Three Simple Steps to Change

June 4, 2010

Change always invites a little drama, even when you want the change.  Just a few weeks ago I received my new computer and to go with it, new software, Windows 7.   As excited as I was, and as committed to the change as I was, it was still frustrating. I was slow to find things. I felt impatient and nervous getting used to the new look.  This is an example of a change that I wanted but still I had a lot of resistance around the learning curve.  Another change I created in my life is the commitment to being more “green.” 

I started recycling and made a decision to use those cloth bags at the grocery store.  But what happend the first month?  The intention was there but the action was not. The cloth bags never made it out of the passenger seat of my car for over a month, until I decided to course-correct.

Every time I went to the store, I made a secret vow that even if I was half way through the check out line, I would make myself go back to the car to retrieve the bags.  Yes, it was uncomfortable if not slightly embarassing, but the discomfort helped me create a new habit.  Now I understand that there are three steps to facilitating positive change.

1. Become aware
2. Create a new habit
3. Course-correct

Become aware
You first have to become aware that you need a change. Whether your change is out of a need, such as purchasing a new computer and new software system, or out of a desire to be a better citizen of the earth. The first step is awareness.

Create a habit
Desire and awareness alone does nothing without a plan of action.  To implement change, you must develop a new habit so you start reprogramming your brain until it becomes second nature. Otherwise,  you will have good intentions but no real change.  At first it will be difficult. You will have to think about what you are doing, over and over until one day it comes naturally.  This is the act of going from conscious competence to unconscious competence.

Course-correct
Even though it is now a habit, your old programming will kick in and surprise you.  After a year of using cloth bags, one day you still leave your bags on the passenger seat.  Six months after using Windows 7 you still can’t find the command you have used thousands of times.  After eating all the right foods you go on a binge. That is why you must course-correct. Don’t be hard on yourself and create more drama.  Just make the correction and now you have sort of done what I call a “back-stitch.”  You have sewn in the new habit and now it is stronger.

Yes, change always invites a little discomfort.  The key to getting through change is to develop new habits and this comes through training.

Advertisements

Fire Fighter Training. . .When Bad Drama Happens to Good Process

March 14, 2010

Guest Article by Beth Schneider

One moment I’m rehearsing and preparing for a teleclass where I was the guest expert. The next minute, my computer screen goes black. The computer starts making a weird beeping noise and all I’ve got are blinking lights and characters that don’t make any sense.

I frantically push buttons as I realize I’m supposed to “go on” in 10 minutes. Not only have I lost my script, but the call-in number to the teleclass and the contact number for the person running the class are locked in the depths of my now useless computer.

AAGGGGHHH.

Sometimes even the best laid plans can unexpectedly blow up in your face and birth a crisis.

People make mistakes, technology breaks down, “drama” happens. We’ve all been there when the panic sets in and all rationale hits the road. Trust me I know from personal experience.

The key to handling a crisis or what we sometimes refer to as a fire, is to become a Fire Fighter. Take a look at the steps I used to extinguish this fire. Then incorporate them into your routine so that you can be a Fire Fighter when bad “drama” happens to your good process.

Step 1: It’s OK to feel
When I realized that my blinking computer wasn’t going to recover I yelled a long list of expletives at it, pounded on it one more time and then got to work. Don’t ignore your emotions. Be mad, sad, frustrated, scared, etc. The key here is to feel these emotions, not dump them on all the people around you. When the problem hits, close your office door and rant all you want, go outside, make a phone call to a sympathetic uninvolved ear, something to let out the feelings so that they can pass and you can focus.

Screaming at the people around you or the person who made the mistake is NOT going to help.

Step 2: Focus on a Solution
I needed a solution, fast! My heart was pounding. I was sweating. I had 8 minutes to recreate my script and somehow get the phone numbers I needed to actually dial in to the teleclass. I took a deep breath, calmed down and started brainstorming. I had a choice. I could focus and create a solution or jump up and down and have a temper tantrum. Former New York Mayor, Rudy Giuliani once said that his father told him the key to problem solving was to be the calmest person in the room. Yes, this is sometimes difficult, but by being calm, you can start to focus on a solution to the problem rather than the problem itself. And isn’t the goal to get a solution in place?

Step 3: Form a Plan and Get Going
With 6 minutes to go, I had a plan. As I phoned my Dad, I prayed he was home sitting in front of his computer. He was! First, I had him pull the phone number of the person facilitating the teleclass from their website. Then I had him register for the class so he would get the auto responder sign-in info. Phone numbers, yeah! While he was surfing, I opened my files and pulled a script from one of my live speaking events. Not quite the same program, but something to improvise from. My blood pressure was starting to return to normal.

