Tom Asacker, author of The Business of Belief who has appeared on one of our recordings, reached out to me last week and asked me to view his new TedxCambridge talk that they posted on YouTube (about 15 min). He wanted me to let him know what I thought. When he received my notes about how great I thought it was, we decided that having a phone conversation about the ideas contained in the talk and my research could benefit participants we’ve been working with at Cortex Leadership and you.
TAKE A WAY: People don’t change because they think they SHOULD. They change because they have a desire to. There is a flaw, Tom says, in the metaphor that our brains are like computers. They’re not. We are human BEINGS and because of that we feel things and those feelings play a major role in what actions we take.
At the heart of our discussion was the question:
We both agreed that people are who they think they are based on the stories they tell themselves. We also agreed with the growing research that 95% of the time people are on auto-pilot and don’t even know they are acting out of habit in an unconscious manner. People are running from one task to the next, one email to the following one, a Facebook post to the next one, dinner and then pick the kids up from softball practice, endlessly without taking time to really think about what that inner voice is telling them. It’s not until something super painful happens that they WAKE UP.
A focus of the work that both of us are doing seems to be to make the unconscious, conscious. You can’t change what you don’t know you need to change. You can’t stop what you don’t even know you are doing that is holding you back from reaching your desired outcomes. Staying in a fixed mindset will continue to give you the results you’ve always gotten. Moving to an open one and focusing on your deepest desires will allow you to experience change in a much more successful way.
To discover what you think your personal identity is, try asking yourself these questions:
- Who am I?
- Is it who I think I should be?
- Why do I think that?
- Did someone tell or train me to think that?
- Have I intentionally become who I am?
- Which people, places and things do I most identify with?
- Who and what makes me feel the most uncomfortable?
- At what level of achievement or failure do I begin to self-sabotage through destructive or unhealthy behaviors?
- During the last major change I tried to undertake, on the worst days or times, could I answer the question, “Why must I suffer?”
- Do you know what you really want and why you want it?
Discovering who you are and what drives you can be the first step in deciding what it is you really want. Your identity is not a goal. Your identity is the rudder that guides you through life and it will be what helps you navigate situations and conversations you have as a leader.
THINK ABOUT THIS: Your team members will only be truly motivated to change if they have a desire to and that desire is linked to their identity and personal truth. Learning to listen to what they desire and the experiences they have had can lead to assisting you and them to discovering what motivates their actions.
All of this is why I do not have six-pack abs. I look at people who have them and know what they go through to get them. When I have a choice to eat a piece of carrot cake or chocolate or ice cream or stop exercising after only 30 minutes I can not answer the question for myself, “Why must I suffer?” I just don’t desire those 6-pack abs that much. I also don’t have any idea how my life would improve when I obtained them. This is not to disparage, in any way, my friends that have amazing physiques, it’s only to say that my identity and therefore my desire is not in alignment with that accomplishment. There’s lots of items on my bucket list, though, and my deep desire to be a better person and executive coach drives me to be disciplined each day to move towards them.
An important question to ask yourself is, “Who can you see yourself becoming and are you willing to tap into your deepest desire to become that person?”
I was lucky enough to facilitate a leadership training at Averett University last week. The leaders of the university demonstrated the type of commitment to an open mindset and collaboration through teamwork that was truly inspiring. The desire to change for the purpose of serving their students to be successful is modeled daily by their President, Tiffany Franks. The trust and respect her team has in her was exhibited throughout the day. It was an honor and privilege to be a part of their teambuilding day! Thank you, Tiffany, Kathie, Thom, and the entire group for having me. Also, I wanted to give a shout-out of appreciation to Joey Carleno who is always a great support for the work we are doing here at Cortex.