Good or Bad? The story we tell ourselves.

Good or bad.  Winning and losing.  Success and failure.  We view outcomes as absolutes.  In work, we use metrics to define our level of performance.  While these are important, they are not everything.

Success on a goal does not define or predict future success.

Failure to accomplish a goal does not make you a failure.

There is a parable about a Farmer that gives a unique perspective to how we feel in the moment: 

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Apr Conseq 600

Once upon the time there was an old farmer who had worked his crops for many years. One day his horse ran away. Upon hearing the news, his neighbors came to visit. "Such bad luck," they said sympathetically.

"Perhaps," the farmer replied.

The next morning the horse returned, bringing with it three other wild horses. "What great luck!" the neighbors exclaimed.

"Perhaps," replied the old man.

The following day, his son tried to ride one of the untamed horses, was thrown, and broke his leg. The neighbors again came to offer their sympathy on his misfortune.

"Perhaps," answered the farmer.

The day after, military officials came to the village to draft young men into the army. Seeing that the son’s leg was broken, they passed him by. The neighbors congratulated the farmer on how well things had turned out.

"Perhaps," said the farmer.

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Life is full of unintended consequences. All you can do is control what you can. The label we give to them in the moment is just a story we tell ourselves.

It would have been easy for the Farmer to feel sorry for himself.  Nobody would have blamed him.  It would have been equally easy for the Farmer to become complacent with his great luck.  However, he didn’t because he knew life kept going.  Either way, that win or setback wasn’t “the end”.

Practice patience and perspective.  Focus on your process even more so than your goals.  Goals are temporary and fleeting.  There is always another goal to reach or mountain to climb.  Your process endures.  

We define your process as the sum of your purpose, values and habits.  It’s how you solve problems, approach goals and live your life.  We’re constantly evolving our personal processes based on what we learn and how we feel.  

Your wins and mistakes won’t define you, but whether you choose to learn from them will.

“Mistakes followed by positive reflection lead to growth.” -AMP Up1 Culture Values

Take the lessons learned from your wins and losses and allow them to help you grow and improve your process to better prepare you for your next challenge.

The next time you feel the urge to rush to judgement, reflect on your process and keep moving forward.

 

 
 
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Want more control of your time? Just say "no".

Value Time

Sounds simple enough, right?  However, I believe we can all relate to the feeling of our time not being our own.  We get stuck in the familiar (and sometimes comforting) trap of being busy.  In fact, we have a business culture where we like to brag about how “busy” we are.  We like to confuse movement with progress.

I’ve found that one of the more common pitfalls of new leaders is their uncanny ability to say “yes” to everything.  They then proceed to contribute the minimum and mismanage their time.  Best case, they plateau as they attempt to keep all of their plates spinning.

Bob Iger of Disney used a lesson he leared from his mentor Dan Burke to help him protect and manage his time and effort:  "Avoid getting into the business of manufacturing trombone oil. You may become the greatest trombone-oil manufacturer in the world, but in the end, the world only consumers a few quarts of trombone oil a year." 

Your time is finite.  How often are you caught in the business of “manufacturing trombone oil”?

 

How do you break this cycle?  

When you start saying yes and committing, it's difficult to stop.  You want to be supportive.  You want to believe you can take on the world. 

However, a couple of fairly intelligent and successful people have a common take, shared with Mr. Iger:  Just start saying “NO”.

"The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything."  - Warren Buffett

“The hardest thing when you think about focusing. You think focusing is about saying "Yes." No. Focusing is about saying "No." And when you say "No," you piss off people.”  -Steve Jobs
March No 600

One of my favorite clips out there is an interview where Mr. Buffett and Bill Gates brag about how empty their planners are.  I’m not saying it’s an exercise to try out at your next team meeting, but you should be proud of any time you have blocked for yourself.

Saying no also gives you time to be bored and solve problems.  If you’re always going, when can you step back and ask questions?  When can you innovate?

