By Guest Blogger Joe Zente, President & CEO, Z3 Performance Development, Inc.
Most people have a good heart and want to do the right thing. They do their best to be truthful in their dialogue and interactions with others. Unfortunately, research shows we do not tend to be so honest with ourselves. Our self-talk is loaded with piles of BS.
Our internal conversations have enormous ramifications on the level of our performance. Simply, your self-talk ultimately determines your actions, achievement, and growth. It controls your personal and business success.
We all have many motivations to lie to ourselves. We lie to satisfy our psychological needs, avoid pain, stay in our comfort zone, and remain confident in our personal abilities. We lie to feel better. Unfortunately, these lies drive us to consistently make unskillful decisions.
By lying, we sacrifice our long-term needs in order to fulfill our short-term desires. The psychological motivations here are deep-rooted and strong, so overcoming the desire to maintain false beliefs and deny reality requires courage and commitment.
Our self-talk controls our choices and behavior. So, if we don’t make ourselves acutely aware of our lies and commit to an intentional process to prevent them from dictating our actions, we will continue to BS our way into poor decision-making, missing our goals and aspirations and falling far short of our potential. We become ineffective robots.
In other words, productivity and effectiveness are a 100% function of our self-talk. If you have the courage to totally transform your personal and business performance, you can do so by adopting a process to improve your truthfulness. The resulting actions will elevate you to much higher levels of personal freedom and happiness.
Executives share their internal lies with me all the time. I’m sure you hear them as well. Here are just a few examples of some destructive self-talk I continually hear from well-intentioned business owners:
“I would do that, but I can’t because…”
“If I could only ________, then my life would be fantastic.”
“If I do __________, people might think I’m nuts (or dumb, or arrogant).”
“I would change, but I can’t do it because ________.”
“I know what I’m doing.”
and I’m sure you’ve heard this popular ditty…
This last lie is one of the most destructive because it continues to feed upon itself, taking the liar deeper and deeper into the un-productive abyss.
You might notice that people who tell you how busy they are tend to always be busy. Most are never able to escape their shackles. A person’s self-talk creates their busy-ness. So, without changing their BS, they will continue to make choices that create busy activities instead of productive ones.
Most honest people would agree that Busy-ness is not success or freedom, but simply a lack of priority. As with all self-lying, the Busy Lie mortgages long-term happiness for near-term emotional gain. And the mortgage interest rate is astronomical.
A business owner can do anything; but cannot do everything. One can choose to be busy or choose to be effective. But not both.
Being truthful with oneself is a life-long journey. The process is not easy (especially if you try to go it alone). But the process is fairly simple. Here are the steps:
Muster up the courage, then COMMIT to a process of BS elimination.
If you don’t have a coach, find an accountability partner – someone who will agree to talk with you frequently to call you on your BS and resulting choices and actions.
Find yourself a peer group. Remember, this process will take courage. Peers will keep you on course, drive your accountability up a notch, unearth hidden self-lies, help you generate new effectiveness insights, make better decisions, and much more.
Tell EVERYONE you know that you have committed to this new process. The more people that know, the less likely you are to bail out.
Decide what you REALLY want (since you won’t be lying to yourself anymore, you’ll be much more likely to earn it!)
Set specific goals and make a plan to achieve them. Share your new plan with your partner and peer group for advice, council, and insight.
Be humble. Ask yourself what lies you are telling yourself today (use the examples above as a starting point).
Stay the course and continue the process. Doing so will make BS-elimination a productivity habit.
When I founded Z3 Performance Development 21 years ago, I did so to help private business owners find Freedom through Results, Results through Responsibility ™. During that time, I have observed honest self-conversation transform the lives of hundreds of owners. It lies at the core of performance transformation.
I sincerely hope you will adopt this process, leading to a much more effective and prosperous 2019 and beyond.