Once you are able to focus, put a general plan of action into place so you know where you are going and not simply running in circles. Even though it may seem like there is “no time”, stop and think. Determine what immediate actions you have to take to keep your head above water.

Step 4: Get Help
I started thinking about who would have immediate access to a computer. My Dad was the first person I thought of. If he hadn’t been there, I would have gone to my Brother. Then to anyone else I could think of who I knew had a good chance of being in front of a computer.

Get the right people working with you. Figure out an expert who might be able to help or offer advice. Find a colleague who may have already been there, done that. Pull people off other projects if you need extra hands. See if there is something you can buy that will help.

If your house was burning down, would you want a fire fighter or a plumber? Do what it takes to get the resources you need.

Step 5: Recap
I called in to the teleclass in just the nick of time. It was a huge success and no one was the wiser. Wwwwhhhheeeewwwww.

Now I have a paper file of teleclass scripts, just in case. I also have a running log of teleclass call-in numbers, just in case. I have a system in place to ensure this never happens again. When the dust clears, revisit what just happened. Where did the breakdown occur? How could it be prevented in the future? If it might happen again, what should the plan be?

Fires happen all the time. It’s how you prepare and deal with those fires that make or break the amount of damage that is done. You can be your own best Fire Fighter.

====================================================

Beth Schneider, President of Process Prodigy Inc., www.processprodigy.com, along with her team of highly sought after operations consultants, reveal the insider secrets billion-dollar corporations pay thousands of dollars for. Specializing in process creation, Process Prodigy tools and techniques have helped entrepreneurs increase productivity by as much as 600%, and revenues by as much as 250%. Visit www.processprodigy.com/ezine and grab your FREE systems starter kit valued at $297.00.


Master Your Energy: Where are you starting from?

February 24, 2010

You’ve surely had an instance where you left a meeting feeling resentful. Or you’ve had a conversation that caught you totally off guard, or you gave a gift that was not appreciated and you ended upfeeling unappreciated. Or you gave a pitch to a client only to leave feeling totall misunderstood.

You will always think the issue is about the other person, but the reality is, it is always about you and your energy. It is about where you are starting from. 

You  had a hidden motive, you had an agenda or an expectation you were unaware of.

If you could visualize energy as having a starting place, you can eliminate a whole lot of drama and disappointment. You visualize this and realize that you are always starting from some sort of energy and that energy is either positive or negative.

In other words, before every communication, interaction, or activity, you come from some place.  You either come from

  • Desperation
  • Excitement
  • Anticipation
  • Dread
  • Hope
  • Need for approval
  • Intention to manipulate or control

You’ve surely experienced this on the other side of the fence. A friend comes to you and says, I just want to get your feedback, but when you give it,  your friend gets angry, feels insulted or tries to convince you to change your mind. What your friend really wanted was approval, not your advice.

The more clear you are about your intention, the less drama you will feel toward the outcome, and the less need you will have to get agreement, change someone else’s mind,  or make someone else wrong. 

One of my favorite spiritual authors, Gary Zukav says, if you are not sure about your intention before an interaction you will be clear about it afterwards.

Clearing your energy is all about knowing your intention in advance and eliminating the possible integrity gap of having two competing intentions.


What Employees Won’t Tell You

February 19, 2010

I worked for over twenty years on the factory floor doing everything from production work on the lines to sanitation to driving a forklift. I left that world to pursue a professional speaking career. I finished two college degrees and continue to study what I already knew from my 20 plus years on the factory floor. On the factory floor, employee relationships can either make or break productivity, working for you or against you. I learned that bosses either encourage and support productivity or discourage and hamper productivity.

I also learned that one key component in any kind of drama is relationships. The way you view your co-workers, your boss, your employees has everthing to do with your ability to work as a team and to enjoy your work.

March is Stop Your Drama Month. I’m going to be answering all kinds of “drama questions” and giving away free resources to those who manage others.

To get your free resources, just sign up here!

If you are an employee and you have some insights, feel free to leave your post. If you are a manager with suggestions, please do the same.


Five Questions to Help You Release Resistance

October 7, 2009

I often talk about releasing resistance as part 7 of my Stop Your Drama Methodology. So, what is resistance? It is the non acceptance of what is.

Resistance shows up in complaints, excuses and regrets,  not to mention mind drama. You can hear resistance when someone says, “yes but…” or when someone talks about what “should” have happened or how life is not fair.  Much of the time resistance is a reaction to unwanted change or to the perception of losing control.