We have a finite amount of time and energy!  Be selfish with it.  Think about the ROI of your decisions.  What use of your time benefits your team the most?

 

Why don’t we say “no”?  

We’re afraid of the appearance of not being a team player.  Nobody wants to be “that person” on the team.  We at least want to say the right thing and be supportive.  However, when you say “yes”, and don’t follow through or contribute to your fullest capabilities, who are you really helping?

Be open with your team.  There is a lot of trust necessary for this type of candor to exist where saying “no” isn’t too awkward.  People will always get frustrated, but that will be outweighed by how much more productive and effective you will be because you said “no”.

Of course, there is also balance involved.   To paraphrase Adam Grant, other people’s priorities don’t need to be your priorities, but other people should be a priority. 

 

Where to start…

  • Look at your daily process and tasks with fresh eyes.  If something doesn’t get done, what impact will it really have?  If  you stop doing it, will anyone notice?  Give more of your attention to things that will make a difference!
  • Say “no” to the repetitive tasks that you do everyday that add no value and don’t serve to support your growth.  For tasks that you’ve mastered, teach someone else and pass it on!  These tasks don’t define you, let go of them! Unless you grow your team, you will never grow.
  • Take ownership of your time.  Don’t sign up for things you cannot contribute to.  Don’t drown yourself in tasks that don’t grow you or add value.   Protect your time, it’s the most valuable resource you have.

 

Saying “no”.

Just saying "no" to your teammates and leaders may not always feel tactful.  We're wired to want to help each other, that's what teams do.  There are grey areas in every ask of your time, and navigating these politely is still important for your relationship with the team.  One day you will ask for help and hope that your priorities become a priority for someone else.

A good place to start assessing your answer is to ask yourself two questions:  If I say no, will they be okay?  If I tell them yes, even though I believe I should say no will I be okay?

Based on those answers you can politely decline or decide to help on  your terms.  Here are a few tips to help you navigate these sensitive waters:

  • If you truly feel you can contribute in a meaningful way and want to say “yes” it’s ok to request to do so on your terms. “I can do this, but in order for me to be effective with this and what I’m focused on, I need to request we meet (insert day/time here).  This ensures your nor allowing a NEW request (novelty) to take priority over your current focus. 
  • To avoid the awkward feeling of telling someone “no” and seeming like you aren’t a team player or don’t want to help them: “I would love to help you, but I’m very focused on (X, Y & Z) so if you don’t mind, I’m going to pass on this project unless you really think me being part of this will add meaningful value to the discussion and project.” 
  • Avoid getting involved in projects, meetings or discussions with people who are notorious for no follow-through.  These are folks who’s only action is ‘meetings' ' and not tangible action. They lack an action muscle and don’t “value time” with clearly defined next steps and progress. Avoid “starters“ and attach yourself to “finishers”. 

 When you value your time, the quality of your collaboration will improve.  

 
Value your time.   Use "NO" to help yourself stay focused on what matters and where you can make the biggest impact.
 
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Which virtue is most important?

 

At The Third Spot™️, our purpose, mission and values are sacred to us.  They guide how we behave and were born out of what we do and who we want to be. They keep us aligned and remind us of who we are.  Our values are the expectation of conduct, and this shared understanding and internalization allows us to be incredibly agile in decision making.  They are the key to our culture.

When we defined our purpose, mission and values, we selected and highlighted 4 virtues that we hold in especially high regard.   They are the affirmations of who we expect to be.

Our 4 Virtues:  Optimism, Adaptability, Grit, Empathy

Recently, in an insightful exercise, we asked the team this question:  Of our Virtues (Optimism, Empathy, Grit, Adaptability), which do you believe to be the most important? Why?

