Namely that on-base percentage and slugging percentage are better indicators of offensive success. This fundamentally change the way Billie fielded his team and is a good example of the incremental approach instead of relying on all those home runs!

Ways to Take Action

  1. Be Data Driven: Data hardly ever lies but people’s interpretation of data can and will be skewed. Look at the data in front of you and make informed decisions.

  2. Reward the little things: If you want to instill an incremental approach, then you need to reward it. It’s fine to also reward the huge leaps but don’t leave out the small steps that got you the big leap.

  3. Consistency is king: Consistency rather than huge jumps should be what you strive for. I know, boring, but way more effective than the shotgun approach that most people take to innovation.

  4. Don’t lose site of the goal: Fleeting leaps sometimes get people excited about jumping even farther. Resist the urge to jump farther than you can consistently reproduce.


This aha is from my book, #ENDURANCE tweet Book 01— A Little Nudge to Keep You Going. The book is chalked full of mantras, sayings, words of wisdom and encouragements to help you get past your challenges so you can achieve your goals. If you found this aha inspiring or helpful, then I would appreciate your support by sharing it with a friend and/or purchasing a copy of the book. If you missed any past amplified posts, check out the #ENDURANCE tweet Amplified! page. Want to get my latest on enduring? Then sign up for my FREE newsletter. Thanks for reading and keep enduring!

Those Who Try to Tear us Down will Only Strengthen our Resolve to Endure

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We touched a little bit about negativity in Our Negative Perceptions About Ourselves Create our Biggest Barriers. Now, we’ll deal with how the negativity of others can get in our way and why it should strengthen our resolve to endure past the barriers we face.

That Will Never Work

Bessemer Venture Partners (BVP) is one of the oldest Venture Capitalist (VC) firms in the country (Full disclosure: I actually pitched a company to them. They said no ):).

What I like about BVP is that they are straight-forward-tell-it-like-it-is and keep track of an anti-portfolio of all the companies they passed on.

The list is pretty impressive!

Apple, Google, eBay and FedEx are among the companies that the smart guys at BVP rejected. Just think if Steve, Sergey or Larry listened to BVP and stopped trying.

BVP’s anti-portfolio makes the point perfectly — even smart, in the know people, can get it wrong.

If we want to be successful then sometimes we have to take the criticisms, rejections, setbacks and disappoints and use them to fuel our endurance to prove people wrong. We maybe the only person who believes in what we are doing and sometimes that’s all we get.

Ways to Take Action

  1. Learn from criticism: Every bit of feedback can be constructive — even criticism. Learn from criticism but don’t let criticism get in your way.

  2. Believe deeply: Belief is a powerful thing. If we deeply believe in what we are doing, then it will be easy to endure through rejections and setbacks.

  3. Constantly find new ways: Just because we get a concept or idea does not mean that others will. Seek out new ways to explain or model your idea or endeavor. Sometimes concepts get lost in translation.

  4. Don’t take it personal: No matter what people say, it’s never personal even when it might feel that way. We are the only ones that can make it personal. Learn to take the feedback with grace and move on.


This aha is from my book, #ENDURANCE tweet Book 01— A Little Nudge to Keep You Going. The book is chalked full of mantras, sayings, words of wisdom and encouragements to help you get past your challenges so you can achieve your goals. If you found this aha inspiring or helpful, then I would appreciate your support by sharing it with a friend and/or purchasing a copy of the book. If you missed any past amplified posts, check out the #ENDURANCE tweet Amplified! page. Want to get my latest on enduring? Then sign up for my FREE newsletter. Thanks for reading and keep enduring!

We Set Our Own Pace when Overcoming Barriers. Forward Progress is all that Matters

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It seems to me that there is a lot of pressure to make things happen quickly. Our fast paced world wants every problem, project or priority to be number 1. It can be down right maddening to feel all that anxiety to get everything done right away when you hit a barrier.

The Power of Perspective

This “get it done yesterday” mentality can be healthily if it instill a sense of urgency and not panic. It’s great to feel the urgency of solving problems or getting a project done. The problem occurs when that urgency turns into panic. Once panic sets in, all bets are off.

Having perspective about a barrier is of paramount important because not all barriers are created equal. Some questions to ask yourself when confronted with a barrier include:

  • How important is it to solve right away? Sometimes delaying resolving barriers will resolve themselves especially if it’s a dynamic environment where the barrier might be down one of many avenues to explore.

