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Design A Future You Love: 11 Ways That Brilliant Leaders Think Of The Future Differently

Design A Future You Love: 11 Ways That Brilliant Leaders Think Of The Future Differently

Do you feel like your spend your days reacting to everything that happens to you, and you wish that you could stop the merry-go-round and have things go the way you want them?

In my coaching practice, I have found that the brilliant leaders among us have figured out how to do this. They have a vision of what they want their future to look like, and a mindset that allows them to get it. Here are 11 ways that great leaders view the future that allows them to shape it:

1. They know it is foolish to label anything as “good” or “bad.”

When something doesn’t go the way you want it to, it’s tempting to call it a “failure” and lick your wounds. But the thing is, oftentimes something that you initially thought was unfortunate ends up being one of the best things that ever happened to you. Losing your job opened the way for you to start your million-dollar business, or being rejected from the high school football team gave you the time to find your true passion of music. Brilliant leaders don’t beat themselves up over short-term “failures,” but instead keep an amused eye on how it plays out in the long term.

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2. They understand that a great future is only possible with a LOT of mistakes in the present.

It’s tempting to beat yourself up when you make a mistake and lose an important account, or miss a key opportunity. But brilliant leaders know that you can only BE a brilliant leader through a lot of learning and growing — and that making mistakes is by far the best way to do this. Not many leaders were born brilliant, but all were forged to be brilliant by being hit many, many times with the anvil of failure.

3. They know that little things can make a big difference.

A professor of mine used to leave a piece of trash on the ground whenever he would interview candidates, and look to see which of them would pick it up and throw it away. He would give that person the job. The moral of the story: You never know how a little thing like picking up a piece of trash will lead to something much bigger, like you getting the job. So be sure that you live each day in a way that makes you proud.

4. They live in the present as if the future is already here.

Have you ever noticed that if you believe something will happen, it is more likely to? This is because you notice opportunities, and send signals (that other people then react to) that you wouldn’t if you didn’t believe in that future for yourself. For example, if you believed that you would be president one day, then you would act like someone presidential. You would volunteer to give talks, people would notice that you are someone with an air of confidence and vision, and then this would open doors to get you closer and closer to the White House. Brilliant leaders know that if you act like your future self, that self is more likely to happen.

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5. They understand that the unthinkable will happen.

The thing that goes wrong is almost always the one thing you never thought would go wrong. This is why worrying is so pointless. Brilliant leaders know that worrying is a waste of energy, and so instead stay alert for whatever might come their way.

6. They know that the best way to prepare for the unthinkable is to keep themselves in great shape.

Your response to the unthinkable is mostly governed by gut reaction, because you simply can’t rehearse in advance. So you need to make sure that you are in peak form at all times. This is a tall order, I know, but there are some simple rules you can follow to keep yourself in great shape: sleep enough, exercise often, eat healthily, do one thing that challenges you daily, and do one act of kindness daily. If you keep yourself tuned up in this way, you will be able to put your best foot forward when the unthinkable happens.

7. They know that there are many paths to get to the same place.

It can be tempting to think that the ONE path in front of you is the only way to get what you want. But a brilliant leader knows that life is long, and that the only limit on number of paths from A to B is your ability to think of them. In fact, by bemoaning “the one that got away,” you actually prevent yourself from thinking of all of the other paths. So if one fails, start searching for the next right way!

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8. They understand that some things won’t change.

How much energy do you spend wishing that your partner, officemate, or neighbor will change? And then getting really upset when they don’t? A brilliant leader knows that it is futile to try to change people, and so devises strategies to work with them. Sure, you can help them grow, but your relationship with them shouldn’t depend on them growing.

9. They know that everything changes.

As the old saying goes, the only thing that never changes is change. As humans, we are not programmed to like change, but this hinders our ability to grow and evolve. A brilliant leader is comfortable with themselves and not attached to how things are. They see change not as threatening, but as full of potential.

10. They know what is in their control… and what is not.

At the end of the day, all you have control over is yourself. How you behave, how much you love, how smartly you work, how much you honor your core values, how much you inspire others. A brilliant leader knows that their main job is to be the best leader they can be, and that that is quite a lot.

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11. They value people.

Brilliant leaders know that no amount of hard work on their own will get them where they want to go. They need relationships with people who believe in them and their cause, and those relationships are actually the most important thing.

Which one of this list will you bring into your life this week? Write a note and share!

— Samantha

Featured photo credit: Blue Eye/ Rob Unreall via flickr.com

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Published on July 17, 2018

How Productive People Compartmentalize Time to Get the Most Done

How Productive People Compartmentalize Time to Get the Most Done

I’ve never believed people are born productive or organized. Being organized and productive is a choice.

