We all have processes that we use to get things done. Routines that move us forward and in some cases, hold us back. They can be conscious actions or sub-conscious reactions. Regardless, they typically have evolved slowly over many years. Honed and refined to the point that they feel like the are part of our D.N.A. We lean on them day in and day out, never questioning why, or giving them a moment’s recognition.
Ideally, we want all of our processes to be empowering, enabling and supportive.
Sometimes they are, sometimes not so much
So why don’t we just toss out non-supportive routines? Throwing out, eliminating and denying processes and reactions is rarely sustainable when we do it ad-hoc. They run deep, so if we try to turn our backs on ingrained responses, we feel like we are turning our back on markers that have shaped our personalities, molded our character and supported our beliefs. Initially, it feels unnatural to turn your back, walk away and completely let go of the things that helped shape the person that you are today.
The reality is these processes are so much a part of what we do and who we are that we often don’t recognize them or understand if they are assets or liabilities.
How do we change the processes that aren’t in our best interest?
See Your Processes, acknowledge that they exist and seek to see and recognize them for what they are. So how do you do this?
Take an activity, something that is part of your daily life. (Choose something that is meaningful). Ideally, choose an event or activity that happens often and is critical to your work life. Put it on a clock, create a timeline, starting with all of the distinct steps you take. Then drill down, moment by moment, add nuance, action, and reaction create a timeline detail by bloody detail. Assume nothing and diarize everything.
Where are the blocks? How did this real-life event get bogged down? Where could it have been more efficient? Where did you stumble or lose momentum? What are your interpretations of the events and the results?
This work isn’t a negative exercise, look for and log all the moments. Those that made you stumble, and those where your actions facilitated you jumping ahead. We often overlook what went right, what felt good or great and those that made you most proud.
THIRD, No stone unturned,
Ignore nothing. Then take out anything that has a hint of emotion attached to it. Put blame aside and concentrate on just the facts. What happened, don’t over glamourize the wins and play down the skinned knees. Eliminate blame and making others responsible, just the facts, what happened and then take ALL emotion out of the timeline.
FOURTH, Facts and fiction
Now comes the tough question. With what you are left take another look at the events and ask yourself, are they facts or are they opinions? Don’t fool yourself; opinions are often carefully crafted and reused to the point that they feel like facts, but when you blow the wheat from the chaff, they are just opinions. Step back look at the process as an objective observer. Challenge everything and determine its value or see it as a possible hindrance.
FIFTH, Ideal and alternatives
Through the eyes of an uninvested objective observer, brainstorm options that you can plug into anything that hints at being a hindrance. Also look at what went well and determine how to redo these moments better. There is always room for improvement.
Then the million dollar question.
Now, what are you going to do? Don’t aim for a new attitude with 100% compliance; it took a long time for the old processes to seep into your psyche and you will return to them on occasion. Do not use this as justification to stop trying, it’s a process, and it’s one that takes time and effort. When you slip, recognize it and come back to what would have made this situation better, even if it’s just in your mind’s eye.
So, let me ask. Do you need to redefine processes in your life? If so personal coaching may offer you the help, you need.
I am offering a limited number of one-hour, introductory-coaching calls for free. If interested e-mail me at brent@ThinkWorldClass.com.
Have a World Class day my friend.