  • Is there a way around it? It’s better to bypass a barrier if possible because it takes less energy. Always look for alternatives.

  • What happens if you don’t remove the barrier? Some barriers are not that important or can be mitigated. Explore what would happen if the barrier was present and not dealt with.

  • Can the barrier be ignored for now? Akin to the first question but with a little more emphasis that the barrier will probably not go away. If this is the case, can you delay action until you either have the resources or energy to deal with it.

Answering these questions can reduce the level of panic while still maintaing urgency. Many a project, team and individual has cratered themselves because the urge to break through a barrier caused so much panic that they lost perspective on both priorities and how important the barrier really was.

Ways to Take Action

  1. Urgency not panic: Always have a sense of urgency but never panic. Panic will just make the situation worst.

  2. Set the tone: Don’t assume every barrier has to be dealt with right away. If it’s your barrier, then you need to set the tone to overcome it.

  3. Understand expectations: Sometimes the expectations are progress needs to be made quickly while other times, no one really cares. Make sure you understand what is expected — it will help a lot in setting proprieties.

  4. Communicate status: Even if progress is slow, make sure that whomever needs to know about progress, knows. Most of the time, that’s all that takes to quell the anxiety about overcoming the barrier.


This aha is from my book, #ENDURANCE tweet Book 01— A Little Nudge to Keep You Going. The book is chalked full of mantras, sayings, words of wisdom and encouragements to help you get past your challenges so you can achieve your goals. If you found this aha inspiring or helpful, then I would appreciate your support by sharing it with a friend and/or purchasing a copy of the book. If you missed any past amplified posts, check out the #ENDURANCE tweet Amplified! page. Want to get my latest on enduring? Then sign up for my FREE newsletter. Thanks for reading and keep enduring!

Our Negative Perceptions About Ourselves Create our Biggest Barriers

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Let’s face it. A lot of us are just plan negative.

Yeah, I said it.

You, me and our friends tend towards the negative instead of the positive even though we know that negative perceptions do us know good. It’s like we can’t help it.

Actually, It’s Hard to Remain Positive

We talked about this very topic in Our Only Real Barrier is our Negative Attitude Towards Them. In that aha, we explored our attitudes about barriers. In this one, we will dig a little deeper into how our perceptions about ourselves contribute to the barriers we put up.

We Are Our Biggest Critic

Our perceptions about ourselves tend to focus on our shortfalls instead of what we are good at. Sure, there are some among us that think they can do no wrong but those people are just sociopaths.

For the rest of us, our biggest critics are ourselves. We tend to beat ourselves up about some of the silliest things that most people don’t even notice.

For example, do you think that people who really care about you care that you have a big zit on your forehead, or that your hair may be a little messy or that your car is dirty.

Chances are, they don’t even notice nor care — they are just happy that you are around.

Success Starts With Us

The harsh reality is that no one and I mean no one, is looking out for your best interest except you. Yeah, I know, that’s a little harsh, but the truth is harsh.

Knowing that, we need to be our own best friend and cheerleader to ensure that we accomplish what we want to accomplish. All that starts with changing our negative attitudes about ourselves to positive ones.

Ways to Take Action

  1. Praise yourself: I know this may sound a little corny but pat yourself on the back. Tell yourself what a good job you do.

  2. Challenge your perceptions: Perceptions can be reality if we let them. Make sure to challenge the perceptions you have about yourself so that they are realistic.

  3. Don’t get sucked in: It’s really easy to get sucked into negativity. Try not to succumb to the negativity that’s bound to be around you by not participating nor feeling the pressure to be negative.


This aha is from my book, #ENDURANCE tweet Book 01— A Little Nudge to Keep You Going. The book is chalked full of mantras, sayings, words of wisdom and encouragements to help you get past your challenges so you can achieve your goals. If you found this aha inspiring or helpful, then I would appreciate your support by sharing it with a friend and/or purchasing a copy of the book. If you missed any past amplified posts, check out the #ENDURANCE tweet Amplified! page. Want to get my latest on enduring? Then sign up for my FREE newsletter. Thanks for reading and keep enduring!

Our Only Real Barrier is our Negative Attitude Towards Them

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We live in a negative world. To prove that, just look at the news.

Almost every news cast, report or story focuses on the negatives and hardly ever reports on the positive. Why is that?

