From personal experience, when you screw up, it’s best to first admit it and then start cleaning up the mess. Trying to brush it under the rug wastes energy and multiplies the size of the mess. Everyone makes mistakes, bad things happen, and it’s the response that really counts. Admitting your mistakes is the best way to improve. Ignoring mistakes causes missed opportunities for improvement. Seems obvious, but it’s not always common practice.
Practicing honesty lets you move fast. You don’t even have to think, truth becomes natural. Harvard Business Review says it this way: “Candor Improves Performance.”
MAKE INTENTIONS KNOWN
Start by telling people what you intend to do, right now. Make your intentions known. People like to help, and will give you a fresh perspective. and valuable feedback. The collective intelligence of five peers is vastly superior to your single mind.Give up trying to prove your smartness. Develop the courage to announce your intentions; peers will get behind you, get out of your way, and clear your path.
Need to meet with someone? Why not just tell them? There’s probably no downside. Often times we suck at communicating, even with our spouses. This creates all kinds of problems when people don’t understand what’s going on.
Example: Peter Diamandis (Mr. X-Prize) set out on a mission to privatize space flight. It took him a decade to cut through red tape in order to fly a plane into zero G. His message to the bureaucrats: “you will retire before I quit.” As a result, if you have the coin, you can now buy flight to the edge of space to experience zero-G.
ATTACK FROM ALL SIDES
In the book Mindset (non-affiliate link), Carol Dweck explains how growth minded people use every strategy possible to make sure they succeed. This is what it takes to destroy obstacles.
Brendon Burchard describes the same thing in a slightly different way. He says you need to go to war with your problem. When you go to war you send in the army, navy, marines, and Air Force. You use all the resources at your disposal to get the best outcome. You attack from all sides.
Jim Kwik frequently quotes Albert Einstein: “We can not solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them.” You have to try new approaches, some of which have never been tried. Don’t quit after your first attempt. Most people, when trying something new, quit after the first failure, when they are actually very close to achieving a breakthrough.
Example: job application. The bare minimum is applying online. What else could you do? Research the business, carefully prepare a resume and cover letter, appear at the business and meet the manager, call them up every day, offer to work for free for 1 week. Attack from all angles.
TAKE IMPERFECT ACTION
…but don’t suck. Taking imperfect action does not mean produce garbage. It means use the info you have now to take action. It also means not waiting for perfect information and timing. Perfection never comes.
Manoj Bhargava teaches a powerful lesson. When his staff tells him it will take days or weeks to give results, he asks: “what can you give me by 3pm?”
The message is this: take imperfect action right now, get started. Think of something you can do right now to build momentum.
Examples: schedule a meeting, announce your intentions to your team, jot down notes. Get the ball rolling! You do not need perfect information to get started, and you may never get it.
To quote the great Zig Ziglar:
“You don’t have to be great to start, but you have to start to be great.”
Thanks for reading! My mission in writing these posts is always to help uplift at least one person. If only one person is uplifted, the world is a slightly better place. Your comments and feedback make writing extremely rewarding; I truly appreciate receiving them. Stay legendary!
About The Author
I am a proud father of two and a leader of engineers at Symantec Security Technology and Response. I join the fight against malware and ransomware every day. I am hiring!
After earning my B.S. degree in Computer Science and Engineering from UCLA, I continue to mentor students in Symantec’s internship program. In the security space, I hold patent #8,819,828. My FCC Amateur Radio Technician license call-sign is KK6OOO.