If your in any kind of leadership position, whether leading your family or a major corporation, you want to be productive and get results. You want to see your family communicate and grow closer together and for your children and spouse to develop and grow. You want your company to be profitable and your employees to succeed. You want to deliver on what you promise.
There is always resistance to getting results or productivity. Every day we wake up and that resistance is there to greet us. Here are some of things we must face everyday and overcome in order to be productive and get results.
- Procrastination – we can over-analyzing things, and talking ourselves out of doing something. We convince ourselves that we will do it later.
- Interruptions – every day we have distractions. Things that are urgent, things that pop up, people that pop in and bunny trails we pursue.
- Stress – The higher the level of stress the harder it is to function, make decisions and get results. Stress limits our thinking and allows emotions to overcome us.
- Multitasking – No one can actually multitask. Some people are better at jumping from one thing to another, but when you do that, you are distracted and end up not doing either thing well. You also don’t tend to finish things.
- Blaming Others – When you start blaming other people it shifts the focus onto things you cannot control. It also distracts you from seeing how you contributed to the problem or allowed it to happen.
- Fear – fear can stop us in our tracks and feeds all of the things I mentioned above. Fear of failure, rejection, being misunderstood, not being good enough – those are just a few of the fears that greet us daily.
So what can we do to overcome these forms of resistance and be productive on a consistence basis?
- Commit to Excellence – whatever you do, do it the best you can. This is not perfection but doing it right and not cutting corners. When you do it right the first time, you don’t have to go back and do it over later.
- Plan – This is probably the most important step. Putting a plan together with clear, specific goals and timelines will help get results.
- Focus – People that have the ability to block out all the resistance and distractions and focus for an hour at a time on a project get great results. To keep that focus, take frequent breaks and refresh your mind, then come back to the project.
- Do the Hard thing first – If your facing a difficult conversation, complicated problem or hard task, tackle it right away. The faster you accomplish that hard thing, the more productive you will be the rest of the day.
- Stick with it – people that get results have the ability to hang in there and keep at it until it’s finished. It’s having the tenacity to work through all the obstacles and keep focused on the bigger picture. It’s showing up every day and doing what needs to be done.
Everyone can improve in this area of productivity and getting results. Think about one thing that if you finished it would bring great results or move you further along as an individual, family or organization. Now go do it.
Being healthy emotionally is hard work. It’s easy to fall into a victim mentality and feel like everyone is against you. In their book The Oz Principle, Roger Connors, Tom Smith and Craig Hickman give some clues on when we are stuck in the victim cycle or living below the line.
- You feel “held captive” by your circumstances
- You feel you have no control over your present circumstances
- You find yourself blaming others and pointing fingers
- Your discussions of problems focus more on what you cannot do, rather than what you can
- You fail to confront the toughest issues you face
- You find yourself being “sought out” by others so they can tell you what someone else did to them this time
- You find yourself unwilling to ask probing questions about your own accountability
- You repeatedly find yourself in a defensive posture
- You site your confusion as a reason for not taking action
- You avoid people, the meetings, and the situations that require you to report on your responsibilities
- You find yourself spending valuable time crafting a compelling story detailing why you were not at fault
- You repeatedly tell the same old story about how someone took advantage of you
- You view the world with a pessimistic attitude
So how do we avoid this victim mentality? How do we get unstuck from these destructive patterns and habits. The keys are taking responsibility for your own actions and bringing accountability into your life.
According to the authors you can improve your own ability to remain “above-the-line” by watching for the following clues that indicate accountable attitudes and behavior.
- You invite candid feedback from everyone about your own performance
- You never want anyone, including yourself, to hide the truth from you
- You readily acknowledge reality, including all its problems and challenges
- You don’t waste time or energy on things you cannot control or influence
- You always commit yourself 100 percent to what you are doing, and if your commitment begins to wane, you strive to rekindle it
- You “own” your circumstances and your results, even when they seem less than desirable
- You recognize when you are dropping “below the line” and act quickly to avoid the traps of the victim cycle
- You delight in the daily opportunity to make things happen
- You constantly ask yourself the question, “What else can I do to rise above my circumstances and get the results I want?”
Whether at work or at home staying above the the line of accountability is vital to emotional and relational health. When we are below the line we ignore or deny reality, we say it’s not my fault or my job, we point fingers, we say we are confused, we cover our tails and we wait & see. When we are above the line we see the issue, we own our part, we work on a solution and we take action on what we can control.
Make a commitment today to be more accountable and responsible in all your relationships. Work at staying above the line and don’t focus on things that are out of your control. Focus on your own thoughts and behaviors and own your part of the problem. Get help and counsel from others to help keep you above the line. If you do that you will grow in character and leadership and be much healthier all the way around.