Or at least spend less time on Facebook. But… but… but… I might miss something important. Someone may get away with some total B.S.! Here’s the thing. Your opinion doesn’t matter. Yes, I said it out loud. Nobody else cares enough about you to tell you this. First of all, your opinion is wrong. It is not based on reality. It is based on a million mental maps built in your neural pathways. Mental maps, built when you were a child, the purpose of which were to help you survive childhood. The only reason we made it out alive was because our lizard brain built reliable strategies and wired them in to make sure we avoided getting killed or humiliated or yelled at by our parents. Thriving was not even a small part of the lizard brain’s job description. I have a list of strategies that your brain concocted that got you out of Lord of the Flies alive. These are the strategies that worked to keep you from being slaughtered when you were a kid, but they are a disaster for you now. These strategies not only left scars that have demolished your self esteem, your confidence, and your ability to have a healthy intimate relationship, but they also feed your opinions and cause you to defend them with aplomb on Facebook. Just say no. Stop checking Facebook every 5 minutes. Stop responding to statuses and comments that do not support your opinion. Remember, your opinion is WRONG. And, anyway, so is the other person’s opinion who you disagree with. And nothing you say will change their mind or your mind anyway. So,
DON’T DO IT!
Ok. I know you’re going to do it anyway. So here is one of the lizard brain strategies you can at least notice when you’re using it. Remember, it is for surviving as a child, not for thriving as an adult.
Horrible Strategy No. 1: Stick to your story at all costs. Once you have identified yourself with a path, a candidate, a position on abortion/healthcare/war, a diet soda brand, a sports team (i.e. once you have expressed an opinion about anything), your brain locks in. Studies show that you will stick with our opinion even in the face of overwhelming contrary evidence. When Lance Armstrong was winning all of those races, there was clear and compelling evidence that he was cheating. But I had cast my emotional lot with him. I bought his lies and stuck with him until George Hincapie admitted that they cheated together. It took someone who I identified in my brain as beyond reproach to snap me out of my stupor. Is my current opinion right that Armstrong was a cheater and a liar? I don’t know. The evidence seems to be pretty clear. But, I know that my opinions are wrong, so I am not going to argue with anyone about it just because their wrong opinion is different than my wrong opinion.
In other words, nothing you hear is true.
Despite that click bait title, I am going pro with this blog. Let me explain. At 49 years old, I am not an expert at anything. I am good at a lot of things. I am paid well for doing some of those things. I believe it’s called Jack of all Trades, Master of None.
I had coffee to catch up with a couple of long-time colleagues. One is a recently semi-retired Project Manager and the other a practicing Project Manager. We discussed how the title, Project Manager, has lost its sheen. “Oh, you’re a project manager? Cool. Me, too.” In his semi-retirement, Ash is taking on consulting gigs as long as they do not interfere with his new-found lifestyle. I asked how he is branding himself. Whether he is using his Project Management title. He answered that he is a Pharmaceutical Regulatory Consultant with Project Management Professional credentials. Ah. I like that. But what am I?
Back to going pro. Those of you who remember 90 Posts in 90 Days may know where this is going. Since I am not an expert at anything, I can’t do what Ash did. There is no “Specific-Thing” Consultant with… For now, though, there is this blog. Every day. Like 90 Posts in 90 Days, it will start out rough. Not every day will be a brilliant insight. You will not be moved by the majority of posts. But there will be some gems. Some day, I will curate the blogs and feature the best ones. For now, though, there is this blog. Ever Day. That’s what going pro looks like.
What does Going Pro mean to you?
Looking for The Life Science Effect? Click here:
Done beats perfect. In fact, Done beats outstanding. Done even beats really really good. You have to be careful how you define done, though. Done means it meets requirements. A survivalist is building a shelter for tonight and rain is forecast. Done means he built a shelter with a roof and something to keep you off the wet ground. “But wouldn’t a climate controlled building with a T.V. be better?” Not if it will take longer than tonight to build.
Another example. The Independent Mindset Facebook Group and the intro video. Clearly, both could be made higher quality, more polished, more perfecter… But guess what. They’re done!
