Have you ever heard the expression “if you think you CAN’T or if you think you CAN”, you’re correct?
For many people, the most difficult word to say is one of the shortest and easiest in the vocabulary: No. Go ahead, say it aloud: No.
No – simple to pronounce, hard to say. We’re afraid people won’t like us, or we feel guilty. We may believe that a “good” employee, child, parent, spouse, or Christian never says no.
The problem is, if we don’t learn to say no, we stop liking ourselves and the people we always try to please. We may even punish others out of resentment.
When do we say no? When no is what we really mean.
When we learn to say no, we stop lying. People can trust us, and we can trust ourselves. All sorts of good things happen when we start saying what we mean.
If we’re scared to say no, we can buy some time. We can take a break, rehearse the word, and go back and say no. We don’t have to offer long explanations for our decisions.
When we can say no, we can say yes to the good. Our no’s and our yes’s begin to be taken seriously. We gain control of ourselves. And we learn a secret: “No” isn’t really that hard to say.
Today, I will say no if that is what I mean.
Something might happen today that upsets you. Someone could be rude, your car might break down, one of your employees might mess something up despite your very detailed instructions. Your natural reaction may be to yell and get angry. It’s just instinctive.
But, although it’s “natural” doesn’t mean it’s a great idea. A great Roman, Marcus Aurelius, observed, “how much more harmful are the consequences of anger…than the circumstances that aroused them in us.”
Getting angry might make you feel better for a brief second, but will it actually solve the problem? Of course not. Arguing with a rude person only invites them to be rude for a longer period. Getting angry over car trouble doesn’t fix the car, but it will raise your blood pressure. Dressing down the employee who screwed up? Now they’ll either resent you or they’ll be more likely to mess up again in the future because they’re nervous and self-conscious and – maybe – embarrassed if others heard the exchange.
Quick, think for a moment about the worst boss you ever worked for.
Most people would say, their worst boss was much more preoccupied with themselves than on leading them. They likely were someone who didn’t support you, didn’t seek or value your ideas, and didn’t treat you with respect. They probably didn’t get the best work from you, either. Working for jerks doesn’t do much a person’s motivation and morale.
Having worked with many leaders over the years, I’m convinced that leaders who focus more on “the troops” have far greater success than those who focus on themselves. I’ve also seen this many times: the more self-absorbed a leader is, the more likely it is that he or she will experience a humbling failure.
The more successful leaders in the military or business are servant-leaders. Instead of treating “their troops” as resources who do work for them, leaders look to be a resource for them:
- They collaborate with them to set goals.
- They remove barriers to their performance.
- They provide skill-stretching assignments and training opportunities.
- They give them air cover when pressure comes down from above.
Leadership, in other words, is not about you; it’s about them.
The fastest way to great results is taking a genuine and active interest in helping others succeed. When you focus on using your leadership for the good of others, you take a genuine interest in getting to know their needs, goals, aspirations, and gifts.
“Tomorrow is only found in the calendar of fools.”
— Og Mandino
“Tomorrow” is magic. We put off starting that important project today, because we just know that it will go better with a fresh start tomorrow.
We just know that we’ll have more energy, motivation, will power and time tomorrow.
But just like any kind of magic, tomorrow is an illusion. Because it never comes. The next morning when you wake up, it’s today once more and if things aren’t exactly right you’ll start convincing yourself that tomorrow things will be better…and on and on it goes.
In today’s world, things rarely go exactly as planned. We’re always dealing with something that we didn’t expect or plan on. So start those projects today rather than waiting for the perfect “tomorrow” that never comes.
Angst – a funny little word. Only its not funny at all. Whenever it happens to you, go ahead and get ready. Something awful is about to happen.
Webster defines angst as, “A feeling of deep anxiety or dread.”
Sometimes, you don’t have a choice. Angst will certainly show up. Hearing test results from a doctor … meeting with a team member that is no longer on the team … waiting for the ferris wheel while being laughed at by your kids because you are afraid of heights (worse than that is lying on the floor of the Ferris wheel because your kids like to rock it back and forth).
When these things happen, I try to remember that worry and dread never change anything.
However, sometimes angst shows up because I invited it into my world.
Those times, I believe that angst follows a lack of preparation and discipline on my part.
Conversely, I never worry over a test when I know all the answers going in. Marathons scare me when I know I have trained properly. Public speaking brings no fear when I prepare and I know my content inside & out. But try those scenarios with a lack of preparation and angst will be there.
If you find yourself full of angst, ask yourself why. Maybe you are causing some of it yourself. Make disciplined preparation a high priority and angst will leave town.
“I’m not in this world to live up to your expectations and you’re not in this world to live up to mine.”
— Bruce Lee
We all have expectations of other people in our lives. Unmet expectations can cause serious problems in our relationships. Maybe we would be better off without having any expectations in our lives but to do that, it will no doubt take a lot of time.
Today I want to share with you a tool that you can implement immediately.
Beginning today, try to find out what expectations people think you have of them. Sit down and simply ask them, “What do you think I expect out of you in our relationship?” Try it with your spouse or significant other. Their answers may stun you and maybe they are completely inaccurate of what it is you actually do expect out of them. This will give you the chance to clear those up.
Let me know how this turns out, I’d love to hear from you.
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