Recently, I invited a highly regarded international coach to help 14 CEOs and 13 executives become more productive. His tools and ideas were practical and members agreed that his practices would certainly lead to more focus and better results.
However, another significant issue surfaced – they shared that in their past attempts to improve habits, something prevented them from sustaining their desired change. They felt captive to unproductive patterns. Habits are styles of feeling, perception or action that have become second nature to us.
Several years ago, I experienced a significant financial setback that caused me to reexamine what was important. How did I want to experience my life? Although painful, this setback was valuable because it opened me to new possibilities.
For a CEO or manager forecasting is a necessary skill but having the capacity to find rich meaning in surprise is even more valuable. Ever had an angry customer knock on your door, how did you react? When a key employee departs, how did you feel? When a spouse/partner tells you to change, what commentary takes place in your mind?
The way I receive an experience governs its value and my capacity to experience life will expand, contract, or remain static, depending on how self-aware I am.
Most of what’s important is invisible. For instance, beliefs about the people around us determine how we receive them and they us. Emotions drive feelings, thoughts form patterns; thinking patterns and reactions drive actions.
For many, perception and reality are distant cousins.
Having worked and lived internationally, I know that two anchors drive the American experience. First, we live in a culture of production and consumption that tells us to see ourselves through functionalism (how well we perform determines how happy we are).
Second, coursing through the depths of our souls and well below our desires are deep authentic currents of longing. This longing goes mostly unacknowledged and unlived, but never goes away. To survive we numb it with more activity, more words, new things, or another glass of wine.
As I write this post on my workstation, my tablet screen says “almost ready”. Many leaders live in a place of “almost ready”. Their beliefs tell them, “When my company becomes…then I’ll enjoy my life,” or “When my partner changes things will be better,” or “When my spouse quits…I will be happy,” or “When I have a liquidity event I can enjoy life”.
From inside your own life, it is nearly impossible to see the outside shape of your life. That’s why we need friends. Real friendship is a powerful presence in helping you grow through the patterns that rob you of life.
Our Vistage CEO and Key manager program forms deep friendship among peers that help make the invisible visible and gently transform life and leadership. There is no need to be stuck waiting.
Are you ready? I’d love to hear from you. Jim@peer-place.com