As I discussed last week, we’re living in a time when “feelings” seem to be more important than “facts.” And oftentimes that is self-defeating, even dangerous.
The “fact” is, there are certain laws of nature or laws of the universe that work certain ways, no matter how you “feel” about them.
In a similar sense, I would contend that there are five rules in today’s world of work. If you’re going to move up, get ahead, achieve your goals, or make a difference, you would be well served to remember these five rules or “facts” rather than “feel” bad about them. Last week I shared the first three rules with you.
Rule #1: The world is not fair.
Rule #2: No one owes you a living.
Rule #3: Reputation and relationships rule.
Follow these rules (“facts”) as well as the remaining two and you will be on the surest path to success, even if you don’t “feel” good about some of them
► Rule #4: Risk taking is necessary.
Common sense should tell you that you can’t keep on doing the same old thing the same old way and expect new or better results. That’s a “fact,” even though it may not “feel” good to you.
It probably “feels” better to stay in your comfort zone. You know, no stress, no need to think, no need to exert any extra effort. It probably “feels” better to stick with the familiar, to say “I’ve always done it this way,” even though that way may not be serving you all that well anymore.
However, everything you want more of … better health, stronger relationships, bigger finances, higher positions, everything … requires the courage to leave your comfort zone and take some risks. In “fact,” five years from now, you will be the same person you are today with the exception of what you learn, the people you meet, and the risks you take.
As Dr. Maxwell Maltz, the author of Psycho-Cybernetics, said, “The difference between a successful person and a failure is not one has better abilities or ideas, but the courage that one has to bet on one’s ideas, to take a calculated risk – and to act.”
Of course, risk taking “feels” scary. If it didn’t “feel” that way, it wouldn’t be a risk. But remember Dr. Maltz is talking about a sensible, most-likely-to-work, calculated risk, not a stupid one. And that comes about by asking yourself four questions.
If you get two yes answers to these questions, your risk is constructive. And if you get three or four yes answers, chances are very good that you will succeed. Ask yourself:
Is it necessary?
(In other words, do you have to do something different to get better results in some part of your personal or professional lives? Is the old way of doing something just not working anymore?)
Will it work?
(Based on your knowledge, experience, and intuition, you believe your risk taking will lead to more of the outcomes you want.)
What will it cost?
(Every risk comes with some financial, emotional, physical, occupational, or relational cost. You want your risk to be worth the investment you make to achieve it.)
Is it worth it?
(You could say yes to all three questions above, but your risk, even though it may work out successfully, may not be worth it. For example, you could take an occupational risk to dramatically improve your finances, but if it takes all your time so you never see your family, it may not be worth it.)
Risk taking doesn’t always “feel” good, but the “fact” remains that risk taking is a get-ahead prerequisite.
Having coached hundreds of people who’ve become highly successful, I’ve learned you rarely regret the risks you take. At the very least, you feel good about yourself for having the courage to try, even if the risk didn’t bring the exact outcome you had desired. And at the very best, you feel delighted when the risk opens the doors to a new and better outcome.
(B.T.W. Give me a call if you would like to discuss working with me as a coach.)
By contrast, you often regret the risks you don’t take. You spend years telling yourself, “If only I had tried … I wish I had spoken up about … or … It just might have worked …”
The choice is yours: risk or regret. Choose risk. Think of a risk you want or need to take. Ask yourself the four questions above, and get on with it.
► 5. There is more than one way.
For hundreds and thousands of years, the so-called “facts” or the “best practices” came as a result of trial and error, discussion and debate. Those things were not pre-determined by any one person or any one group, and then imposed on everyone else to accept as the “truth” or be “cancelled.” That’s just plain silly.
In a similar sense, inclusion is a very important goal to achieve, but it becomes dangerous when inclusion is interpreted to mean include everything and everyone who thinks like me but exclude those who think differently. The “facts” of human progress do not support that approach, even though it may hurt our “feelings” when people don’t think the way we think they should.
The “fact” is no one has a monopoly on the truth, no matter how strongly they “feel” about their approach. There is more than one way. That’s why agility is the way forward in the future.
Success, progress, and survival require us to be more like leather and less like granite.
If I gave you a hammer, a workbench, a chunk of granite, and a piece of leather and asked you to hammer away at the granite and leather, what would happen? The granite would shatter because it’s hard, rigid, and brittle. But the leather would hardly show a mark because it’s supple, flexible, yet tough and resilient. The qualities of leather are the ones we need in today’s world of work. We need agile leaders, employees, and organizations to deal with the ever-changing realties.
To become more agile, to put rule #5 into practice … that there is more than one way … try some of the following.
Revisit your policies and procedures.
Plan at regular intervals to re-visit policies and procedures to keep them relevant. Don’t wait for a crisis or investigation to assess their effectiveness. Smart people change before they have to.
Open up the communication lines.
Traditional leaders and bureaucratic organizations can be notoriously slow to act even in a crisis. The good news is most organizations have several people who see problems on the horizon before others do. Give everyone a chance to share their insights.
Question “we’ve always done it this way”.
When someone asks why you’re doing certain things and your best answer is “because that’s the way we’ve always done it,” it’s time for that way to go. After all, nothing is perfect. Everything can be improved. Staying competitive and profitable requires more creativity and agility than that.
As the title of today’s Tuesday Tip implies, facts versus feelings in today’s world of work, is a big deal. Certainly your feelings count. It’s emotionally intelligent to be in tune with your feelings and know how to handle them appropriately. But when it comes to making decisions and getting ahead in life and work, your feelings get a vote but not a veto.