You choose to keep your stuff organized or you don’t. You choose to get on with your work and ignore distractions or you don’t.

But one skill very productive people appear to have that is not a choice is the ability to compartmentalize. And that takes skill and practice.

What is compartmentalization

To compartmentalize means you have the ability to shut out all distractions and other work except for the work in front of you. Nothing gets past your barriers.

In psychology, compartmentalization is a defence mechanism our brains use to shut out traumatic events. We close down all thoughts about the traumatic event. This can lead to serious mental-health problems such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) if not dealt with properly.

However, compartmentalization can be used in positive ways to help us become more productive and allow us to focus on the things that are important to us.

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Robin Sharma, the renowned leadership coach, calls it his Tight Bubble of Total Focus Strategy. This is where he shuts out all distractions, turns off his phone and goes to a quiet place where no one will disturb him and does the work he wants to focus on. He allows nothing to come between himself and the work he is working on and prides himself on being almost uncontactable.

Others call it deep work. When I want to focus on a specific piece of work, I turn everything off, turn on my favourite music podcast The Anjunadeep Edition (soft, eclectic electronic music) and focus on the content I intend to work on. It works, and it allows me to get massive amounts of content produced every week.

The main point about compartmentalization is that no matter what else is going on in your life — you could be going through a difficult time in your relationships, your business could be sinking into bankruptcy or you just had a fight with your colleague; you can shut those things out of your mind and focus totally on the work that needs doing.

Your mind sees things as separate rooms with closable doors, so you can enter a mental room, close the door and have complete focus on whatever it is you want to focus on. Your mind does not wander.

Being able to achieve this state can seriously boost your productivity. You get a lot more quality work done and you find you have a lot more time to do the things you want to do. It is a skill worth mastering for the benefits it will bring you.

How to develop the skill of compartmentalization

The simplest way to develop this skill is to use your calendar.

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Your calendar is the most powerful tool you have in your productivity toolbox. It allows you to block time out, and it can focus you on the work that needs doing.

My calendar allows me to block time out so I can remove everything else out of my mind to focus on one thing. When I have scheduled time for writing, I know what I want to write about and I sit down and my mind completely focuses on the writing.

Nothing comes between me, my thoughts and the keyboard. I am in my writing compartment and that is where I want to be. Anything going on around me, such as a problem with a student, a difficulty with an area of my business or an argument with my wife is blocked out.

Understand that sometimes there’s nothing you can do about an issue

One of the ways to do this is to understand there are times when there is nothing you can do about an issue or an area of your life. For example, if I have a student with a problem, unless I am able to communicate with that student at that specific time, there is nothing I can do about it.

If I can help the student, I would schedule a meeting with the student to help them. But between now and the scheduled meeting there is nothing I can do. So, I block it out.

The meeting is scheduled on my calendar and I will be there. Until then, there is nothing I can do about it.

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Ask yourself the question “Is there anything I can do about it right now?”

This is a very powerful way to help you compartmentalize these issues.

If there is, focus all your attention on it to the exclusion of everything else until you have a workable solution. If not, then block it out, schedule time when you can do something about it and move on to the next piece of work you need to work on.

Being able to compartmentalize helps with productivity in another way. It reduces the amount of time you spend worrying.

Worrying about something is a huge waste of energy that never solves anything. Being able to block out issues you cannot deal with stops you from worrying about things and allows you to focus on the things you can do something about.

Reframe the problem as a question

Reframing the problem as a question such as “what do I have to do to solve this problem?” takes your mind away from a worried state into a solution state, where you begin searching for solutions.

One of the reasons David Allen’s Getting Things Done book has endured is because it focuses on contexts. This is a form of compartmentalization where you only do work you can work on.

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For instance, if a piece of work needs a computer, you would only look at the work when you were in front of a computer. If you were driving, you cannot do that work, so you would not be looking at it.

Choose one thing to focus on

To get better at compartmentalizing, look around your environment and seek out places where you can do specific types of work.

Taking your dog for a walk could be the time you focus solely on solving project problems, commuting to and from work could be the time you spend reading and developing your skills and the time between 10 am and 12 pm could be the time you spend on the phone sorting out client issues.

Once you make the decision about when and where you will do the different types of work, make it stick. Schedule it. Once it becomes a habit, you are well on your way to using the power of compartmentalization to become more productive.

Comparmentalization saves you stress

Compartmentalization is a skill that gives you time to deal with issues and work to the exclusion of all other distractions.

This means you get more work done in less time and this allows you to spend more time with the people you want to spend more time with, doing the things you want to spend more time doing.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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