Optimism

“Optimism is the ability to focus on where we are going, not where we are coming from.” -Simon Sinek

  • “In an operations position, it is important to be there for people. People like coming to positive people, while they might not always like what you say, When you provide optimism and hope to others, you build trust.”  -Brendan LeBlanc
  • “Optimism could be the most important virtue. If we believe in ourselves that we will succeed, we may. If we believe we will fail, we will fail.”  -Eli Shapiro
  • “You want to surround yourself with people that will support you and believe in what you stand for and the ideas you have. Having a team like that will give you all the motivation in the world to try new things and be innovative and those are the things that make us unique from anyone else. Going into situations thinking it's going to work out and we will be successful will make that happen, you get what you put out there in the world.”  -Leo Neves

Grit

“perseverance and passion for long-term goals”  -Angela Duckworth

  • “I think all the other virtues are important but without grit, they are weakened. Grit is the toughest of the virtues and is prominent when things are not going well. It's easy to carry the virtues when things are good, but when things are not, it takes grit to maintain.”  -Aaron Sagendorf
  • “I believe that grit is the most impactful virtue because it's easy to quit after failure. Business or life having grit allows you to push forward, learn how to lose, but love working hard to win. Having grit gives you the tool to learn and better any over the other values.”  -Corey Simpon
  • “I believe grit is the most important of our virtues. Life, even in non-pandemic times, will always throw us challenges. Most, when faced with these challenges, run away or seek the path of least resistance. A gritty individual faces the challenges head on, adjusts strategy, allows themself to fail and persevere until those challenges are spun into strengths, opportunities and accomplishments. A TEAM of gritty individuals becomes an unstoppable force to be reckoned with.”  -Doug Warner
Mar Virtues 600

Adaptability

“Sustainable competitive advantage no longer arises exclusively from position, scale, and first-order capabilities in producing or delivering an offering. All those are essentially static...Instead of being really good at doing some particular thing, companies must be really good at learning how to do new things.”  Martin Reeves and Mike Deimler

  • “It’s so vital to evolve and change with the world. Not lock in to what we always did. As the facts change, so should our opinions.”  -Josh Rossmeisl
  • “Our world changes so fast and so often, if you’re not able to adapt to your environment then you and/or your company will be left in the dust. Especially within the hospitality industry, where we’ve learned over the last year more than ever how the smallest change can have the biggest impact on our business. Restaurant owners have gone from indoor dining, to strictly outdoor dining, to a combo of both and even takeout only for a period of time. Those who were able to adapt quickly were the ones who have been able to make the biggest strides, learn the most and be a true example to other industry leaders.”  -Melissa Davis
  • “As time goes on, we gain clarity and things need to evolve. A business can’t do things the same way forever and the team needs to be able to adjust to changing circumstances, processes, and technology. Having the open mindedness, positivity and ability to to adapt helps to level up and keep a business growing.”  -Amanda Murray
  • “In our hospitality world there are always so many moving parts and those who are prepared and proactive can react to things we cannot anticipate are most successful. Adaptability comes from a lot of reflection, knowing that mistakes do not define you but what you do from that point will. People imitate each other and an adaptable leader will encourage an adaptable team that becomes contagious.”  -Leandro Neves

Empathy

“Empathy has no script. There is no right way or wrong way to do it. It's simply listening, holding space, withholding judgment, emotionally connecting, and communicating that incredibly healing message of 'You're not alone. '”  -Brene Brown


  • “As much as the word has been thrown around as trendy over the past year, to me, it's the most essential to our purpose. Our purpose is connecting people and building community. We could be optimistic, gritty and adaptable, but without empathy, we wouldn't truly be able to connect with anyone in a meaningful way. It connects us to servant leadership in that empathy with our team allows us to know where we should be to support our team. Our empathy is what builds loyalty. I care about you because you care about me. Optimism, grit and adaptability make us better and help us grow, but empathy makes us human and allows us to bring others on the ride with us.” -Chris Barrows

Obviously, there is no right or wrong answer.  There is a “chicken or egg” component to the question, which speaks to the alignment of the virtues.  They are most important and effective when they are supporting each other.  Which virtue do you believe to be most important?

 
 
 
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