HAVE YOU EVER NOTICED HOW SEEMINGLY REALLY SMART PEOPLE CAN APPEAR TO MAKE DUMB DECISIONS?

Are you like me and ever wondered, why on earth did I do that? Or you watch a smart person engage in something and think – wow how can they think that is going to end well?

Sometimes being smart gets in our own way. Now I’m not saying don’t be smart. Please be smart.  What I am saying however, is that we as smart people can get caught up in making not so smart decisions and acting in ways that are well, illogical and unhelpful.

This is not a shame and blame post.  This is a post explaining why we as smart people – after all many of you reading this post have a university degree or two – will make seemingly silly, illogical or just plain dumb decisions.

This month I want to talk into the need we have to identify our personal risks and triggers when it comes to cultivating a Mindset for Success.  For the past 3 months, I have been talking into all things cultivating a Mindset for success.  Here’s snap shot of what I have discussed so far:

·      May was the month of Understanding YOU; getting clear on what drives us and how this compels us to make seemingly unhelpful decisions, and also helps us to understand why some decisions that need to be made make us feel so uncomfortable.

·      June was the month of establishing your criteria for success.  Too many of us are wandering around without a concrete definition of what success looks like for us.  We have a pretty clear idea of what failure looks like, but not of what success looks like or feels like.  Knowing what your criteria for success is, means you will be able to cut away the things that are not serving you, and remain focused on what is going to get you to your definition of success.

·      July was all about self-sabotage and how this turns up for us.  This was a pretty heavy hitting month of posts helping us to explore what it is we really need to stop, and why we might be engaging in self-sabotaging behaviours.

It’s all well and good to have this new knowledge and new self-awareness, but what on earth do we do with it?

Each person is unique, we know this right?   We celebrate this uniqueness in our clients and many of you who read my blogs and posts will have an opinion like me, that we can’t process out or systematise a person’s experience of their healing because every person is unique.

We all accept that we could have 2 people come to us for intervention – both the same gender, the same age, the same social factors, the same diagnosis. However, their recovery will be completely different.  COMPLETELY different.  Every person is unique.

The same thing occurs for us when we are uncovering our own triggers and risk factors for self-sabotage, for what keeps us small, fearful and often paralysed.  Just because one thing triggers me, it doesn’t mean it will trigger you.  And vice versa.  I am often coaching my practice building clients to review their own triggers especially when crises, speed humps or discomfort arises. We need to ask, “what is going on here?”.

Let me share an example with you.

I have an incredibly high need for certainty.  If I don’t feel certain I feel scared, and I will work and work and work at things until I arrive at a sense of certainty.  Most of the time this serves me really well, because we all know that most things will take at least 10 x the effort we originally thought (thanks Mr Grant Cardone).

However, this need for certainty can actually be detrimental for me and the growth of my business.

·      A team member might make an error and my immediate reaction is to sigh, swear and go, I’ll just fix it. After all, if I do it, it will be done properly.

·      I will keep going and going and working and working at something even when there is no discernible ROI, just because I want it to work damn it.

·      And I will start planning for another service delivery or income stream in my business because I’m bored, frustrated and annoyed that I have something else to “fix”.

All those behaviours help me to feel certain.  Certain that I am in control and that I can fix whatever needs fixing.  It removes me from relying on others. It removes me from developing my team, and as you can read, it creates an environment where the entire world comes crashing down on my shoulders and then I get tired, sick and want to quit.

So, it’s obvious that my need for certainty can fall into being a really unhelpful pattern of behaviour.

Certainty isn’t the greatest need for everyone.  But it is a need for everyone.  For others, their greatest need might be Variety or Significance or Connection.  If these look familiar they would be.  These are the top 4 of what Anthony Robbins calls the 6 Core Needs.

The problem is too many of us become aware of what our needs are, what our behaviour is like. But we don’t spend the time working out what our triggers are, and how our triggers put into effect unhelpful behaviour that leads to a mindset that is unhelpful, unproductive, and keeps us small and scared – but safe!

And it is not enough to simply have a rational, intelligent approach to uncovering our personal risks and triggers. We have this marvelous school of thought called Neuro science that helps us to understand why we, as rational, intelligent human beings can often make illogical, irrational decisions and act in ways that feel like they are beyond our control – because in some sense they are beyond our control.

I love this quote from Stanley B. Prusiner:

Neuroscience is by far the most exciting branch of science because the brain is the most fascinating object in the universe. Every human brain is different – the brain makes each human unique and defines who he or she is.

Dr Prusiner is an MD and an America neurologist and bio chemist.  He is also a Nobel prize winner (actually he has won a lot of prizes).

So, if we know that every person is different, and we expect and celebrate this when we are working with our clients, then conversely, we need to be aware of our own unique triggers that will impact us in our life, our work and in our business building.

I’ll ask the question now – do you know what is a trigger or two for you?  For many, many people it’s a lack of cash or a perceived lack of cash.  For others, it a perceived lack of clients; and yet for others it’s a feeling of being overwhelmed and out of control.

Let me share a simple mapping exercise for you.  Think back to a time when you went – well that wasn’t really helpful.  Can you reverse engineer what was going on?

·      Start with the outcome. What was the end result (this is supposed to be a result you didn’t want or don’t like)?

·      How were you behaving (i.e. what were you actually doing) to achieve that result?

·      What were you thinking to let you behave in that way?

·      What were you feeling (because the feelings came fist let me assure you of that) before you started thinking before you started behaving?

·      And what event, thought, fear, THING started this whole dynamic off?  This will give you amazing insight into a Trigger or Triggers for you.

I encourage you to take the time to do this and reflect on your behaviour.  If you genuinely want to see change that leads to sustainable growth, then you will need to identify your triggers.  Once we know they are there, we can plan for how we want to deal with them when we are confronted by them.

Next week I am going to share with you how we can use neuroscience to our advantage and to demonstrate how logic and intellect isn’t enough to make the lasting behaviour change we are looking for.

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