Greetings from Calgary where the snow is deep and the toes are cold. I’m enjoying rubbing shoulders with a couple of hundred of my colleagues at the annual convention of the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers. Hope your week is going well, too.
REFLECTION: Recently, I’ve been dipping into Marshall Goldsmith’s book, ‘What Got You Here Won’t Get You There’. Goldsmith is an executive coach who has helped many high performing individuals ditch some of the bad habits that are holding them back from even more stellar success.
Goldsmith points out that many of our development efforts are focused on teaching people what to do – and that not nearly enough time is spent showing people what they need to stop doing. He describes the latter approach as shifting from ‘negative’ into ‘neutral’.
An example that makes sense of this for me is his observation that, for someone who is challenged in the way they relate to others, it is much harder to accomplish the goal of ‘becoming nicer’ than it is to accomplish the goal of ‘stopping being a jerk’.
It takes an extensive set of positive actions to become ‘nicer’ including: saying thanks, providing recognition, developing patience, extending compliments, and so on. To stop behaving like a ‘jerk’ can be as simple as doing or saying nothing. In situations where you would normally criticize, ridicule, question, argue or engage in one-up-man ship, you simply do nothing.
It’s an intriguing distinction.
ACTION: If we think about how we might apply this in the arena of life balance and renewal, a ‘things to stop’ list might look something like this:
– stop working late every day
– stop muddying the waters of family time with electronic distractions
– stop saying yes to every demand that comes your way
– stop putting actions that contribute to your health and well-being at the bottom of your list
This may seem like it’s just too simplistic to work at all. But, given Goldsmith’s success rate, it might be worth a try. For example, if you decide not to work late work on Tuesday and Thursday – just close up shop, shut down the computer, turn out the lights, and head for home – you just might discover ways to be more productive in the late afternoon as ‘leaving time’ draws near. And you just might open up space for rest or relationships during the reclaimed evening hours.
Try giving it some thought. What might you stop doing that could shift you from negative to neutral in a situation that causes you or others angst?
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “Okay, who put a ‘stop payment’ on my reality check?” – Author Unknown
RESOURCE OF THE WEEK: “What Got You Here Won’t Get You There” by Marshall Goldsmith. Hyperion. 2007.
For a summary of Goldsmith’s list of 20 flawed behaviours, see his online article, Bad Behaviour.