Jiu Jitsu for the Office: Don’t think try. Think do.

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One of the things that my Jiu Jitsu instructor Ryan Hall stresses repeatedly in classes is the importance of believing in what you are doing and expecting success. When he goes to execute a technique on someone, he knows it will work and therefore it does.

Beyond the martial arts this idea is alive and well. I took a class on Chaucer (The Canterbury Tales) in college and the instructor said in similar fashion that the key to reading Old English like a pro was selling that you knew what it should sound like. After all nobody else in class had been around long enough to tell you with any authority that you were saying it wrong.

The ideas above are mostly about confidence and how it can profoundly impact the outcomes we achieve from our efforts. You hear all the time that the first person you need to sell on an idea is yourself. I am a big believer in this. If you don’t believe why should anyone else?

Getting others to by into your idea of course starts with having a good idea. But once you get that part right you still need to convince others in most cases to get that idea into practice. This starts with believing in it enough that others can sense your confidence and feel comfortable buying in themselves.

The next time you are heading to a big meeting armed only with a powerpoint and a great idea…take the time to remind yourself of why the idea is great. Make sure you have yourself convinced before you try to convince others. Once you have that firmly in mind speak with confidence. It may not make your idea better, but it will make it a lot more likely to carry the day at the meeting.

*Please do not use the technique above to get your bad ideas approved. Only use these powers for good.

Thanks as always for reading my blog, I hope you will join the conversation by commenting on this post.

If you liked this post, please consider subscribing to this blog and following me on twitter @jmillsapps. I regularly give talks via webinar and speak at events and other engagements. If you are interested in finding out where to see me next please look at the my events page on this blog. If you would interested in having me speak at your event please contact me at events@joshmillsapps.com.

If you are interested in consulting services please go to MB&A Online to learn more.

Hard work beats talent that doesn’t work hard…

Be better, not just bigger

Be better, not just bigger

I never missed a meal growing up…ever. As the oldest of six kids you can tell who made the dinner table a priority. Our family has five skinny kids and me, the guy who never met a menu item he didn’t like. Along with it came all the stupid big kid nicknames like Moose, Big Poppa, and BigUn. One thing you get told over and over again when you are always the biggest kid is to be careful not to hurt the other kids. Of course it wasn’t all bad and being a bit bigger helped me get recruited by schools and pay for college, something that was otherwise going to be a challenge.

As I’ve gotten older and taken up jiu jitsu as a means of staying in shape I’m still often the biggest guy which still means being careful not to hurt people. It also means focusing harder on technique and the proper way of doing things. One thing that is easy to do when you have a 100 pounds on the guy you are working out with is to become focused on the outcome and use size to ensure you win. This may make you feel a little better about yourself in the near term but it is a surefire way to slow your development. In fact it completely ruins any feedback loop you may be trying to establish that would enable you to measure your progress. One thing I have done because of this is to really try to focus on proper execution over results and ensuring that I’m doing things correctly so that I can compensate for some of the natural advantages that size and strength bring, so that I’m prepared should the day come when I don’t have those advantages. I’ve also made it a habit of finding people who are better than me that can expose my weaknesses despite any physical advantage.

These are the same challenges that many of us face in developing new skills as managers and executives. Its sometimes hard to tell if we are getting better because the power of the position makes the feedback loop a bit more fuzzy. Nobody really wants to tell their boss that the new skill they are working on really isn’t hitting on all cylinders. Because of this is is critical to focus on your execution and really try to build your own ability to gauge your progress. It is also critical to identify and encourage those that are willing to provide you with constructive feedback to be forthcoming. As we move through our careers and advance it becomes harder and harder to get feedback on our performance because there are fewer opportunities and individuals that can provide that feedback. Contrary to the popular belief that things get easier as you advance in your career, increasing your skills often actually gets harder. Figuring out ways to ensure that you continue to progress means improving your internal capability to critique your performances and cultivating relationships with others that are willing and capable of providing this feedback to you becomes more and more critical as you refine your skills and advance in your career.

Thanks as always for reading my blog, I hope you will join the conversation by commenting on this post.

