Getting Better

It’s Hard To See The Picture When You Are In The Frame

It’s August….the heat has let up for now….it’s not raining today…  Whatever the reason, I thought I would do some self-assessment this week.   If you read my blogs, you know I believe self-improvement is critical in anyone’s life.  You know I read motivating books and magazines, and listen to positive tapes.  (if you don’t know, you can click Books on Personal Development in the top Menu).

Recently, I attended a leadership boot camp.  For my company, boot camp means honest talk and guidance to get you to the next level in your personal development; to get you out of your comfort zone so you will become a better person, a better leader.  As Tim Ferriss, author of The 4-Hour Workweek, says, “The most important actions are never comfortable.”   Now, I have known the  boot camp trainers/mentors for several years and I have seen them evolve into better people, better leaders.  I listened as they talked about the books they read and the tapes they listened to during their journey.  I listened as they talked about experiences they had during during their journey.  Well, I   read the same books and listen to the same tapes.  And, I was surprised to learn that I have experienced the same things they have.  But, I don’t feel like I am evolving.  In fact, I feel stuck.  Why, I asked myself.  What was missing?  What was wrong?

In reflecting, some thoughts came to mind.   Was applying the leadership principles I learned uncomfortable?  Yes, acting differently, displaying new leadership behavior, was indeed uncomfortable; it took me out of my comfort zone.  But, I’ve adjusted my behavior before with success.  I once met a guy who was 1/2 inch shorter than me (stop laughing..it was traumatic for me).  My height didn’t bother him at all. (yes, in retrospect I know the problem was with me) I really liked him and wanted to date him without feeling weird so I changed my thinking from “he’s shorter than me” to “he’s not as tall as me”.  After a while, I didn’t notice his height even when I wore heels.  Zero weirdness.  So,  I can get out of my comfort zone because I have done so in the past and without bleeding to death.  Hmmm….                                                

Was I afraid of what the people I around me would say about me?  I was.  But, then I realized the people around me are actively encouraging me to become better, to go higher.  They wouldn’t see my new leadership habits and behaviors as something to be ridiculed.   In fact, they would copy it so they could become better also!   Besides, I would still be me….just a better version.  And then it hit me –  there was a group of people around me when I started acting “different”, but they disassociated themselves from me on their own for whatever reason.   This means as I become a better person, the people around me will always be accepting of my leadership habits and behaviors because they will always be like-minded.  So, I can consistently display new habits and behaviors because I have done so in the past and without bleeding to death.   Hmmm….

I am a Christian (if you missed that, you can read my inaugural post).  I remembered when I first started reading the Bible regularly, I just read. Then slowly over time, I began to apply the principles in the Bible.  At first, I had to consciously remember to apply them like when you are learning ballroom dancing and you count the steps.  But now, applying what I read is normal for me.  I do it without thinking; it has become second-nature.  Hmmm…… Then I recalled the words of Greg Provenzano, a great leader in these times.  He said, “It’s hard to see the picture when you are in the frame.”  His point was when you are changing into a better person, you can’t see the changes; other people can.  You think you are the same or stagnate because the changes are becoming so much a part of who you are.  You feel normal which is good.  Hmmm……

Don’t get me wrong.  I have incorporated some of the leadership habits and behaviors into my behavior, but after thinking whether I should or not.  But now after this self-assessment, I will apply them consistently and without hesitation because…I have no reason not to.   It may be uncomfortable, but so what, I won’t bleed to death.  Besides, the byproduct is not only the betterment of me, but also the betterment of others.

“The most important actions are never comfortable.”

Question for Comment: Do you absorb positive, uplifting books and tapes, but nevertheless feel stuck?  Is there an area of your life where displaying new behavior feels uncomfortable? Why? What can do you to change that? 

(originally posted August 24, 2010)

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