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Human Speed Humps

Human Speed Humps

    The External Saboteur

    Something’s bugging me today. In fact this something has bugged me for a while but the last few weeks it has become increasingly obvious to me that virtually all of us face similar challenges in one area of the creating-our-best-life process; support, encouragement and understanding from others. Or the lack thereof. You’ve heard me speak many times about the internal saboteur and our propensity to get in our own way (we all do that), well today I want to talk about the external saboteur; people who (for a range of reasons) aren’t really happy to see you succeed, achieve your goals, realise your potential or live your dreams. I could spend an hour or two telling you why they do this (jealousy, resentment, immaturity, revenge, insecurity, thoughtlessness, selfishness, stupidity), but I’d like to focus on a solution for you, rather than explore their motives and mindset.

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    How Dare You Succeed

    You and I both know these people. Sometimes we live with these people. Work with these people. Socialize with these people. Care for these people. Even marry these people (shock, horror). Sometimes he/she is the last person anyone would suspect of standing between you and your dreams. Your ambition and drive bothers them because somehow they have created an association (in their mind) between your success and some kind of negative outcome or effect in their world. They say they care about you (and maybe on a level they do) but in truth, your happiness and success come a distant second to their needs and wants.

    Human Speed Humps

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    You might be amazed at the number of people who become quite emotional (bawl their eyes out) when I talk with them simply because I show them more support, encouragement and belief in one hour than their family or close friends (I use that term loosely) have shown them in a lifetime. These external saboteurs are human speed humps determined to slow you down, if not, bring you to a grinding halt. They are not the reason we fail but if we don’t deal with them in a practical, realistic and possibly blunt manner, then we are letting them steer our ship, shape our reality and limit our potential.

    Some thoughts…

      1. Get them out of your life. Obviously this is not always possible, desirable, necessary or practical, however there comes a time, in some situations, with some relationships and some people, where the best option is to remove them from your day to day life. I know you know what I mean by this because we’ve all had that person in our life. I have walked away from several relationships over the years because I believed that’s what would be best for me in the long term. And it was. If people aren’t happy for you to succeed, then they ain’t your friend and you don’t need or want them in your world. If you want to know what (some) people really think, ignore ninety percent of what they say and watch one hundred percent of what they do.

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      2. Spend limited time with them. Obviously there are certain people who will (probably) always be in our life (family for example) but sadly, they are also often the people who potentially stand between where we are now, and where we want to be (if we let them have that power). Some parents (not mine) have never told their children how talented, creative, clever, capable, valued or loved they are. They have never encouraged or supported them because they want to retain power and control in that very lop-sided, unhealthy relationship. I know forty year-olds who are still seeking parental approval and still handing over their power to dear old mum (mom) and dad. Tragic.

      3. Tell them what you feel. Sometimes a simple and honest discussion will change a situation or a relationship almost instantly. Give the person clear, specific, relevant and meaningful feedback. Don’t be vague, general or fluffy. Tell them exactly what you’re feeling and why. A little short-term pain for some long-term gain

        . If you don’t take charge of your life, someone else will.

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        4. Get some balls. Not literally of course. Sometimes we simply need to stand up for ourselves and stop being the victim, the doormat, the scapegoat, the people pleaser and the personal slave. Make some decisions about your personal rules, values and standards and then build your best life around those. Stop compromising and start living.

        5. Be (very) selective about who you share your dreams with. For all of my adult life I have been a highly motivated, driven and ambitious person. By choice. Not particularly gifted but always striving to get the most out of my body, my career, my relationships and my potential; to maximize what I have. Several experiences early on taught me not to be overly enthusiastic about sharing my life goals and dreams with too many people. I learned to be selective and discerning about who I share my dreams with. When I established my first commercial business as a twenty four year-old with zero business experience and minimal skills, I encountered far more resentment, resistance and criticism than I ever did support or encouragement. The people who were genuinely and unconditionally happy for me to succeed were few and far between. By the way, this is not a woe-is-me story, but rather an honest account of my experience and I am not alone with a story like this. I have a few select people in my world, who will encourage and support me when it’s warranted and kick me in the ass when necessary. And I need both. I trust them, appreciate them and value their input in my life.

        So instead of slowing down for the speed humps or going around them today, perhaps it’s time for you to change down a gear, hit the gas and drive straight over them.

        Works for me.

