Solution Saturday: My Head Hurts
I feel so frustrated. I just keep banging my head against the wall.
Any suggestions are appreciated.
Opportunities hinge on personal growth and open handed service.
Sticking points in leadership are about us, not circumstances. Rather than blaming the wall for your hurting head, reflect on personal behaviors, choices, and false beliefs that built the wall.
The wall you’re banging against is about you, not the wall.
- Take a break from banging.
- Stop viewing “the wall” as something to push through.
- Think about growing through. Who is “the wall” asking you to become? What personal qualities and behaviors transform the wall into an opportunity?
What makes you think your future will be different? This question requires specific, behavioral answers. If you can’t answer the question, your future will reflect the present.
- Connect with new people. Pivotal moments are about people, not moments. “Show me your friends and I’ll show you your future.” Craig Groeschel
- Don’t ask them for help, just learn about them. The person is the message.
- Watch for pivotal moments that others experience.
- Listen for their beliefs about themselves.
- Ask them about things they have let go in order to get where they are today.
- Stop doing things that aren’t working. What do you need to stop doing? Stopping is often the most painful part of growing through barriers.
- Read and reflect.
- Adopt a new behavior for a week.
- Reflect on your new behavior.
- What did you try?
- How did it work?
- What did you learn?
- What will you try next week?
- Monitor your energy. What gives you energy? How can you do more of that?
- Set high goals. Even if you fall short, you will get further with high goals.
How might leaders work through head-banging experiences?
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I am learning that resistance is an important call to slow down, take a pause – listen, learn and reflect.
Increasing force as a way through an impasse, only serves to entrench and elevate the resistance. Avoidance, on the other hand, permits problems to persist or opportunities to go unexplored- neither strategy is in the interests of an organization’s long term growth or sustainability.
You are right, the mosr effective, efficient and direct strategy through barriers and resistance is through connection with others- pursued and nurtured through caring and candid conversation. While it may delay the pace or even alter the approach, and takes a measure of humility and patience- co-creating a vision and roadmap with those impacted by it, or at least ensuring its resonance with stakeholders, is essential for the success of any journey tgat involves anyone other than yourself!
Another thoughtful post, Dan!
Thanks Lori. “Increasing force as a way through an impasse, only serves to entrench and elevate the resistance.” Brilliant.
I read the voice of experience between the lines of your comment.
I read the question and wondered what the heck is Dan going to do with this? And of course you came up with a great way to reframe the question and the implied goal.
Can you give an example of a behavior I might adopt for a week?
Thanks James. In general, I continue to see the value of simple, small behavioral change to make a big difference. Thursday, a client told me that taking lunch everyday, rather than working through, is making a huge difference.
Small behaviors might be walking a mile, reading for ten minutes, sending a thank note. I continue to try to connect with new people or an old acquaintance once a week.
What might be applicable to you?
Weird you mention reading. I decided today I want to commit to reading PHYSICAL books that are goal driven in discrete increments each night. So no less than 10 min, no more than 15 min (at first). I’ve built up too much of a backlog of books I want to read but keep just picking at sporadically. and I’m finding I retain better and feel better after reading physical books vs e books
I particularly like the last pivot: “Set high goals. Even if you fall short, you will get further with high goals.” Falling short should only be temporary – until reflecting on what went wrong and revising (or completely changing) the approach.
Thanks for another post worthy of Consideration. We’re all heard and said “Sometimes it better just stopping hitting our heads against the wall.” But that’s quite incomplete: “Stopping provides the opportunity to understand ourselves and the wall, to grow in ways that ‘transform the wall into an opportunity’ as you write!!!
Thanks John. The “high goal” idea was renewed in my own thinking this week. I’m committed to having conversations with people I admire or who are interesting. I decided to put an item on my bucket list – Have a conversation with a sitting or past president of the US. What I found is setting that high goal is making me thinking about conversations and connections in new ways. I may never have a conversation with a president, but, I may have many great conversations on the way. I’m asking myself, what conversations can I have today that take me a little closer to the bucket list goal.
It seems (should it be ‘sadly’?) that the conversations I’d like to have would be with people long gone – Abraham Lincoln, Albert Einstein, Eleanor Roosevelt, Benjamin Franklin, … But you bring up a great point about high goals. That obviously unattainable goal has kept me alert to people I have come to know who have such great stories to tell – all I needed to do was be interested, attentive, and curious. I can immediately think of six people outside of my career passions, engineering and effective learning, with whom I’ve had such phenomenal sessions.
Good morning Dan;
Todays blog reminds me of past circumstances and conversations with the ‘Newly Promoted’ and those who worked under me that aspire to attain promotions & positions of authority. I remind these individuals that values, solid work habits, and the strong personal ethic’s that positioned you for upward mobility may no longer be of use once you get there. Leaders must think BIGGER, they must concider the future while meeting present obligations and demands. You have to consistantly think of others and put thier needs & those of your Organization before your own. Secondly but more importantly, all Leaders ‘must’ adopt a servants heart.
Your comment regarding connecting with new people is ‘very relevant’ Dan. Don’t simply ask for help, (allthough there’s nothing wrong with asking for help), instead sit back, observe & absorb the circumstance facing the Leader in question, “and watch em’ work through it.” Learn from those who exhibit a stlye and approach that you can adopt, and others respect.
WARNING, avoid the trap that many Leaders fall into, it’s called the, “I’m all that syndrome.” This condition falsely convinces it’s victom that you reached the pinacle of sucsess. That you no longer have to push yourself or learn new things. Truth is, those in Leadership positions must remain on the cutting edge of Technological and Theoretical Change. ‘OR’, you can rest on your laurels and watch the competion, (and your career), pass you by.
Todays world changes at break-neck speed. Those who keep up, sucsseed, those who don’t, DON’T !!!
Happy Saturday Dano
Thanks SGT Steve. So much of your comment gives me something to think about. I hate the thought that I’ve had the “I”m all that” attitude. However, when I close my mind, one reason is I think I’m all that. Ouch!
Ask yourself what supports the wall. Is this a set of regulations you have to follow but costs you time and money to comply with. The regs aren’t going to go away, so find a way to comply without killing yourself. If it’s costs, you may be forced to go back to a customer, if it’s time you might have to ask for more staff. These are hard but there’s more flexibility there.
If you set a high goal,examine it carefully. In science we have the quantum theory, where you can go all the way up, or not go up at all. Design your high goals with steps.
Our own attitude and inability to see around our challenges can have a huge impact on our success. Asking the questions that you have listed is a great way to see the challenge in a new light and get back on a more successful path. Thanks for the great article!
Hi. I wonder if there’s value in finding a support system to help you, if you don’t already have that in place. I’ve been in situations where I feel like you do and they drain me; I need someone else to help lift me above the trenches. The idea of even making small changes can be overwhelming if you’re running on empty. Having someone to support you can make all the difference in the world. Best wishes.
Be the water, not the rock.