Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Thursday, August 11, 2022

SpeakAnyway Speaking Tip #25: Mindset, Pt. I

Skills and content aren't enough if you don't have the right mindset about your speaking. Editors Note: Speaking of tech issues, my computer reset last night (thanks Bill) so my microphone default changed. Hence the echo.)

Thursday, August 4, 2022

Going From Creative Avoidance to Creative Confrontation


First heard the term 'creative avoidance' at least 15 years ago. It's a great term to soften the blow when you don't want to face the fact that you're simply procrastinating - putting off the important, the valuable, the HARD tasks, in favor of something that feels productive, is easy to do, and creates a dopamine surge.

That might be something truly worthy - like spending an hour getting an oil change for your car. Or a couple, doing it yourself - then you'll really feel good about yourself. Maybe you suddenly realize the laundry and the dishes need to be done, and, by golly, you'll really feel better in a clean environment. Or, it's getting to that next level, or five, of Candy Crush, or leveling up on Halo. It feels GOOD, doesn't it? You DID something. But, you didn't do what you originally set out to do - finish important paperwork, write a few pages in your book, send out 10 marketing inquiries - whatever it was you knew you should do, but just didn't want to face.

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I'm great at creative avoidance. I literally have it scheduled into my day. Each day I'm supposed to listen to an audible book, read 20 pages in a real book, read my 'Bible in a Year' email, and extend my consecutive day Kindle reading streak. Because, that makes me feel good. Doesn't help me market myself, though. Creates virtually zero money - though I'm learning some good YouTube strategies right now in Brian G. Johnson's YouTube Ritual.

Scheduled creative avoidance isn't all, of course. And I am almost to level 4100 on Candy Crush Soda. I expect a large sum of money soon from King.

What's the solution? Heck if I know. I'm 54 years old and I haven't beaten it yet.

Small victories have come when I work with scheduling time for important work - short bursts of 15 minutes (or 17 Minutes lately, thank to Darren LaCroix's recent book). Sometimes I actually lose track of time and get 30 full minutes of important work done. Other times, I just write another article for LinkedIn.

My biggest successes, though, come when the sh*t hits the fan. I'm great at last minute work. Deadline work. Gotta get the money to pay the rent work. Which, for me at least, is indicative of the real problem. Creative avoidance sends us to pleasure to avoid pain - one of the oldest motivational maxims around. Deadlines force us to the pain, and the only pleasure that moves us away from pain, is actually doing the work.

Which means, perhaps, the best solution is to increase your deadlines. Purposely increase your pain. Go beyond your 'why' - push past it to envision your 'what if I don't'. What's your worst case scenario? Is it bad enough to get you past your creative avoidance? If you don't believe you can truly end up in a worse situation by continuing to do what you're doing, it's easy to just stay where you are. Envisioning lots of money, big houses, private jets - for most people, we just don't really believe it's possible, or even necessary. But if you could lose your house, your spouse, your life - that's real. That can push you forward.

And you might just go from 'creative avoidance' to 'creative confrontation' - and work harder than you thought possible. And end up on that private plane you never thought you needed. Or at least a decent Honda Accord. Then you'll REALLY be living your #WinAnyway Life!

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Before You Give Up....

Despite common motivational wisdom, and often worldwide pressure, there's nothing wrong with giving up. We've all given up at one time or another, and we will all give up in the future. No, there's no clever turn coming up later in the article where I suggest giving up giving up. All I suggest is that you consider the following questions before you give up. 

Why do you want to give up? Write all the reasons down, whether you think they are good reasons or not. Just get them out, and put them in front of you. Is anyone pushing you to give up? 

How do those outside people and forces factor in? Do they matter as much as you think they do? Will they matter in a year? In 5 years? 

Where were you when you started, vs. where you are now that you want to give up? What have you achieved? What have you learned? What have you lost? 

Consider, one last time, what your vision for success was before you reached the point of giving up. Does it still inspire you? Will not achieving it by choice be worse than the frustration you feel going after it but falling short? 

What ONE circumstance could change that would change your mind about giving up? Are you in control of changing it? If you can, do you want to change it? 

What do you lose by giving up? Are you ready to lose what you'll lose? The goal, the job, the marriage...the vision of who you wanted to be? 

What will OTHER people lose if you give up? Who is invested in your achieving your goal? Who else stands to gain if you don't give up, and reach your goal? 

What will you gain by giving up? Time? Relief? Better health? 

After you give up, what will you do next? Do you have a different goal in mind? A better goal? If you're planning on resting, how long will you rest before you restart, either on the same goal or a new one? 

Do you still want to give up? 

