Fear is not a force.

On the savannas of Africa, wildebeests live in constant fear. The fear of getting caught by a hungry lion or not having enough food to raise the young ones. Sometimes the dominant bull in the herd may fear the other up and coming bulls. But, the fact is, fear helps the animals to survive, run faster, jump higher, become more robust and react quicker.

Imagine what went through the minds of the soldiers that landed on the beaches of Normandie. Fear is one of the first things that come to mind and courage. And bravery. They felt the reality of the anxiety but still had the courageousness to leap. Remember, fear was never absent. They only found a way to put mind above matter. 

On the other hand, recklessness is different, although often misinterpreted as fearlessness. Lacking fear can be a huge problem. With fear, the consequences of your actions are always in the back of your head. However, with recklessness, a disregard for reality creeps in.

Fear can be a distraction, but it can be a great enabler when used correctly. If survival results from being afraid, like on the African savannas, you can only become more powerful and robust. It will teach you the correct reaction to a specific situation. Fear will keep you on a safe path between comfort and the unbearable.

Bottom line: Fear can be your friend or enemy. Fear is normal. How you tap into your primordial instincts is up to you. You can either “Forget Everything And Run” or “Face Everything And Rise”.

The 80/20 rule trap.

The other day I was again reminded of the 80/20 rule, 20% of your effort gives you 80% of your results. Seemingly, this will help you see your most productive tasks and know what to prioritise.

The deviations on this so-called rule are ample:

  • 20% of customers bring 80% of the revenue.
  • 20% of the team performs 80% of the work.
  • 20% of marketing efforts deliver 80% of results.

Well, the question is, where does the real value lie? What will happen if you push for that last 20% or commit the remaining 80% of your resources? 

Maybe Pareto’s law is a mind trap, or perhaps just life.

We all know that those who set them apart have clear goals and constantly increase their effort. Imagine if 100% of your team performs above average and if 100% of your marketing effort outperforms your goals.

It is only an idea. Which option do you prefer?

Bottom line:

  • Don’t get trapped by the 80/20 rule.
  • Get rid of the 80% that holds you back.
  • Commit to going the extra mile.
  • Inspire to show up and give 100%.

Garage cleaning, the opportunity cost

Today was one of those garage cleaning days. It happens once in a while when enough frustration builds up. And then it boils over.

It is all about those little things that stand in your way, those irritating stuff. Well, the fact is, sacrificing a free day for garage cleaning does not come easy. You may call it “opportunity cost”.

However, the benefit is that you may sometimes find those containers full of missing things. The stuff that I thought was lost for years. Somehow it became hidden from me. And, in some cases, it is already replaced.

Bottom line: Regular “garage cleaning” is not a bad idea in our personal and professional lives. It helps to understand what we have and don’t have, identify those things (or people) hiding from us and get rid of the irritations.

The secret of the recipe.

If you are working in a cookie factory, your daily task is, most likely, to follow a recipe. But, above all, your boss will judge how well you follow the recipe. As a result, you are rewarded for your consistency.

As soon as you gain insight into the recipe or decide which recipe to follow, you are probably a manager. However, you require permission for every decision you make from higher up the ladder. 

On the contrary, you’ve chosen to lead if you design the recipe. As soon as you have the power to change the formula, you are in the driving seat. Above all, you can determine the direction, for better or worse.

In the end, leading is a conscious decision.

Bottom line: Following is a great place to start. See it as a learning phase. However, leading is a choice. It shows that you can handle change. But on the other hand, for many, managing can be a trap.

The solution to resistance is consistency.

Most of the work we do is all about serving and change. You are developing a product to ease somebody’s life. To make the unbearable a little bit more bearable. After all, we all want to do be proud of our work.

You should see it as changing the people about which we care. Unfortunately, however, the resistance to change is frequently more significant than we think. Because, for many, it is risky.

However, consistency is the best way to chip resistance to change away. In other words, to deliver on your promise, time and again, no matter what. It is a way to build confidence. After all, your name is on the stake. 

Similarly, nothing will scare people more like the unpredictable.

Bottom line: Consistency is a great way to influence the dreams and desires of those you want to serve and maybe change. Anyway, it is only a matter of sticking to your promise.

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Celebrating our scars.

In her weekly column, the political commentator, Melanie Verwoerd, states that “we should celebrate our scars because they are a sign of our collective strengths.”

She tells how she stood next to a tattooed lady. What struck her was the confidence of the lady. How well she carried her tattoos. She then shared, with the woman, that she contemplated getting a tattoo to cover a surgical scar with the woman.

The woman replied, “You know, you must do it if it is a way to celebrate the scar. We should never hide our scars – they should be celebrated as a sign of what we have overcome.”

We seldom use celebration and scars in the same sentence in my world. But, to be honest, the sooner we can forget about our mishappenings, the better, we believe, it is. The opportunity to learn and grow is never the first thing that will cross our minds.

Bottom line: Take time. Sit back. Relax. And let us compare our scars. But, more importantly, let us share what we learned through the healing process. If anything at all.