"Those who apply themselves too closely to little things often become incapable of great things." Francois de La Rochefoucauld

Monday, June 23, 2008

Reality Check - Lets be Honest

"If we do not change our direction, we are likely to end up where we are headed." - Chinese Proverb

To get to where you want to go start where you're at. So where are you? Or, maybe a better question is what are you? The first step in any achievement at any level is to properly and accurately assess the current "state" of things. Individuals, businesses, and even governments are good at making generalized inaccurate assessments. Most of us can relate to this fact. It is very challenging to look at a part of us that holding us back, that is destroying our progress, or that is sabotaging our well-being. We like to use an elementary logic to justify or embellish areas of ourselves that we would like to change.

Businesses are similar to people in that regard. Many business managers and executives justify, excuse, or embellish results out of fear of exposing a weak point, or lack of efficacy in a certain department. Which leads us to the "choke-point" of the being honest theme. The fear of being exposed, and what it could mean.

There is a fear which overtakes some of us when we are forced to look at a limiting factor that could be in conflict with our identity. The interesting thing is that acknowledgment of a weakness or constraint does several wonderful things for us including the following:

- it allows us to search for precise solutions
- it conveys maturity to others (only capable and confident people will face a fear or limit and seek to overcome it)
- it opens opportunity to investigate how solving the problem/weakness will open doors of opportunity - thus indirectly feeding a compelling vision to see the solution through with optimism and expectation.

The danger of not properly assessing our current state are the following:

- we are thrown farther off track from our goals
- we become indecisive because of lack of accurate data
- we lack genuine confidence in our undertakings
- we lower our expectations, and stifle our most intimate desires

So how can we properly assess our state, and create a plan to fix what is wrong and strengthen what is right, and raise our vision? Several suggestions:

- What are your current results telling you? - results are accurate data, when properly interpreted.
- Feedback ( what do others tell me?) - seek input from others, both from your industry and outside of it to give the most compete info. possible.
- Actions (What actions do I habitually take? - actions are based on beliefs and give you insight as to what you really think of yourself and your business)
- Preparation (What am I preparing for? - complements beliefs: when something is wholeheartedly believed to occur in the near future, preparation happens.
- Comparison (How do I compare with others?) The best way to compare is not by guessing, but by probing, asking, and conversing with others to properly gauge our level of efficacy (we does this unconsciously anyway)- Even better is reading about others - biographies & autobiographies.

Fear not what might be exposed, but the consequences of not improving what should be exposed. The ultimate sign of maturity and competence is to observe with detachment. To allow your mind to analyze and execute a solution without being hemmed up by emotional flux.

Angel Armendariz

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