If you came here for perfect, you’re in the wrong place. If you came here for done, well we’ll have a lot of what you’re looking for.
Here’s a thing that just happened at Kroger. The cashier circled a little survey thing on my receipt and said to take the survey. My brain was about to go where it usually goes the half dozen times a day a cashier asks me to take a survey (i.e. someplace else). My batting average for taking those surveys is about .010 (non-sports fans: that’s 1 in a 100). And that one time usually ends in a frustrating dead end because of some technical glitch. Today was different though. Right as I was about to send my brain into don’t-care mode, she said, “you and me might win a prize.”
Guess what. I’m going to take that survey. Why? Because something psychological happened. I went from, “the odds are next to nothing of me getting something of value in return for spending my time on this survey,” to “oh, she might win something. I bet she hopes I take this survey so that she stands a chance of winning something.” In other words, I am willing to spend my time on that dumb survey if it means I’m doing it for someone else and not for some sort of value I might get.
This is a psychology built into most of us. As a leader, we can take advantage of this psychology by:
- asking for favors (don’t forget the two magic words – because and please)
- pointing out the broader benefit our efforts bring to the organization or to the world
- remind everyone who we are doing this for
- don’t spend so much time trying too make your thing seem like it’s worth what you are asking for it. spend your time instead on demonstrating its value to others.
Agree? Please let me know what others you can think of because I’d really love to hear what you have to say. See what I did there?
I am not feeling particularly inspired today for some reason. Rather than coming up with a bunch of reasons/excuses, I thought I would turn it around. How do you motivate yourself when you are feeling uninspired?
Sometimes you just have to use “The Voice”. My daughter was at a retreat this weekend with some team building. You know the kind: you’re in the woods with ropes and weird wooden structures and someone shouting inspiring clichés to you. There was some kind of team balancing on a fake boat going on. The team was to work together to keep their balance long enough to sing Row Row Row Your Boat three times.
My daughter tells me that she had the idea for everyone to sit, thereby lowering the collective center of gravity and making the balancing easier. With time running out, everyone sat except one girl. The boat continued to pitch. The squalls and steep swells were about to send the defiant one overboard as The Captain (my daughter) tried in vain to reason with the standing sailor. Finally, just before a rogue wave threatened to send them all to Davey Jones’ Locker, The Captain deployed her weapon of last resort: The Voice. “Sit. Down.” She was firm and respectful. Loud and calm. The landlubber sat immediately and just as quickly, the boat settled in. The team began singing in unison: “Row Row Row Your Boat Gently Down the Stream…”
The Voice works because it appeals to one of the base emotions: fear. Accordingly, The Voice should be rationed as a last resort, though, because of the emotion it triggers. Effective, independent leaders of our day and age recognize that it is important to maintain a relationship free of fear and other negative emotions. When the alternative, however, is devastating failure, then as The Captain, you have an obligation to use everything at your disposal to serve the team.
Most of us understand risk. It’s hard wired. Our prehistoric ancestors knew what the odds were when they chose to hunt in an area with a large Masterson population. They calculated that the nutritional bounty was worth the risk of being eaten by a lion. What about uncertainty, though? Uncertainty is like risk without knowing what the odds are. Humans have not evolved to deal with this.
What if we go ahead and cover the the risks we can calculate (i.e. Buy insurance). For uncertainty we might just have to go with our gut. Either way, we can’t just punt. But it helps to know the difference.
A colleague is having a baby any day now. He’s worried about missing work because the culmination two years’ work is going live any day now as well. In fact, this will be one of the most highly visible project startups in the company. A career maker at this early stage.
Guess which is more important?
As I mentioned to him, why are any of us even here? At this place, leading? Instead of sitting on a beach or fishing or hiking on a mountain somewhere.
Love what you do. That’s fine. But don’t ever forget why you do it.
Everything is going to be just fine. I have no idea whether that is true of course. How could I?
Still, I act as if.
Because I can’t think of any alternatives that leave room for me to be of service to others or to myself.