In an engaging, conversational style, Dr. Fazio offers success strategies that can be used the moment you stop reading. The focus is on helping you help yourself by learning easy-to-read and easy-to-apply techniques that will help you get the edge in business and in life. You will:
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Insecurity Install a Security System
If you think you can or you think you can't, you're right.
— Henry Ford
It all starts with attitude, which is the foundation for Psychological Swagger. There are countless quotes and motivational stories related to the importance of attitude. Quite simply, it is the differentiator between those who complain and those who train. Everyone faces challenges in their pursuit of success, but few have the grit to stay the course and maintain their focus. A core aspect of attitude is belief, your belief in yourself as well as your belief in how the world works. The lens through which you see things takes you either toward your success or away from it.
We all have insecurities. Those of us who use them can lose them. Insecurities can limit our progress in life. An example of this is letting a thought about the past predict your future. For me, a major insecurity was my lack of "traditional intelligence." I always struggled with standardized tests and getting good grades. Earlier in life, this was what I focused on because it's what most people valued and where emphasis was placed. With time, I made my insecurity my greatest strength.
A story I heard years ago illustrates this point rather well. A husband and a wife were driving along the highway and the husband was complaining about the windshield being dirty. He pulled off to a rest stop and asked a gas station attendant to clean the windshield. After the windshield was cleaned, the man started complaining about the incompetence in the world and how the windshield was still dirty and all he could see was dirt and blurriness. When the husband was done with his rant, his wife leaned over and took off her husband's glasses and asked, "How do you see things now?" To the man's surprise, everything was crystal clear. It wasn't the windshield that was dirty, it was his glasses. This little story is a great illustration of how the lens through which we see things impacts our experience.
A successful person I'd like to introduce you to is Roland Trombley, Senior Vice President and General Manager at Comcast Spotlight. I knew Roland was an illustration of how attitude leads to success within the first moments of speaking to him. The following is the simple success strategy that Roland recommends.
Roland Trombley is the inspiration behind "Power Seller" at Comcast Spotlight. "Power Seller" is an innovative sales strategy that tailors roles to talent. This strategy frees "all stars" up from administrative tasks and allows people to leverage their natural skill sets that drive revenue. Roland has been a true transformational leader. Many people have visions for cultural change and increasing organizational effectiveness, but very few are successful. Roland was successful by leveraging his simple strategy of building confidence within people.
His philosophy is that the biggest success comes from people who believe in their ability. When people are willing to travel outside their comfort zone, they push themselves and others to learn and grow. The initiation of a strategy at the top is irrelevant if the middle managers aren't equipped and confident to execute.
Roland explains that it's all about motivating people through confidence. A key to creating that confidence is as simple as communication. However, one-to-one communication alone is not sufficient. It is about creating a culture and system of communication. He believes in creating plans for communication on a weekly basis throughout the year. The discipline of being upfront and transparent builds credibility and respect. This motivates people and creates alignment.
Insecurity can be fuel for confidence. Many executives lead without paying attention to what people need in order to feel more confident and comfortable. This is especially critical in times of change when pressure arises and people fold back into their comfort zones. Confidence is what makes comfort zones larger and helps people to make decisions and act intentionally rather than reactively.
A quote that stands out from the conversation with Roland is, "The reason I am successful is because I worked for a horrible boss!" During this experience, Roland learned how a leader could be a detractor of performance rather than an enhancer of talent.
Roland's advice is to find opportunities to build your confidence and grow confidence in others and "own it." There are many ways to build confidence within yourself. One is to identify a skill that you want to master. Commit to that skill by reading about it, watching videos, and finding people you trust to provide honest feedback. Building confidence in others is a combination of caring and challenging. This means demonstrating support for the person and continuing to challenge them to grow by giving them stretch assignments. If it's in a professional setting, or even if it's outside a professional setting, it's about encouraging the person to grow by doing things outside their comfort zone.
We'll all face insecurity with our careers. The way to counteract insecurity is to have a foundation of confidence, and the best way to do that is to install a security system.
Simple Success Strategy: Install a Security System
Early on in my career, I let my insecurity of not being "smart" fuel my passion and desire. I began to learn about other types of smart. I researched the impact of emotional intelligence and developing people smarts. This is not to say that traditional intelligence doesn't matter. It does, but I have found that other aspects of life lead to a much more productive and successful career and life. I shifted my focus to what I can do, rather than what I didn't believe I could do.
I saw the author of Blink (2007), Malcolm Gladwell, speak about the differences between cultures and how when American children are confronted with a difficult math problem, they say to themselves, "I don't know how to do this." However, when children in areas of Asia are faced with the same situation, they say to themselves, "I haven't found the solution yet." This connected to me because it is the difference between how I used to live my life and how I live it now. When I was a kid in school, anytime I saw that little asterisk that told you the homework question was more difficult, I immediately shut down and thought to myself that I wasn't going to be able to solve the problem.