        More by this author

        Craig Harper

        Leading presenter, writer and educator in the areas of high-performance, self-management, personal transformation and more

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        Last Updated on July 8, 2020

        What Everyone Is Wrong About Achieving Inbox Zero

        What Everyone Is Wrong About Achieving Inbox Zero

        Ah, Inbox Zero. An achievement that so many of us long for. It’s elusive. It’s a productivity benchmark. It’s an ongoing battle.

        It’s also unnecessary.

        Don’t get me wrong, the way Inbox Zero was initially termed is incredibly valuable. Merlin Mann coined the phrase years ago and what he has defined it as goes well beyond the term itself.[1]

        Yet people have created their own definition of Inbox Zero. They’re not using it with the intent that Mann suggested. Instead, it’s become about having nothing left in immediate view. It’s become about getting your email inbox to zero messages or having an empty inbox on your desk that was once filled with papers. It’s become about removing visual clutter.

        But it’s not about that. Not at all.

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        Here’s what inbox zero actually is, as defined by Mann:

        “It’s about how to reclaim your email, your atten­tion, and your life. That “zero?” It’s not how many mes­sages are in your inbox–it’s how much of your own brain is in that inbox. Especially when you don’t want it to be. That’s it.” – Merlin Mann

        The Fake Inbox Zero

        The sense of fulfillment one gets from clearing out everything in your inbox is temporary at best, disappointing at worst. Often we find that we’re shooting for Inbox Zero just so that we can say that we’ve got “everything done that needed to be done”. That’s simply not the case.

        Certainly, by removing all of your things that sit in your inbox means that they are either taken care of or are well on their way to being taken care of. The old saying “out of sight, out of mind” is often applied to clearing out your inbox. But unless you’ve actually done something with the stuff, it’s either not worth having in your inbox in the first place or is still sitting in your “mental inbox”.

        You have to do something with the stuff, and for many people, that is a hard thing to do. That’s why Inbox Zero – as defined by Mann – is not achieved as often as many people would like to believe. It’s this “watered down” concept of Inbox Zero that is completed instead. You’ve got no email in your inbox and you’ve got no paper on your desk’s inbox. So that must mean you’re at Inbox Zero.

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        Until the next email arrives or the next document comes your way. Then you work to get rid of those as quickly as possible so that you can get back to Inbox Zero: The Lesser again. If it’s something that can be dealt with quickly, then you get there. But if they require more time, then soon you’ve got more stuff in your inboxes. So you switch up tasks to get to the things that don’t require as much time or attention so that you can get closer to this stripped down variation of Inbox Zero.

        However, until you deal with the bigger items, you don’t quite get there. Some people feel as if they’ve let themselves (or others) down if they don’t get there. And that, quite frankly, is silly. That’s why this particular version of Inbox Zero doesn’t work.

        The Ultimate Way to Get to Inbox Zero

        So what’s the ultimate way to get to Inbox Zero?

        Have zero inboxes.

        The inbox is meant to be a stop along the way to your final destination. It’s the place where stuff sits until you’re ready to put it in the place where it sits until you’re ready to deal with it.

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        So why not skip the inbox altogether? Why not put it in the place where it sits until you’re ready to deal with it? Because that requires immediate action. It means you need to give the item some thought and attention.

        You need to step back and look at it rather than file it. That’s why we have a catch-all inbox, both for email and for analog items. It allows us to only look at these things when we’re ready to do so.

        The funny thing is that we can decide when we’re ready to without actually looking at the inbox beforehand. We can look at things on our own watch rather than when we are alerted to or feel the need to.

        There is no reason why you need an inbox at all to store things for longer than it sits there before you see it. None. It’s a choice. And the choice you should be making is how to deal with things when you first see them, rather than when to deal with things you haven’t looked at yet.

        Stop Faking It

        Seeing things in your inboxes is simply using your sight. Looking at things in your inbox when you first see them is using insight.

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        Stop checking email more than twice per day. Turn off your alerts. Put your desk’s inbox somewhere that it can be accessed by others and only accessed by you when you’re ready to deal with what’s in it. Don’t put it on your desk – that’s productivity poison.

        If you want to get to Inbox Zero — the real Inbox Zero — then get rid of those stops along the way. You’ll find that by doing that, you’ll be getting more of the stuff you really want done finished much faster, rather than see them moving along at the speed of not much more than zero.

        More Productivity Tips to Get Organized

        Featured photo credit: Web Hosting via unsplash.com

        Reference

        [1] Merlin Mann: Inbox Zero

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