The truth is most of us have settled for mediocre.
We are content with average.
Unremarkable is fine.
Ho-Hum our soup du jour.
I was reminded this week working with a leader and his team that rhythms become routines and if we are not careful routines become ruts.
And there are ALL sorts of problems with ruts….
1. Ruts make taking alternative routes hard
The truth of the matter is remarkable is hard! And remarkable is never found in the rut because, well….it is a rut…and by definition it is well worn, has had lots of foot traffic and is already well traveled.
New and fresh vistas aren’t found traveling the ruts. Unexplored new terrain isn’t discovered in the rut.
If you want to see new outcroppings, pristine uncharted newness, and contribute to helping fill in the blanks of what the new GPS coordinates lead to, then being in a rut will not get you there.
2. Ruts have a hypnotic effect that lulls our attention to sleep
People live most of their lives hypnotized and sleepwalking. And this haze we walk around in is no respecter of age, income, gender or geography. We get up in the morning and go through a routine, begin into the 4-6 hours of day dreaming we will do today with no output to show for it, and before you know we are back home and getting ready for bed.
A quick rehearsal has us uncertain what we had for lunch or if we even ate and a host of other equally dim spots from the day. Throw in kids, workouts, and a significant other and it is no wonder we are zombies.
Hypnosis puts us in the cloudy zone. We can’t see too clearly. But because we care, we work harder and harder but usually simultaneously dumber and dumber.
We become impervious to outside input and even get cranky at the thought that outsiders might see something we can’t. But hypnosis is comfortable, it is an autopilot experience. If I get out of the rut I will have to do things different and that takes a lot of effort and energy.
3. Ruts tightly constrain the creative possibility thinker in us
The road less travelled dramatically increases the incidence of seeing, acting, doing, becoming something new.
You want remarkable? Ruts can’t get you there. You want legendary? Likely paths can’t track that line. A life that makes dents and marks history requires the best art from your creative core.
Until we realize that we ARE the organizations we serve, we will always feel disempowered that changes we make have impact. The minute though, we realize that we are the organisms we are in, that we are complicit with its tendency to travel ruts, then we can come to embrace our creative core as the way forward.
When I change me the system changes too…automatically. That is why team creative exercise, dream sessions and collaborative interactions are rut leveling, routine disrupting elixirs we need to drink daily.
WildyBetter Inner Action
1. Set aside some time (20 minutes) for silence today. Allow your awareness to wander, settling on whatever thoughts or sensations come to you. Do not get attached to any of the thoughts or sensations; rather let yourself flow non-judgmentally from one thought to another. Sit quietly and notice where your mind travels.
2. Afterward, review your activities over the last week. What routines are you currently engaging that bring life and keep you on track? KEEP THOSE! Where are routines becoming lifeless and therefore becoming ruts? PITCH THOSE! There is nothing wrong with routines that bring life...but lack of awareness can move healthy rhythms of lifeless ruts and rob us of the value!
3. Identify at least one or two activities that you will reinvent and upgrade the next time you perform the activity. What changes can you make and what new patters and practices can you try for 30 days to see if they are games changers for you at this stage of your life? Be willing to take risks. If you are not taking risks, you are probably in a rut.