Finishaphobia

We diagnosed our 24-year-old daughter with a strange, but harmless, disease a few years ago. 

She has this unusual tendency to leave drinks around the kitchen with about a ½ ounce left.  I’m telling you, it’s uncanny – she just doesn’t finish, ever.  We see her pour a glass of my favorite, cranberry juice, and inevitably we’ll see that glass after she’s gone to work and, yep, there it is –  ½ ounce left! 

Sometimes we just leave it there for the day, hard as that is, and all we get is another two or three almost finished glasses to add to the collection.

Even if we call her out when she gets a glass, telling her about her “finishaphobia” issues… doesn’t change anything. The nearly finished glass will be there to taunt us a few hours later.

Fortunately, Madi’s issue of finishaphobia, while a little frustrating to us, is pretty tame compared to what it could be. 

One of the greatest examples of finishing is demonstrated in the 2006 movie Facing The Giants. The scene was set with the football team at practice. The kids were complaining about losing their best player. The coach pulled his top defensive player, Brock, and challenged him in a death crawl.  That meant bear crawling blindfolded with a player on his back for as many yards as he thought he could. Brock said he could go to the 30-yard line, but the coach challenged him to go to the 50.  They got in position, and the coach urged him to go.  The scene was pretty powerful as he provided some great motivational insights while he was crawling down the field.  Amazingly, the coach talked Brock all the way across the field, all 100 yards. 

When it comes to finishing, we’re all clearly more capable than we think.  We just need the right internal, and often external motivation.  Finishing helps us gain self-confidence, a belief critical to success.  After all, beliefs tend to drive behaviors.

How many marathon runners finished the race even if they were nearly ready to give up at the “wall,” only to build great personal confidence by fighting to finish? Most of them, including me.  There’s not one Olympian who is not a finisher. Finishing is an excellent trait for us to have and to model to others. What if you had a team – in business, sports, or your family – made up of excellent finishers? A team of finishers would be hard to beat.

By the way, give Madi a good craft beer and “finishaphobia” is no longer a problem. Hmmm… maybe priorities are the real issue here.

The Half Times Mirror Squared Theory

 (Contributed by Mitch Greene)

Believe it or not, you directly affect the moods and attitude of the people around you by how you act. It goes the other way as well. People are really just like mirrors; if you smile at someone it’s more than likely that they’ll smile back at you. The amazing thing about being affected by others is that you can force it.

No, I’m serious. You can force yourself into a specific mood using others, and you don’t even have to tell them!
 
I’ll give you an example. When I was about thirteen and I had to start being more social my dad would tell me to act 50% more confident than I actually felt. My dad’s words were like the law to me, so I did it with no question. I would go out and when I would talk to someone I would pretend to be 50% more confident than I actually felt.
 
The thing that was weird to me was that they bought it.
 
People actually thought I was a confident guy. They treated me like I was extremely capable. After seeing people look at me like I was so confident I realized something: I am confident.
 
I wasn’t just faking it anymore. It was honestly how I felt, and, oh boy, did I love it. Ever since then I’ve built a habit of acting in a way that I wished to be, slowly becoming what I was pretending to be in the beginning.
 
From my experience, the saying “Fake it till you make it” is more truthful than most might think. So do me a favor. When you wake up tomorrow and feel intimated or overmatched, choose to be 50% more confident. See how it feels.

Wheel of Fortune

Everyone sells.

Doesn’t matter what your profession is. You sell ideas, passionate thoughts, beliefs, and values. You sell these to your friends, co-workers, family and even sometimes strangers. 

But some of you sell professionally. Your income depends directly on your sales ability, execution, and follow through.

And then there are the hunters. You are responsible for generating your own leads. I’ve interviewed salespeople who have said, “Once I get the appointment, I’ll make the sale.” But getting that appointment is the most difficult part, especially if you have no other way in.

The challenge is daunting…think about it. Even with those we know well, keeping their focus and attention is often difficult. Imagine trying to get someone’s attention who doesn’t know us at all, yet knows our title - salesperson.

That’s the challenge of a hunter.

Imagine the famous “Wheel of Fortune” spinning fast and furious. That’s your prospect’s attention. Or maybe your potential “date” – isn’t that a form of prospecting? And your job is to find a way to stop the wheel, if only for a moment. At that point, you have their attention and significantly improve your possibility of a good conversation to determine future value. That’s the crux of the sales process – the Wheel of Fortune.

My greatest sale ever is in the other room. 28 years and counting. We met on a blind date – totally avoided the Wheel of Fortune.  No prospecting necessary. Whew! Never would have gotten her attention as a pure hunter.  Wow. That sounded creepy.

There you have it; the best way to overcome the Wheel of Fortune.

A referral. Or in my case, a blind date.

