Project Peak: What Mountains are You Climbing this Year?
In this year of the Rooster, I look forward to sharing stories and lessons from my research, interviews, and my Positive Psychology journey which I’ve named Project Peak. I most welcome reading your comments to my entries as well as suggestions for interview subjects and topics to explore. I’d love to hear from you!
1. You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take #takeashot
Many of us struggle to have the courage to take a chance on an idea. Idea generation is the easy part. Taking action is the hard part. You can’t cross the finish line if you don’t start.
While on one extreme, some people have the “shiny object syndrome” and detour constantly and lack focus, most people have several bucket list items that they keep on waiting and waiting to do. And on their death bed, they still have not attempted. They think, just when my kids are grown, when I get this promotion, or when I have saved enough money for retirement, then I will do it.
2. Failure is a good thing #returnonfailure
First-time success is lucky. First-time failure is the norm. Give yourself permission to fail. Few failures are fatal. In fact, many companies now seek those with a resume that includes failures as well as successes. The most successful people in the world are those who have failed the most.
Unless we learn to fail, we will fail to learn.
Last year, as I progressed in my Positive Psychology journey, I started tracking a new metric, Return on Failure. Each week, I review the prior week and topline my accomplishments. Failure is a good thing. I want more failures so I can have success!
3. Speak the future now #speakandbecome
Visionary entrepreneurs have the talent to speak their future vision as being reality today. They “will” the future to happen.
I vividly remember my first week on the job at a startup which ultimately had a very successful exit, how the co-founder passionately “spoke the future now” in an interview with our leading industry analyst. And what he said did indeed happen!
The Marketing team which I had the privilege of leading, contributed by “willing” this stated future to happen for our company that then sold to the world’s fastest growing software company at that time, Siebel Systems.
4. Power of Visualization #seeandbecome
Athletic coaches use visualization of every detail of the “perfect” game to yield winning outcomes. Instead of looking at all the obstacles that become so big in our mind to inhibit us, visualizing success is powerful in moving us forward.
The way the brain is shaped with the visual cortex, the brain does not know the difference between real thing and imagined. When I ran my first marathon, my coach had me make posters “Grace, The Athlete” and post them throughout my house to provide encouragement.
Trick your brain, and make a poster!
5. Channel Fear to your advantage #facefear
Does fear paralyze you? What are you most fearful of? Fear increases when unaddressed. Face your fears head-on. Leverage fear to focus your attention and serve as a motivator for growth. What are you most fearful of? Fears are our greatest food!
I often think to myself when I hold fear, “what is the worst thing that could happen to me if I take this action that I am fearful?” Thinking through the answer usually prompts me to hold my breath and dive in.
6. Bias for action #justdoit
There are two types of people in the world. Those that make things happen and those that let things happen to them.
I often say that as consultants, my firm is paid to have the right answers and as coaches, we are paid to ask the right questions. Asking the right questions increases bias for action by 80%.
Research shows that those who are successful are those that have a bias for action. They are clear on their values and what they really want for their lives. The same studies show that that they are slow to change their decisions, if at all. On the other hand, people who fail usually make decisions slowly and change their minds quickly, always bouncing back and forth. Just decide!
7. Enjoy the journey
Why are so many entrepreneurs serial? It’s the journey, not reaching the summit that entrepreneurs enjoy. Success does not bring happiness. Happiness brings success.
My Positive Psychology Teacher, Tal Ben-Shahar, the creator of Harvard’s most popular course ever on Happiness states:
“Attaining lasting happiness requires that we enjoy the journey on our way toward a destination we deem valuable. Happiness, therefore, is not about making it to the peak of the mountain, nor is it about climbing aimlessly around the mountain: happiness is the experience of climbing toward the peak.”
Researching, interviewing interesting people, speaking and writing Project Peak as been an immense growth experience. Just as entrepreneurs enjoy the journey more than reaching the top, the same has been true for me.