Sometimes perfection is required and good enough is often, good enough. The vast majority of car drivers are reasonably good at driving forward and just good enough at backing up so they can parallel park. Why aren't people better at driving in reverse? Because the amount of time spent doing it is so small compared to driving forward that it's not worth the investment. A driver really only needs reverse to set themselves up to drive forward. How many people chase perfection when all they needed was to parallel park?
You are what you call yourself
I've done plenty of fitness programs and lifestyle eating programs that call for a rigid 6-day eating plan with the 7th a 'cheat day' where you can eat anything you want. The only thing more harmful for your longtime fitness goals than calling this a cheat day is calling it a, "you're a piece of shit day." You are what you call yourself. So if you call your plan (and by extension yourself) a cheat long enough, your system starts to believe it can only succeed by being dishonest. And then you cheat on your cheat day because your system thinks you're already dishonest so what's the harm? Your system literally self-sabotages your actions so they match what you say about yourself and eventually the wheels fall off the truck and you're shotgunning ice cream sandwiches while watching Wheel of Fortune reruns on a Wed.
You need that 7th day to give your willpower a chance to recharge. Call it a free day, me day, eat day, or Sunday. Anything but a cheat day, because it's not.
Good stories tell you what emotion you should have and when. They are commanding and prescriptive. Go buy this product. You'll feel happy when you read this book. March this way. That doesn't make them bad, and they are less memorable. Why? Because humans (whether they realize it or not) care about having their own emotions, that they think of, and this emotion was provided courtesy the U.S. Army, et. al.
Great stories compel you to have your own emotion that just happens to coincide with the emotion the storyteller intended you to have. These stories are inviting and generative. They invite us in and ask us to experience emotions of our own free will, that we then just have to share on the Internet or in-person or we'll explode. So why do we do that even though we have no financial interest in whatever we experienced? All humans (wether they realize it or not), have a need to be vulnerable. It's in our DNA. And telling stories is a way we get to share an emotion we had, which is being vulnerable btw, with someone in a way that's comfortable for us. We are so excited by the story that we literally cannot keep ourselves from sharing it with others. So, sorry to break it to you and that last time you talked to your buddies at the bar about how great the Spiderman movie was....you were being vulnerable. A couple of people figured this out 6000 years ago and now we have an entire advertising industry co-opting this premise.
Good leaders tell good stories. Great leaders tell great stories. Which stories are you practicing?
I find that leadership skills and competencies are sometimes over-complexified by people trying to sell a product. The reality is that leadership comes down to one thing, practice. Within that practice are two distinctions regarding leadership competencies. First is that everyone is a leader, even if only of themselves. Second, that there are no leadership competencies, only life competencies that leaders use. Drawing a distinction between competency buckets solidifies the mistaken belief that humans make life easier by compartmentalizing work and personal, when it actually makes life harder.
Humans have only one brain, one body, one self. When a person tries to compartmentalize, they lose access to their wholeness or whole “ness.” Ness being essence, soul, or spirit. Compartmentalizing results in a decrease in possible actions in the moment because the actions can only be accessed from another compartment that is offline. Emotions in the workplace are a common example.
The Life Competencies I use with clients:
If you want to be a more effective leader, that's what you want to practice.
How many times has someone said, "That's wrong. Do it the right way instead." The conversation is as old as human language. I'm sure an Egyptian architect stood around 4000 years ago debating with the pharaoh if the stone monuments should be cubes or pyramids. The pharaoh insisted he was right for wanting cubes because that's what the pharaoh before him had (though much smaller) and wouldn't take no for an answer. The architect wanted pyramids. They were at a standoff.
They both claim to be right and are trying to change the other's behavior.
The architect saw all this and remembered the hieroglyphic his coach recently provided. He shifted to an easy vs. hard conversation with the pharaoh. He relayed that a pyramid will be a lot easier to build because it requires quarrying less stone, for lower labor costs, and will be built faster. The pharaoh, like most people, wasn't about to take a hard action once he saw the easier option was so much, well, easier! He dropped his defensive posture and breathed. And the architect was not fed to the lions.
Right vs. Wrong:
-Shuts down conversation
-Creates a winner (right) vs loser (wrong) construct
-Creates an adversarial relationship
-Creates constriction and defensiveness
Easy vs. Hard:
-Invites expansion and openness
-More possibilities for action
Right/wrong creates a fight. Easy/hard creates a conversation.
Everything in life is a practice
Everything in life is a practice. The more you do something the easier it becomes. Think about driving a car. When a person first learns to drive, they have to really focus on the steps; hands at 10 & 2, check mirrors, turn key, put car in gear, etc. Now as an adult you jump in the car and go. That's because the person has done the steps enough times that they are now what we call embodied. The practice has percolated down from the head into the tissues of the body just like rain water falling on grass goes down into the soil.
Unfortunately this same process is at work with practices that don't serve us; alcoholism, hot temper, and time on the Internet to name a few. And we have a choice to do that practice or not. It might be challenging to change and it can be done. All it takes in practice. What are you practicing and is it serving you?
Mike Coe. Transition, Creativity, and Leadership Coach