Sometimes Mean is Mean

Hard to miss this guy.  He stood out amidst all his co-workers, eager new drivers and terror-stricken moms and dads.  He seemed mean. He was complaining about someone being out on the driver course during hours of operation. That’s an honest complaint on his part. Yet there are ways to address this appropriately, and his was not one of them. Yelling and complaining in front of everyone, including the newbie drivers that might be on the course with him next! And one of the newbies was our daughter, Brittany.

No one, especially Brittany, wanted this guy to be their driving instructor.  It was scary enough just trying to pass the test. Heck, new drivers are more likely to pass the driver’s test than most of us, because we’re likely overconfident and not in the crosshairs. With this nasty guy, crosshairs are a massive understatement!

So, there we were a few weeks later. We were practicing a final time in the dreaded parallel parking section. This is the most feared challenge on the course, and Britt wanted one more shot at it.   As Britt was backing in according to plan, the road parallel to us lit up. It lit up with the nasty guy in the middle of a test run with a new driver. Just as he pulled over, red and hot, I realized my mistake.  I misread the hours of operation for Saturday and was about to pay the price. Yikes! This could be bad. And it was.

As he started yelling at me, he very rudely directed us to the sign that read “no driving on course during hours of operation.”  The sign was right at the parallel parking section. I missed it, badly.

Immediately, I wanted to apologize and yet, try to explain my misunderstanding.  And to be very honest, I was already hot about his attitude and approach, especially the way he handled himself before. Just not a nice guy. He was right, yes. But wow, there are better ways to address it.

I also realized quickly that Britt might be driving with him in just a few minutes. So I held my tongue, told him it had nothing to do with my daughter, it was all me and apologized profusely. Totally humbling.

A few minutes later it was time for the test. And yes, we got him. Wow, looking at Brittany’s face as he approached, and then as they drove away… that was awful. Just a few minutes earlier, I didn’t just poke this bear, I lit him up!

She failed. He offered his reasons. Whatever. Brittany went back a week or so later, had a different, very nice instructor, and passed. Oh, but he was there that day and griping about something else. What a mess.

Hey, he was right. We were there at the wrong time.

Yet, thinking about all the people I’ve ever met over my lifetime, this guy stands out above all. He was the meanest, nastiest, and verbally abusive.

And while I teach workshops based on books like How to Win Friends and Influence People, this guy was the anomaly.  

As my friend and mentor for so many years said about one of my speaking engagements, “Why did you focus on that one negative guy when you had a whole room of people fully engaged?”

Good point. While it’s good human behavior to be nice regardless of the other person’s demeanor, some people will not change.

Sometimes it’s best to move on and just make a fun story out of it.

Goals versus Maintenance

In 1982 I set a goal.

Run a full marathon without stopping.

I completed that marathon, with stopping – meeting my goal.

Goal accomplished…now what was driving me? Nothing. Up to that point, I had a motivating factor driving my daily actions. One: my dad, my coach.  Two: my personal ego - hopefully not in an arrogant way, but just the excitement of achieving something most have not. Plus I was driven by the fact that my dad had already run nearly 50 of his 66 marathons, and maybe a marathon would truly qualify me as his son. And three: once committed to training, I had no interest in not accomplishing the goal only to have to repeat all the effort, time and discipline just to “try” again. Nope. Once and done for me!

But what happens once the goal is accomplished? Where is the motivation? What is the driver? What keeps us moving forward This is why the diet industry makes up billions of dollars of repeat buyers each year.

Goals are fantastic. But they have an end. They lead to a plateau, and in many cases, a valley. 

While I love goals, and they’re critically important, I’d like to advocate for something in between.

Maintenance.

Not very exciting, I know. And that’s often why maintenance is not enough to drive us to follow the disciplines for daily actions.

But maintenance is necessary for many reasons.

One: it helps us stay at or near the level we accomplished by chasing the goal. Two: it helps us honor what matters to us. For example, often people, like me who set the marathon goal, really are honoring the long-term purpose of good health, energy and stress management which leads to better quality of life.  By following some level (not nearly as extreme) of the daily disciplines to achieve the marathon, I may not be setting myself up for the next race, but I’m building the philosophy and consequent habits to make good health a reality – by chasing it daily.  And with good disciplines in place, setting and striving toward the next goal is that much easier. 

Last year I set a goal to listen to the Bible in a year, which I did. This year, I’ve committed to reading the Bible daily, but there’s no goal…It’s just maintenance.

If you’re not chasing a goal – sales success, running a marathon, losing weight or something else, be sure to find actions you can engage in daily to keep the momentum and honor what matters most to you through daily maintenance. Because maintenance leads to growth. It helps us to live consistently in the benefits of the journey rather than just basking in the success of the destination.