First, welcome to the middle of Q3 2015. Yep we aren’t just half way through the year we are half way through Q3 for the year. I continue to be amazed with the fact that no one has found a way to get a few more hours added to each week but until they do we will just have to continue working to make the most of the 168 hours we have. To that end the executive team here at Infinity takes time each quarter to look back at the prior quarter, forward to the next and try and peer around the corner into the future. We continue to improve and refine our review process and I think that each organization has to come to their own process and rhythm over time and through effort so I won’t bore you with the details of how we do it. If you are interested in what we do just drop me a line and I will be glad to talk with you about how we developed and continue to develop that process. What I wanted to put down on paper was a few things that I have learned from the past few weeks and months. It all boils down to self-reflection and the willingness to take the time to do it.
I believe myself to be a very open and honest person about what I do well and what I don’t do well. But like everyone I have blind spots in my effort. Not only do we all have those blind spots but we actively will do things to avoid having to see them. Like a man in a hall full of mirrors we run straight ahead never slowing down to glance at our reflections for fear we won’t liek what we see or be able to reconcile it with what we believe. This can even mean we don’t stop and listen to what others are saying to us about things completely out of this fear. We may process what they say and create answers (excuses) but never really take it all the way in. So what have I done to at least process what I have opened my eyes and ears to recently? Well as you all know from reading these writings I like to break things down into a few short steps.
First for me it took getting hit with a real frying pan to pay attention. I have had someone(s) trying to get my attention for a while it appears but I just kept doing what I was doing. Because of my stubborn nature they had to really step up the effort to what many might consider an extreme level to get me to take it seriously. But it worked and I have been thinking about it ever sense. So first I would suggest that I should take a little more time to just reflect on important and personal conversations more. This isn’t about long times on the mountain top or long periods of meditation. This is simply stopping each day to ask yourself “Did I really listen to what people were telling me today?” and if not be willing to circle back to do it the next day. Those willing to tell you the truth should always be rewarded with you attention and candor. There are way more people in this world that will just tell you the nice stuff or what they think you want to hear before they ever step into the light with you to reflect on what really isn’t working. Sometimes it isn’t about failure but lack of focus. You might be spreading yourself too thin or spending too much time on one thing and not enough on others. You could think you are getting it all done but in their eyes you aren’t.
Second is once you know you didn’t hear someone it’s going back or once you hear them that slowing down to listen. Really listen and try and understand their perspective. David Covey talks about “working to understand before being understood” in his work 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. And let me tell you it is harder to do this than I realized especially when the light is being shined on you. We all jump to defend ourselves and justify and try and explain instead of taking it all in before we respond. Now this isn’t to say that someone else’s perspective is right and yours is wrong but you can’t truly work to help someone understand what you thought or meant until you understand what they heard and think. So taking that time to be active in your engagement with people is important. I have been recently reading about how with every important interaction there is your side, the other persons side and the truth. The sides are opinions and the truth is fact but many times people believe their opinion to be fact and you have to be able to separate them before you can truly work toward understanding.
Third for me is that time of reflection. This may be something you have to do for minutes, hours or days to truly be ready to move forward. In some cases it takes a lot of effort to come around the right path forward and the clarity about it to be able to explain it and live it actively. This is when willpower comes into play. Like starting a new habit of exercise or diet you have to be intention for a long period of time for change to stick and become habit. I had come to the realization about a year ago that my health wasn’t what I wanted it to be. I also realized that I had a habit of overdoing things when I tried to make a change in the past and failed in 3 to 6 months because I would have a setback. So I committed to something reasonable and manageable and set in place accountability that worked for me to achieve it. I also got buy-in from those around me that would be effected by my changes so that I could make the change knowing that I didn’t need to feel guilty about what I was doing. All of this has helped me move toward a goal I have. Not as fast as I might like or without setbacks but in a way that I could continue to move forward.
So in closing it takes a lot to own who you have been and commit to change if you don’t think it is how you want to be going forward. But if you will be open to others input and willing to refelct and execute you can achieve more/better than you did before. I am still working on my current change but can at least see there are needs for changes and know I will at least be going through then with open eyes. I hope you all can end this year with open eyes and honest reflection of where you are and where you want to be. If you don’t like what you see then it is on you to change it. And as I love to say, The Only Thing that is Inevitable is Change and if You Don’t Like Change Learn to Love Irrelevance.