With time, I reframed the situation and used it to leverage my strength, connecting to people and building relationships. I began asking for help from those who naturally were able to solve those difficult problems. The result changed my life. People were willing to help and I developed deeper connections by using my vulnerability as a strength.
As years passed, I replaced my insecurity of not being smart with the confidence that I can find a way to learn. I realized that I learned best through conversations and interactions with people. It has been a driving force for me and has paid tremendous dividends. It has become a differentiating strength in that when I teach someone something, it is in simple terms; because if I understand it, most people will. I am not shy about talking about where I struggle. In fact, I offer that without hesitation.
We can all do this. We can find what insecurities limit us and develop confidence to break through these limitations. This has a positive snowball impact. We all have insecurities that surface, most of which we are not even aware. The shift from insecurity to security and confidence has a ripple effect.
What insecurity has been a part of your life? How can you shift this to a security and become confident? Our minds work like computers; they operate according to how we program them. The more we can develop positive programs, the more you will get positive outcomes. A very practical and effective way to counteract insecurity is to build yourself a foundation of security. This security system serves two purposes: 1) it consistently builds your confidence and 2) it buffers the impact of experiences that may test your confidence.
The way the security system is built is through positive self-statements and building your confidence corral. These statements are strong and positive about yourself. The following are examples of these statements. Take five minutes to create five more.
1. I am confident.
2. I believe in myself.
3. I bounce back from adversity.
4. I am strong.
5. I focus on what I can control.
There are a few guidelines in order for the self-statements to work:
1. All statements must be positive and about you.
2. You have to believe 100 percent in the statement.
3. Say the statement like you mean it, with feeling.
To start, say these statements to yourself every night for one month. Then you can shift to three times a week. My clients have taught me that it is helpful to have them on an index card or have a Post-it reminder on their bathroom mirror.
The more you tell yourself that you believe in yourself, the more it will become the norm that you will take on challenges. Personally, I went from being fearful of what I wasn't able to do, to passionate about learning and excelling. With time, I built up what I call my confidence corral. My confidence corral is all of the things that bring out my confidence. It can be things I say to myself, what I wear, who I talk with, the way I stand, what I eat, or the questions I ask myself. It's just like a pre-shot routine that an elite athlete goes through. The more I make confidence a norm, the less chance insecurity gets to create a storm.CHAPTER 2
Doubt Put Doubts in Your Doubts
Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt.
— William Shakespeare
Fazio, why did you quit?"
I remember the day like it was yesterday. I was sitting in my high school auditorium. I was overweight, pushing 215 as a sophomore; a sophomore full of doubt, insecurities, failures, fears, and lists of what I couldn't do. Behind me, the voice of the best athlete in our high school, and the starting varsity quarterback, belted out the words: "Fazio, why did you quit?" It was the loudest thing I have ever heard and something I never want to hear again.
I loved sports and loved playing them. I was good at sports, not great, but good, and better than most at a few things. However, I was consumed with worry and fear about what people thought instead of what I felt and thought. This misdirected focus kept me from succeeding.
My worry and doubt started early for me. When I was young, I played baseball. Every minute of every game, all I worried about was what would happen if the ball were hit to me. It made no sense, because when the ball came to me, I knew what to do and did the right thing. I would traumatize myself with each pitch. I was so scared that I would literally wet my pants with every pitch. I know this sounds a bit crass, but I need you to know what it was like for me to be stuck because of my doubts. My parents had to ask special permission for the umpire to let me be the only one on the field to keep their uniform untucked.
How did I get to the quitting? As a freshman, I was too afraid to go out for the football team because I was just too scared. I knew I could play and be good, but it was something new and I was afraid. I didn't play football freshman year, or any sport for that matter. All I did was wish I were playing. I felt like a loser and, in many ways, I was a loser. At the start of the next year, I decided to try out for football. I lasted less than a week. Every practice, all I said to myself was I was too far behind and couldn't do it. I hated every minute of it and quit. I defeated myself. That's why the quarterback called me out.
Then one day in gym class midyear, Coach Fred McClain pulled me off to the side and said, "Come see me after school, you are going to throw shot put." I was scared to death, but he saw something in me, or he saw something on me — most likely my huge gut and rather large chest and shoulders. I threw shot put that year, and I gained some confidence. Finally, senior year, I made a simple decision. I went out for football again. I wasn't great, but I did it and fought through my fears. It was the start of my path to learning that no matter how many doubts I had in myself, there was always a voice inside of me that knew I could. I made a choice to focus on what I could do rather than what I knew I couldn't do. I know this seems simple, but it changed my life and that grit stuck with me, and I leverage it every day.
Now I don't hesitate to get up to play or get the ball any time and every time. Of course I get nervous, but I own it and use it. I still fail all the time, but I fail forward. I went from being a kid that wet his pants at the thought of a baseball being hit to him, to someone who thrives at the opportunity to be on live TV and talk to the nation about how to be your best when things are at their worst. I share this not to be arrogant or to brag, but to illustrate the power of going from doubt to confidence. Trust me, if I can make the shift, so can you.