Even with this  checklist, resistance is still very difficult to recognize.

Most of us are totally unaware of getting trapped in resistance patterns because it’s so natural. Even when opportunities come or good things happen we often resist.

Here’s an example. I had a national speaking engagement and was set up for about 40 people; however my topic was apparently of interest to about 120 people.

Once the meeting planner saw that the room was over-flowing, without giving me much notice, he announced, “We are changing your session to meet in the big ball room.”

My immediate reaction was resistance:  “No! We can just move extra chairs in here.”

“There’s not enough room,” he said as he grabbed my computer and headed out the hall and down the elevator.

My resistant thought patterns were

  • But…I have done so much work and now it’s for nothing
  • I won’t be able to do the games and interactions in a big room
  • We should just stick to the plans
  • I didn’t prepare for a general session (in other words, it’s not fair to change things without lots of notice.)

As you can see, I was trapped into resistance because I was so attached to the picture I had in my mind. I was also attached to all the hard work of setting up a room for a mini-workshop and immediately I had to switch my mind to general session.

For people who are not speakers, there is a big difference in the delivery of a general session versus a breakout session.

Then, I realized the gift I was being given. I was attracting triple the number of audience members, yet my initial reaction was one of resistance.

Here is a checklist to help you recognize resistance.

  1. How often do you shoot down an idea with the word, “but”
  2. What are you so attached to that you fail to see opportunities?
  3. What could be good about the changes you are facing?
  4. Are you willing to be flexible to work as a team?
  5. What do you have to do to enable yourself to see the good even in the chaos of unexpected change?

Join me for the upcoming virtual training on how to release resistance!


Three Times to Avoid Giving Advice

August 29, 2009

Nothing creates more drama than giving advice to someone who doesn’t want it or isn’t ready.  More drama happens when you feel such an urge to give advice that is not accepted or respected.  Before giving advice, consider your intentions and look at these three instances where it is best to avoid advice-giving altogether.

1. Never give advice to someone who is visibly angry.
Most of the time people just want agreement or social proof that they are right. Wait until they cool down and make sure they ask for your advice.

2. Never give advice to someone who is extremely happy
If someone is extremely happy with their new book, their new idea, or a new decision, now is not the time to give advice. Most likely they just want your admiration, respect or approval and they are not really open to your critique or suggestions.  Unless you are a paid coach, or are extremely good at asking questions wait until their energy is a little more even keel, otherwise you’ll just be known as the one who popped their bubble.

3. Never give fashion advice unless someone asks for it.
Fashion is a matter of opinion. What business is it of yours if someone wants to wear bleached blonde hair? Unless they bring it up, or unless you are their boss and their job is at stake, keep your opinions to yourself.

Much of the time people just want agreement or support, when they say they want your opinion or feedback. Understand the difference between opinions and advice. Most of the time we pass off our opinions as if it was sacred advice. When people need advice, they will ask for it or pay for it.  If you feel that you must give your unsolicited advice, at least warn the person by asking for permission, then they won’t be blindsided.

Most of the time advice-giving is nothing more than rescuing and manipulation. A good way to know if you have been rescuing is when someone has not taken  your advice and you get angry. It means you are more attached to the other person changing than they are.


Snapshot of Resistance

June 25, 2009

The word “Resistance” is new in the business world.  The definition I use is any negativity or “non-acceptance of what is.”   Here’s an easy visual. Feel free to share it with your team, your boss and your associates.

You and your team are in a rowboat productively rowing to the island called profits. Then, the boat springs a leak.

Rower #1 says, “Who’se fault is it anyway?”

Rower #2 says, “I knew this would happen! This sucks!”

Rower #3 says, “I fixed it last time and I’m not doing it this time.”

Rower #4 says, “It is your fault, Rower #2. I warned you to check out the boat.”

Rower #2 says, “Yes, and I told you that you chose the wrong boat maker to begin with.”

Rower #3 says, “I’m stupid to trust any of you to do what you are supposed to do.”

Rower #1 says, “You are all idiots and this is not fair, but let me fix it anyway.

Then Rower #1 thinks says secretly to himself, “I will fix it but I will never help again. I am not willing to row any harder, I am not willing to give any second chances and I have a right to feel how I feel.

This is resistance.  Productivity is lost. Tempers flair. Fingers point. Instead of plugging the leak, pitching in, working as a team, and looking at the systems, resistance got the best of the rowers. Is resistance getting the best of you? Where would you be without your drama?

Join me for the Release Resistance Training at www.stopyourdrama.us.