Fixation on the Negative

We tend to remember the negative far more than the positive because negative emotions, feelings and experiences are more deeply processed in our brains.

This deep processing of the negative makes it hard to remember our positive experiences. This is why when we hit a barrier, we naturally tend towards the negative.

Breaking this cycle, by changing our attitudes, will allow us to take a more positive approach to barriers — an approach that will lead to quicker barrier removal.

Keep Positive or Remove the Negative

I remember reading some study that measured the affects of negative and positive people. It turns out that the negative has a 3-5 x more  impact (probably because of deep processing above) than the positive.

That means that you need 3-5 x more positive messages or people or attitudes than negative ones.

I think this is what saying “one rotten apple ruins the barrel” must have been eluding too — get rid of the negative and it’s much easier to make progress.

From my experience, this rings true. I can’t count how many times I have been in situations where one negative person saps the energy out of a room. It also seems that managers spend more time dealing with the negative employees than the positive ones.

That’s why it’s critical to remove those negative feelings or attitudes first before applying the positive — it’s just way more efficient and effective that way.

Ways to Take Action

  1. Remove the negative: Negative attitudes get amplified way more than positive ones. Work on removing the negative and the positive will be easier to achieve.

  2. Think of barriers as challenges: Part of removing the negative is to think of a barrier as a challenge which is a much more positive way of looking at them.

  3. Don’t complain: Complaining is negative. Instead, take action and do something about the barrier.

  4. Be positive but realistic: Being too positive does have it’s downsides especially if that positivity leads to actions that will turn out making the situation a net negative.


This aha is from my book, #ENDURANCE tweet Book 01— A Little Nudge to Keep You Going. The book is chalked full of mantras, sayings, words of wisdom and encouragements to help you get past your challenges so you can achieve your goals. If you found this aha inspiring or helpful, then I would appreciate your support by sharing it with a friend and/or purchasing a copy of the book. If you missed any past amplified posts, check out the #ENDURANCE tweet Amplified! page. Want to get my latest on enduring? Then sign up for my http://enduranceleader.com/subscribe/“>FREE newsletter. Thanks for reading and keep enduring!

Learn to Zig and Zag and You’ll Find Barriers Few and Far Between

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Adaptability is a good trait to have. Organisms that adapt to their changing environments are far more likely to survive than those who don’t.

Adaptation is at the heart of zigging and zagging around barriers. By adapting to our changing environment, we can overcome barriers before they become barriers.

Be Intellectually Curious

It’s sad when I hear that people have turned off their brains and became comfortable with the dogma they subscribe too. That’s just a disaster waiting to happen.

Why is that a disaster waiting to happen? Because it cuts off your ability to zig and zag.

Impossibly Popular

Joel Runyon runs a fantastic site called ImpossibleHQ which is a collection of sites and services to help us do the Impossible.

Joel likes to set impossible goals for himself and one that ignited his popularity was his post on Obtaining Six Pack Abs.

This single post got more than 500,000 hits in one day and completely crushed his hosting service. Talk about an opportunity to zig and zag.

Not only did Joel overcome the increased traffic barrier by reacting quickly, he used it to increase his reach by guest posting on his experience with going viral.

Ways to Take Action

  1. Continuous learning: We will never know when we’ll have to zig and zag. That means we always have to be ready to react. The best way to do that is to continuously learn about things that might be valuable at some point.

  2. Challenge conventional wisdom: Conventional wisdom hardly ever solves new and complex problems. Only by looking outside conventional wisdom do we find the means to zig and zag around barriers.

  3. Push your limits: If we constantly push our limits then zigging and zagging will be both natural and expected when we encounter barriers.

  4. Look for cross over: Akin to challenging conventional wisdom, learn about other seemingly different areas. This cross over knowledge (e.g. Applying quantum physics to the free market) can make zigging and zagging around barriers a lot easier.


This aha is from my book, #ENDURANCE tweet Book 01— A Little Nudge to Keep You Going. The book is chalked full of mantras, sayings, words of wisdom and encouragements to help you get past your challenges so you can achieve your goals. If you found this aha inspiring or helpful, then I would appreciate your support by sharing it with a friend and/or purchasing a copy of the book. If you missed any past amplified posts, check out the #ENDURANCE tweet Amplified! page. Want to get my latest on enduring? Then sign up for my FREE newsletter. Thanks for reading and keep enduring!

