When things aren’t going right, the most important thing you can do is slow down, go deep, and figure out why.
Finding time to think – creating the opportunity to think – is essential for leaders. When things get tough, when our response is the most important, we must slow down to think. We must find time to “get our minds right” to answer the question, “What is required of me?”
Without question, this is a skill that must be developed. When things aren’t going right finding ways to slow things down – finding ways to press pause – it a skill that requires practice.
Mental reps . . . planning ahead in our minds . . . is essential in preparation for these situation. Sometimes having your critical friends, those “go to” people in your life, are part of your thinking process. For me, at a personal level, it is a combination of self-talk and critical friends when things get tough. My accountability partners know me . . . they assist to bring clarity and focus when I fall below the line. Then, after those critical conversations, I am able to think deeper and engage in better mental reps with intentionality and purpose.
When you have an irate parent in your office, how do you listen with compassion and create an opportunity to press pause?
When a colleague or supervisor is critical of your performance, or gives a directive that is counter to your core beliefs, how do you respond?
When the plans you’ve been developing for months, working to build consensus to implement, seemingly fall short of your expectations, what is your R?
You must create mental reps . . . time to think, prepare, and practice as self-talk. For Ohio State this is “competitive excellence” – it prepares every player to step-up when his number is called. For us, competitive excellence is being ready for any situation because we have mentally rehearsed it. We plan to overcome adversity.
Find what works for you, what slows you down and takes you to a deeper, more focused level of thought. We all fail; we all will act below the line from time to time. When you fail, fail forward. Learn, grow, and pursue excellence! It’s our growth mindset at work.
E+R= O works with all stations in our lives. It is simple, but not easy. It takes commitment . . . living Above the Line is a life choice.