Often, giving up comes at a point of such high frustration, we don't give it full consideration, and often feel like we've thought about it so long, and that is consideration enough. Yet answering the above questions requires a full stop, and a broad sweep of all the factors involved. 

After all due consideration, you might still want to give up, and it might be the best choice. Sometimes we settle for the good we think we want, and it blinds us to the great that we could actually achieve. 

On the other hand, you might decide staying the course is the best option, but now have some new ideas to move forward. Those are important. Giving up is often simply due to a drought of ideas of what to do next

Give up, or don't. But before you do...answer the questions above! Believe it or not, it's all part of living the WinAnyway Life!

Monday, July 18, 2022

This weekend - we watched two movies - both picked by my 21 year old daughter who's staying over in between apartments, and house sitting jobs. I say this because she's at a prime age of figuring out 'who she is, and who she could become', and temporarily couch-surfing with her parents is a part of that journey.  

Saturday, she picked '13 Going on 30' - a 22 year old comedy starring Jennifer Garner. It's a lightweight film about an awkward 13 year old girl who, in the midst of a bad birthday party, makes a wish that she was 'Thirty and Flirty', as described in her favorite magazine. Little does she know, magic glitter happens to fall on her from a gift given by her best friend Matty, who she's just yelled at for, well, being himself, an awkward 13 year old boy. 

Of course, as you might suspect, she wakes up in the body of her 30 year old self, spends the movie discovering that being who she thought she wanted to be wasn't so great, that Matty, who grows up to be a young Mark Ruffalo, is actually pretty awesome, and takes these life lessons back with her following another emotional scene involving magic glitter that returns her to her 13 year old self. A fun movie that my daughter said was 'transformational' when she watched it at 13. Last night, the pick was 

'Everything, Everywhere, All At Once', starring Michelle Yeoh, Jamie Lee Curtis, and Ke Huy Quan (from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and Goonies!). This is out in theatres, but also available for 5.99 on Amazon Prime, which is how we consumed it. It's about as different from '13 Going on 30' as you can get, in terms of complexity. Yeoh winds up manically discovering who she is in 100s of multiverses as she chases a villain who appears intent on killing her. She has no idea what's going on, of course, and spends the movie figuring out how to leverage who she is in these universes in order to return to her 'alpha' self, and save her reality as she knows it, by, of course setting it on a new course. 

The movie is a bit of an acid trip, not that I know that feeling first hand, but I feel safe in my assumption. But essentially, it's the same plot: protagonist is unhappy with current life, something happens to allow them to see their life in a different perspective, and they return to the present with a new outlook on life. Heck, it's George Bailey in 'It's a Wonderful Life' all over again. Honestly, you could probably identify this formula in half or more of the movies being made - it's a basic transformational plot. This genre, of something magically (or psuedo-scientifically) moving into a different self simply moves it along faster, and comes with the added bonus of lessons learned being able to apply to the younger self, instead of only being learned as an older self. If only we knew then, what we know now. 

So why am I telling you about these movies? Because we have the magic to do what these characters did right between our ears. The imagination to picture ourselves in the future if we stay on our current path. We don't think that way though, do we. Usually we spend our energy looking backward, often regretting what we've done to get here, and our imagination focusing on what we could have done differently. This can be helpful - and Winning Anyway involves reviewing the past to a degree - so I'm not suggesting it's a negative action, unless you stay in the past too long, or too often. 

What if...you looked at the many people you could become, instead? Who you might be in a different universe, or who you might be in 17 years, or heck, in 17 days? What choices would you have to make to be the version of yourself you want to be? This may sound like an easy ask - after all, we all have goals we want to achieve. But I'm suggesting we go deeper. Who will you be if those goals ARE achieved - or are NOT? Do you have the right goals? Will you truly be happy? Will you be who you want to be, not just once you've achieved them, but after taking all the actions required TO achieve them? What sacrifices will you have to make - and do you want to make them? 

By imagining FORWARD - you might save yourself time, pain, and even a few obstacles along the way. You can imagine one path - the straight line to the goals you currently have, as young Jenna did in '13 Going on 30', or you can get really intense and picture multiple versions of yourself - good, bad, and all places in between - and come out of it with some ideas that are completely new ways of thinking. 

Looking back has it's place, and while it can inform your future, you still can't change the past. Looking horizontally and/or forward into who you can become? That's a WinAnyway strategy that might just change the game for you in ways you've never imagined. 

Want some help imagining your best message? Then developing and delivering it to the world? Set up a free consult with me on my Calendly (https://calendly.com/rich-hopkins) - we'll take a look at the speech, and the speaker you can be the next time you deliver from stage.


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