A Barrier is an Opportunity to Learn How to Jump

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Continuing on the We Create and Destroy our Own Barriers theme, this aha puts forth a different type of attitude about barriers — that they are growth opportunities.

When we take a more positive attitude about the struggles, obstacles and barriers we need to overcome, we start to change our attitudes about them. This attitude adjustment makes it a lot easier to endure all sorts of struggles because we now welcome a challenge instead of being discouraged by them.

A 1,000 Words A Day

One of the reasons I choose to write this series (recall, I’m amplifying all 140 tweets or ahas in the book) is because I wanted to write a 1,000 words a day (I’m about 10 days in and so far so good).

The barriers that pop up on this 1,000 word a day journey are many. The biggest one is finding ideas and stories to showcase as examples.

Now, I have plenty of stories to tell but for some reason, staring at the blank screen, they tend to be elusive.

So that’s why I have taken a slightly different approach to overcoming the story barrier — themes.

I use themes to craft my stories for each section of the book (this section is Breaking Through Barriers). By thinking of themes instead of stories, I can get around the barrier of having to think of a story mid writing session.

Instead, I just jot down the theme, keep going and fill in the story later. I do the same for the Ways to Take Action section. It’s actually kinda hard to come up with original ways to take action :).

Ways to Take Action

  1. Leave placeholders: It’s okay to come back to a problem as long as you leave a placeholder for the solution.

  2. Throwaway work: Sometimes it makes sense to just do something that you know won’t be used. This throwaway or practice work is a great way to get new and creative ideas flowing.

  3. Idea bucket: I keep an idea bucket (not literally. It’s a file of story ideas) so that when I hit a barrier or block, I can look over the idea bucket to find inspiration.


This aha is from my book, #ENDURANCE tweet Book 01— A Little Nudge to Keep You Going. The book is chalked full of mantras, sayings, words of wisdom and encouragements to help you get past your challenges so you can achieve your goals. If you found this aha inspiring or helpful, then I would appreciate your support by sharing it with a friend and/or purchasing a copy of the book. If you missed any past amplified posts, check out the #ENDURANCE tweet Amplified! page. Want to get my latest on enduring? Then sign up for my FREE newsletter. Thanks for reading and keep enduring!

To Endure is to go Over, Around, or Through Obstacles

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Obstacles pop up all the time. They could be a missed deal, fatal bug, slipped deadline or failed venture.

All obstacles test our mental and our endurance. They typically happen at the most critical time in a project or venture.

Most of us pause too long at obstacles. We tend to let them reduce our momentum and that makes it harder to overcome them. By having an attitude that obstacles can be dealt with in many different ways, we allow ourselves to adjust our approach so we keep our momentum.

Jumping Through Hoops of Fire

Our inner critics will want us to stop when we see an obstacle. For them, an obstacle is a reminder that the safe and comfortable status quo is where we should be — not out on the fringe improving ourselves.

That’s why enduring through obstacles will feel like jumping through hoops of fire even though the obstacles might not be that bad or complex.

It’s imperative that whenever we face an obstacle, whether it big or small, that we overcome it anyway we can. By doing this, we quell our inner critics and not lose the momentum to achieve our goals.

Ways to Take Action

  1. Be flexible: Flexibility is the essential to deal with obstacles. The more flexible we are, the more options we have.

  2. Determine if you can delay: Sometimes delaying action may be the fastest way to overcome an obstacle. Don’t delay too long or the obstacle might solidify.

  3. Attack it in different ways: A obstacle might need multiple approaches to overcome since it may not be apparent which one will work. By trying several approaches we can see which ones are the most effective.

  4. Don’t stop trying: Obstacles may seem daunting but they are only daunting if we give up and stop trying. Never stop trying to overcome the obstacles in your way. It may take longer than you think but it’s well worth it.


This aha is from my book, #ENDURANCE tweet Book 01— A Little Nudge to Keep You Going. The book is chalked full of mantras, sayings, words of wisdom and encouragements to help you get past your challenges so you can achieve your goals. If you found this aha inspiring or helpful, then I would appreciate your support by sharing it with a friend and/or purchasing a copy of the book. If you missed any past amplified posts, check out the #ENDURANCE tweet Amplified! page. Want to get my latest on enduring? Then sign up for my FREE newsletter. Thanks for reading and keep enduring!