If you liked this post, please consider subscribing to this blog and following me on twitter @jmillsapps. I regularly give talks via webinar and speak at events and other engagements. If you are interested in finding out where to see me next please look at the my events page on this blog. If you would interested in having me speak at your event please contact me at events@joshmillsapps.com.

If you are interested in consulting services please go to MB&A Online to learn more.

A Jiu Jitsu champion’s views on what it takes to excel

I was listening to an interview with one of the most accomplished Jiu Jitsu players of all time, Marcelo Garcia, and he was talking about how he prepared for the championships and what drove him. I want bring up something really interesting that he said and I think it can be applied across anything that you do. If you want to check it out the point I want to bring up happens at the 5:30 mark in the above video.  He was asked, “What’s the most important characteristic that you can have to excel in this world?” He at first started out with a really kind of patented answer and I almost turned my brain off.  He said you have to give 100%.  That answer or give 110% I think is used so often that it’s become meaningless.  It’s what he said afterwards though that I found really interesting.  He said that if you give something just 80% and you don’t get there, you have wasted that 80%. I thought that really was something a little bit different from anything I had heard before and kind of changed the way I think about giving 100%.

When you think about the amount of time that you spend at anything that you’re trying to accomplish, whether its personal advancement, professional advancement, or a hobby, and you think about the amount of time that you put into it, you understand that you have a finite amount of time available to you. It really does put in perspective what giving 100% means when you’re doing something. Essentially, if you’re not giving it your all, you’re wasting your time. You’re not going to get where you want to go and you might as well not be doing it at all; you might as well be doing whatever else it is that you might want to do whether it is sitting on the couch watching TV or reading a book. With that logic he was saying that if you’re not going to give it 100% than what are you really accomplishing? So I thought it was a really interesting point; I’d never quite heard it phrased that way and I thought I’d pass it along.

Thanks as always for reading my blog, I hope you will join the conversation by commenting on this post.

If you liked this post, please consider subscribing to this blog and following me on twitter @jmillsapps. I regularly give talks via webinar and speak at events and other engagements. If you are interested in finding out where to see me next please look at the my events page on this blog. If you would interested in having me speak at your event please contact me at events@joshmillsapps.com.

If you are interested in consulting services please go to MB&A Online to learn more.

Tired? Beware the temptation to shortcut

JITSU

Every once in a while jiu jitsu will highlight something for me that is really important for business or personal life with regards to performance.  This past week I was sitting around with a couple of the guys after class and we were talking about how it seems like being tired makes us want to rush through things. In jiu jitsu, you’re trying to work through a sequence of moves to get to some endpoint very much like you might do in a business project or anything else that has a deadline. The guy who brought this up mentioned how he feels like he has a tendency to rush during drills the more tired he gets. So we talked about it for a little bit and I think this is something that happens so often in life it was worth pointing out.

A lot of times when you’re in the middle of a project, you’ve got a deadline looming, you’re under the gun, and you’ve been working late to try to get things accomplished as the project winds towards the close, the tendency or the temptation is to try to skip some steps in order to get things done. Now whether it is trying to go directly from your head to a final project and skipping outlining, drafting, or other steps that you might normally do, or trying to cram down your review process; what I found in life as well as jiu jitsu is that those things have a tendency to set you back more than they help you. You have to really sort of embrace the grind and understand that there really are no short cuts. More often than not attempting to rush through or cut steps out of the process isn’t going to work. It’s simply going to end with either a poor result or in taking more time because you’re going to have to go back and go do the steps that you should have done the first time anyway.  I think that one of the things you have to do if you want to be successful under those conditions is you have to resign yourself or mentally prepare yourself to grind through it. You have to understand that it’s a process and you have to decide for yourself if you’re going to be able to make it through to completion because you’re probably not going to be able to shortcut that routine without the end result suffering.

Thanks as always for reading my blog, I hope you will join the conversation by commenting on this post.

If you liked this post, please consider subscribing to this blog and following me on twitter @jmillsapps. I regularly give talks via webinar and speak at events and other engagements. If you are interested in finding out where to see me next please look at the my events page on this blog. If you would interested in having me speak at your event please contact me at events@joshmillsapps.com.

If you are interested in consulting services please go to MB&A Online to learn more.