There's not much worse in life than being a slave to your doubt. Doubt is just as bad, if not worse, than hearing from others that you can't do something. Doubt is something internal. It's a feeling, an association, and a recipe for failure. I can remember working with an executive who reeked of doubt. He was someone who was intelligent and well established, but riddled with doubt. He hesitated with every decision and every move. The doubts led to indecision and eventually ate away at his confidence and, worse, his competence. The challenge is that doubts can get a hold on us and emotionally cripple our progress. The gift is that once you control them, new opportunities arise.
Doubts are emotional beliefs that we create and give power to. You need to analyze your doubts just like you would analyze a business decision. The downside of doubts is an ugly experience. Anytime emotion comes into play it feels like fact. Feelings are not fact; they are just our associations with experiences, but we have a hard time determining what is fact and what is fiction. The truth is that most doubts are fiction that we make into fact. Because our minds follow the direction of our emotions, it is very easy to let doubt consume you.
Simple Strategy: Put a Doubt in Your Doubt
Renowned psychologist to athletes, Dr. Al Petitpas, teaches athletes that in order to be successful, you need to keep your doubts in check. His strategy that I have seen work tremendously is to put doubts in your doubts. I have seen him turn people's level of performance in sport and life around with this strategy.
In some of my early work with elite athletes, I put this simple strategy into practice. I was consulting a diver who was talented and successful. He had won many events and was on the way to dominate an event a second year in a row. When he approached a national event, he became doubtful to the point that he was unable to perform even in practice. Obviously, this became a huge concern to him, his coach, and his teammates. What didn't make sense was that he had performed daily and year after year, so why in the world would he not be on top of his game? In a word, doubt.
The diver, let's call him Barry, became overwhelmed with doubt. We had to explore what was driving it. It was actually quite simple. It came down to the questions he kept asking himself, which began with "What if?" What if I don't nail the dive? What if I can't execute? What if I failed? What if I don't win again? Although it seemed completely irrational to those around him, it was pure, full fledged, debilitating doubt to him. He was crippled by it and we needed to do something to put a doubt in his doubt. We followed a formula of success that started similar to most formulas of success, which was one of awareness that leads to action.
Scan for Your Doubts
First things first: uncover anything that can be creeping into your thought process that is keeping you from your focus. Often, this can be something that seems as harmless as a gut feeling about who is watching you or the set up of a situation. In this particular case with Barry, the doubts that surfaced were a fear of failure and an overconcern with what people are thinking while they are watching. Make a list of your doubts so you can use them or lose them. We're leaning toward losing them. Keep in mind that fear has a way of being the strongest doubt.
Understand and Verify
Once you identify what the doubts are, you can begin to explore them by asking yourself some key questions: Where are these doubts coming from? What are the triggers for your doubts? Are these doubts real or are they what you have created? Is there any value in your doubts? An example of a doubt having value would be if you have doubt because you feel unprepared and it's impacting your confidence. This would be useful because it's a cue to prepare more.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Simple Is The New Smart"
Copyright © 2016 Rob Fazio.
Excerpted by permission of Red Wheel/Weiser, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Foreword Neil Cavuto 9
Section 1 Psychological Swagger
1 Insecurity: Install a Security System 33
2 Doubt: Put Doubts in Your Doubts 41
3 Stubbornness: Releasing Control to Gain Control 49
4 Helplessness: Become an Owner 57
5 Thinking Errors: Mind Muscle Memory 67
6 Getting Stuck in Reverse: Shifting Gears 75
Section 2 Reading
7 Listening Is Bad for Your Health: Selective Listening and Talking Back 85
8 The Blind Side: Mind Your Blind Side 93
9 Bad Advice: Create a Constellation of Competence 99
10 Thinking Too Much or Too Little About What People Think: Intentional Impressions 105
11 The Culture Culprit: Intentional Action 111
12 Political Denial: Be Savvy Not Slimy 119
13 Ignoring Your Intuition: Judge a Book by its Cover 125
Section 3 Leading
14 Innovation Evaporation: Innovation Creation 133
15 Motivation Complication: Paying People with Their Motivational Currency 139
16 Passive Persuasion: The Persuasion Pyramid 147
17 Analysis Paralysis: Decision Precision 155
18 The Lone Ranger: Embrace the Stranger Danger 161
19 Firefighting and Emotion Commotion: Emotional Intelligence in Action (EIA) 169
20 Conversation Hesitation: Conversation Confidence 181
Section 4 Accelerating
21 Blurry Vision: Vision with Precision 191
22 The Complexity of Change: Focus on Facts, Feelings, and the Future 201
23 Losing Focus and Lack of Follow Through: Practical Prioritization 207
24 The Stall: Refuel, Repurpose, and Re-energize 213
25 The Pressure Cooker: Control, Capability, and Connection 221
26 The Crazy and the Lazy: Eliminate the Noise and Be a Solution Starter 231
Conclusion: Your Next Move 241
About the Author 255