I have had the opportunity to spend time since the beginning of the year with a couple different groups of entrepreneurial start-ups, a start up community, and a group of people getting ready to launch businesses. I want to make some observations that might help you recalibrate your current sights and strategies. I work every day of my life with clients, be they personal one on one or organizations from small to rather sizable -- I am seeing more and more quickly they fit into one of two categories.
Category 1 –
This group is convinced, persuaded, motivated and inspired. They carry their own weather in their pocket. They have a clear dream and a fired desire. They aren’t hoping others will make it happen while they idly wait. They are activators. In the space of quiet and inner silence they have caught a whiff of something “more” and are crystal clear and bound and determined. Crystal clear about the preferred future that they can describe in high definition digital details and bound and determined that they are the responsible parties for designing, building and equipping a world class team to arrive at that future. They have what Steve Jobs had... an RDF…more on that anon. They are voracious learners but more than that, they apply and actually enact what they are learning.
Category 2 –
This group longs for, wishes, hopes and awaits. They are convinced if this one last thing could just get solved they would be finally on their way to dream realization. They are convinced a vague fuzzy incrementally preferred future is out there on the distant horizon but probably not within their reach because they simply haven’t been given the right team, or tools, or gifts, or upbringing, or leaders above them or followers below them or colleagues around them. They are convinced “the system” “the man” holds them down and life sucks more than it soars. They are waiting for the battle tested, polished, high performers to come rallying around them. And by their speech which is always rooted in the problems of the present escaping the gravitational pull of what currently “is” looks increasing improbably if not impossible.
Category 1 folks are awesome to be around.
Category 2 folks you hope to avoid.
Category 1 are moving toward “virtuoso.”
Category 2 are moving toward “victim."
I hope you see this isn’t about production perse. This is about outlook, foresight, attitude and the grit of daily cadences and practices. (by the way do you know that greatness, says the latest research, is largely about grit? - stay tuned for the next post!)
Can I move from reporting to inviting your curiosity? From commentary to suggestions?
Most of us realize that installing a daily process of habits and rituals that we embody and enact every day are the game changers that actually produce something long term.
Interestingly while most of us know daily rhythms are key, one of the big differences between category 1 and 2 people is right here. Category 1 people have determined with meticulous clarity what their first hour morning rituals will be. They have determined what replenishes and what depletes. They have become master time and energy mavens. They recognize fitness isn’t optional and are aware of the research that daily fitness regimens actually make us smarter…yes you heard that right…current Harvard research. They have realized to increase their organization's capacity they have to actually increase their capacity which is why Category 1 folks take life long learning serious and read, take in audio books, seminars, coaches and training events.
But habit installation, which is a whole world in and of itself, and the foundation of you becoming wildly better, assumes something. It assumes all that focused action, rhythm, habit and cadence is actually moving somewhere.
RDF- Ya Gotta Have One
Steve Jobs had an uncanny way of bending the picture of reality he was creating in such persuasive ways that he and the people around him not only came to believe his version of reality was possible…. but listen to this….was actually inevitable. That is right. He persuaded people that his outlandish, crazy ideas weren’t just possible, weren’t just wildly important, weren’t just probable…no he created an environment where people came to believe they were inevitable.
He became so well known for this, Bud Tribble (VP of software development at Apple) came to call it the Reality Distortion Field (RDF) something he took from Star Trek (Leonard Nimoy you will be missed)
Category 1 people have figured out how to create their own RDF.
A winsome, wild, glorious and unique picture of tomorrow that is so compelling others want to go there.
Now you might instantly say that is risky, deceptive, wild …insert here any other descriptor that comes to mind ____________________.
But here is the download. Every great leader I have studied from Jesus to Mandela, from Siddartha Gautama to Ghandi, from JFK to MLK, from Welch to Jobs….and the list is pretty long that I have studied… Every single one of them had a wildly crazy and outlandish view of their very clear high definition preferable future and they acted on that with clarity, focus, decisiveness and relentlessness.
So here is where things get a bit ouchy. So if you need to surf to another website now might be the right time.
Self Assess and Gut Check
Which category are you HONESTLY in? You have to be aware enough, and that is a big developmental space, to be able to hear your own self-talk and out-loud talk.
Is your vision compelling? I mean is it knock dead winsome, oh-my-gosh-I-want-to-be-a-part-of-making-that-happen? I get to help organizations build strategic direction and you know what most of the time people have underwhelming visions if they have one at all. It is ok to admit you aren’t sure about yours…that is not a bad place to start. But let me be clear…if you are unclear? Your current team is in a fog and there will be no way to attract the best and brightest.
I just read Peter Diamandis of the XPrize and Singular University where he says that 99.999% of all people are doing nothing of significance with their life that will in any way impact anything with any lasting effect! I had to read that about a dozen times to let it sink in.
Personally are you living the life you dream about? If not what excuse have you mustered to talk yourself out of it? Are you on the path you dream about? If not ask why not? Are you living at world class? World class learning? World class fitness, world class team building, world class life?
If I am honest many people I talk to and work with are discontent with their current status quo and they hope that somewhere out there just around the corner and down the road a piece the world they have been dreaming of will finally arrive! And that all comes about when finally they are dealt a better hand, inherit a perfectly trained team, get a better context, situation, pay increase or better yet, lottery win.
Curiosity is where it must begin!
Gang can I invite your honest and full curiosity? What are you waiting on to have the life you have dreamed of? What is holding you back? I tell leaders of all shapes and sizes almost everyday; stuck systems, whatever their stripe, are stuck because leaders are stuck.
- My suggestion is you start crafting a couple paragraph image of tomorrow you want to arrive at in 10 years. Something really audacious, extraordinary, dent-making, and meaningful. Start designing your Reality Distortion Field. You can’t arrive somewhere without clear coordinates to punch into Google maps app. Once that is done you have to install cadences that create world class rhythm.
- Do you have 5 clear concrete tiny steps TODAY that move the ball TODAY. Because 5 tiny steps today are 35 tiny clear definite steps this week. The truth is most people live with little focus. You need to construct your own RDF and then start taking daily clear, definite, incremental steps.
And I feel a need to preemptively strike...excuses are already mounting for some of you. But Ron I have little kids, but Ron you don't know my context, but Ron I have no time, but Ron my situation is unique. Again here is what I know, we have no examples of world class being born. They are all made.
Deliberate installation of cadences in your context WITH little kids running around, IS possible. I have yet to meet a person that says they don't have time that also doesn't watch TV, surf the net, or fritter away more than enough time to do the things we are talking about.
And here is the great news. Even if you don’t perfectly see the 10 year plan unfold…you know what I know? You and the world around you will be wildly better for all the steps you took.
There is a whole set of concrete steps that can really help you move from Category 2 to Category 1…from victim to virtuoso. But you have to decide if you are really willing to work.