A powerful lesson I learned early on in my career is we become like the people we spend most of our time with.
I remember when I first emigrated to Australia, I spoke with a Fijian accent, as that’s where I’m originally from. Within two or three years, my accent changed to an Australian accent because I was around people who spoke that way.
This is why it’s often suggested that the best way to learn a new language is to travel to a country where it’s the predominant language spoken so we are forced to adapt quickly in order to be able to communicate effectively.
Likewise, if we want to become better performers, whether it’s in sports, our work, our businesses, or life in general, being around other people who are also committed to becoming better performers will greatly accelerate our progress and our personal growth.
A few months ago, I had the opportunity to attend an event called High Performance Academy, hosted by Brendon Burchard, the author of numerous best-selling books, including his most recent one titled, High Performance Habits.
The event exceeded my expectations so I’d like to share some of the things I learned being around other high performers.
If you ever feel your motivation levels are falling, choose any one of these videos to reignite yourself and get motivated again.
Have you ever wondered or wished you could better deal with people who constantly whine, blame or complain when you speak to them?
In our daily interactions, we encounter people who spend so much energy focusing on things that are not going well or on things that are beyond their control. The risk of being around negative people is that they can:
- Affect our attitude.
- Cause us to spend mental and emotional energy listening to their complaints.
- Take our focus away from what we want to do.
- Lower our motivation levels.
- Affect the quality of our work.
Knowing what to do when we’re around people who tend to be negative is extremely valuable. It’s starts with us being aware of our own attitude, the language we are using and what we’re giving our attention to.
As we are living much busier lives now, we often find ourselves hurrying more, which generates high amounts of pressure or stress.
The pressure we experience trying to do the things we want can leave us feeling drained of energy and also cause us to behave in ways that are out of character. Being able to remain poised, calm and cool under high stress can be developed with consistent practice.
The calmer we’re able to remain when dealing with high pressure situations, the better we’ll be able to navigate through them by making intelligent decisions and still achieve the outcomes we want.
I remember hearing about the “Miracle on the Hudson” on January 15, 2009, when US Airways Captain “Sully” Sullenberger, glided his disabled plane onto the waters of the Hudson River, saving the lives of all 155 passengers and crew onboard.
Had the Captain panicked and not remained calm while dealing with the kind of pressure most of us will never have to deal with, the outcome could have resulted in lives being lost in the plane and on land. The fact that the Captain had the calmness of mind to decide to land the plane in the Hudson River, rather than trying an emergency landing on land, is a testament to his presence, training and his experience.
While we may not deal with life and death situations when experiencing high levels of pressure, it helps to know what we can do to remain calm.
One of the best ways to leverage our time is to find people who are willing to do things we’re not good at or things we should not be doing.
In order to do our best work, we have to be willing to spend more time doing our highest-value activities and find ways to reduce the amount of time we spend doing low-value activities.
As a business owner, low-value activities may include:
- Doing administrative work such as checking emails, checking invoices, paying bills etc.
- Booking travel.
- Going to the post office.
- Updating social media accounts.
- Shopping for office supplies.
There are many more things that could be added to the list. One activity that is worth doing is to make note of all the activities we do during a typical week and how much time we spend doing them. Then we can calculate how much it’s costing us each week to do those activities and whether it would be more beneficial to hire others who could do those activities better and quicker than us.
This is where having a team is vitally important. In today’s world, there is no need to have staff members work in the same office or space as us. With all the tools available now, having a virtual team can be a much better and cheaper option for most businesses.
It’s a widely known concept that our thoughts determine who we become and the reality we create in our lives.
Numerous books have been written on the power of our thoughts including:
- The Magic of Thinking Big
- As a Man Thinketh
- Think and Grow Rich
- The Power of Positive Thinking
- The Science of Getting Rich
As our thoughts dictate how and what we experience in life, it’s important that we become better at directing our thoughts in order to be more creative and become better problem solvers.
Many years ago, Voltaire said, “No problem can withstand the assault of sustained thinking.” The concept of critical thinking is just one technique that can be used to generate intelligent thoughts that can be directed towards creating positive outcomes and problem solving.
What is Critical Thinking?
According to the dictionary, critical thinking is the objective analysis and evaluation of an issue in order to form a judgement.
According to the Critical Thinking Community website, critical thinking is the intellectually disciplined process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and/or evaluating information gathered from, or generated by, observation, experience, reflection, reasoning, or communication, as a guide to belief and action.
Put simply, critical thinking is a process or way of thinking that facilitates the achievement of specifically defined outcomes.
Strong leaders have certain qualities that make them attract and likewise, poor leaders also have qualities that affect the way they lead others.
We tend to do better when we’re influenced by powerful leaders but not as well if we’re working for or with a weak leader. Having strong leadership skills is a necessary requirement if we want to have the influence or make the impact we want.
Becoming aware of poor leadership qualities can be a critical step as we strive to become better leaders and serve others as best as we can.
Many years ago, a manager I worked for displayed a mix of good and weak leadership qualities. On the positive side, he was knowledgeable of internal processes and supported many improvement projects in the business. He had good people skills and got along well with most of his team members.
On the negative side, he did not prioritise his day well. He tended to be unprepared during team updates or meetings, and was often disconnected from what his team members were working on. One thing that annoyed team members was he often played games like solitaire on his computer, while everyone else was under pressure trying to get things done on time.
When you hear the word innovation, what’s the first thing that comes to your mind?
If you’re like me, you probably think of well-known companies or brands like Microsoft, Apple, Tesla, Samsung or Amazon, to name a few, who have large budgets to spend on innovation.
While these companies may be setting the benchmark for innovation in the world, we can use their successes to bring more innovation into our lives. Innovation should not be left to big businesses or brands only. We can all innovate at different levels in our lives.
What is Innovation?
I like to think of innovation as a bridge from what we currently have to what’s to come in the future. It’s about never settling for what’s already here, and continuously seeking to make things better.
As the saying goes, “Good, better, best… never let it rest, until the good is better, and the better is best.”
The companies that are leading in the twenty-first century are the ones that are continuously innovating. If we want to improve our lives consistently, then we must be willing to continuously innovate and take ourselves to higher and higher levels.
One of the key responsibilities of anyone in a leadership role is to ensure their team members are utilising their skills, strengths and abilities as best as they can.
When dealing with different personalities, a leader must be able to support people through difficult situations, which may include dealing with change, improving performance, and meeting deadlines or objectives.
Stress and anxiety is known to affect many people in the workplace. A study conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health in America revealed that around 18.1% of the US population suffered some form of anxiety at work, with 22.8% of those cases being classified as “severe.”
Stress is caused when we react to a current situation whereas anxiety is what we experience when we react to an imagined negative event in the future.
As leaders, we don’t want our team members to experience anxiety while they are working, and it’s up to us to be aware of the costs of dealing with anxiety and offer solutions to manage it.