To show you a way and give you the urge to inspire your kids, family and your work colleagues with a real and tangible hope that will lift their spirits and yours, and fill everyone with the urge to emerge stronger and ready to lead the world in the recovery so that you will see good days.
I'm going to share a powerful tool and neuroscience hack that you will easily use to bring absolute clarity to the future expectation of good you want to create and use to inspire others.
Your kids will want to do something creative, your family will look at you with newfound respect and admiration and your work colleagues will be eager and ready to listen, collaborate and be more productive.
In times of difficulty or crisis, the trap for leaders is trying to control everything.
And this applies as much to leading in your home as it does in the office.
When your locus of control is hindered or even removed, when you feel even slightly that your own life is out of your control, your threat response fires up. Our favourite almond-shaped friends inside our brain, the amygdalae, take up the reins of your response with plenty of stress hormone production of cortisol and adrenaline.
It's a never ending barrage of negative news and many people scoff at the notion of remaining optimistic in light of these “facts”.
The human brain is programmed to narrow your focus
in the face of a threat. It's an in-built mechanism designed perfectly for self-protection. It means that your field of vision is restricted to what is immediately in front of you. Perfect for hunters in the Serrengeti and your cave dwelling ancestors. Pretty useful in the 21st century office and home, but unseeable threats lurking in the very air before you… not quite so useful.
Leaders, whether at work or at home, need to intentionally pull back and take a broader view. Leaders need to look up and see a new future. A new future that is good and positive and filled with promise. We call it hope. And we could all use some hope right now.
What we want is some real hope. Real hope is the positive expectation of good. It's not just wishful or fanciful thinking. It is something you believe will come to pass.
Like everyone else, you want to have this positive expectation of good and I know it is difficult. And we all would like someone to stimulate this hope within us. We want someone, anyone to inspire us, to fill us with the urge or ability to feel something hopeful, something positive to rescue us from this pit of negativity and confinement and restriction.
You can probably think of a small handful of leaders who truly inspire you with hope of a brighter future.
Martin Luther King was pretty inspiring with his “I have a dream” speech. Winston Churchill inspired a generation to give their lives for freedom promising to “fight them on the beaches”. And just recently, Queen Elizabeth 2nd ralleyed hope for an end to Covid 19 with “We will meet again.”
But it seems, inspirational leaders are few and far between. Yet, there's one in your household. There's an inspirational leader in your workplace. There's one who can inspire hope and rally people in your community. And that person is you. Yes, you. You have all that you need to inspire hope in others and hence for yourself. You might not believe it just yet, but give me half an hour of your time and you will.
Working from home ain't what it's all cracked up to be
Well, I actually think that it is, but then I've been doing this for many years. But I do recall how tough it was at the beginning. And now it's much more difficult.
Now, your partner is at home also (or perhaps worse, if they are in essential services and escape every day) kids are at home too, either from school or university and even they are finding their phone and netflix is getting less exciting.
We're confined in space, and there's a limited number of spaces to work, and bandwidth is a premium. Young kids especially, expect you to entertain them, educate them, feed them, nurture them, console them, and inspire them. And it's tough to keep it up when you are feeling disconnected, under pressure, fearful that maybe the business will fold. Basically, you have the odds stacked against you.
Yet they (and you) crave hope and you could really use some inspiration right now.
So let's get to it.
To do this, you're going to need that SWING.
SWING is a powerful leadership coaching tool I use to give my clients absolute clarity with actionable steps to achieve a crystal clear future intention and the motivation and inspiration to make it happen.
Let me briefly explain the key SWING steps and what you can expect, then we'll get on and do it together. I'll lead, and you fill in the blanks, pausing whenever you need to do so. The first time through this is for you, your expectations for the future. Afterwards you can do this for your kids, your partner and your work colleagues, staff, friends, neighbours…
The process is on the form I share below. This includes the audio coaching for each step. You'll be able to coach yourself through this process with my help, and let me tell you what's going to happen first and a little example to get you in the right frame of mind:
S stands for SPECIFIC
here you will gain absolute clarity on your intended outcome – in this case your future expectation for yourself, and then for others. This is your vision for the future and we will define it with the five senses:
- What you (will) see with your eyes
- What you (will) hear with your ears
- What you (will) feel and be able to get hold of, touch or know is concrete
- What you (will) smell and taste
Fo example, you might see your office colleagues smiling and laughing, they look healthy and happy, and maybe the computer screen flickers with a chart showing income growth. You can see your kids smiling, joking, playing, helping with housework willingly, graduating, with a report card in hand and commendations. You might see a fridge filled with your favourites and a batch of spare toilet roll in the cupboard.
You might hear happy chatter and laughing. Your partner whispers sweet love in your ear, your kids tell you a corny joke they heard at school, your boss praises you for a job very well done, and you hear the delicious sounds of the aircraft engines screeching as you land at your favourite foreign destination for the holiday of a lifetime.
You'll feel the bump of the landing gear and your legs twitch with the anticipation of standing and climbing outside into the glorious and perfect weather. Breezing through immigration without fear and soon diving into the crystal clear waters….
I trust you are getting the picture now. Guess what I'm looking forward to. :-)
You'll see the bottle of wine on the table, pop the cork and savour the fresh, crisp and fruity burst of bubbles. Taking in a big, deep noseful of the BBQ and already feel your tongue and lips moistening in anticipation…
And you were wondering what this smell and taste thing have to do with it, but do you notice how you were instantly transported to smell the same thing? Smell and taste are incredible and powerful sense, if you can evoke a familiar smell with your future vision, please do. Not everyone can at first, but try to do so, it will become so very real for you and for everyone who hears you describe it.
As we do this together, I want you to write down your responses as fully as you can. Keep writing, not correcting or spell checking, just write – you can edit later.
Then we'll move onto W for Win.
As in What do you WIN when your future vision happens? What are the payoffs, for you, for your kids, for your colleagues, for your partner, your boss, your company?
The second part of win is the cost. Because yes, your future vision costs. Certainly some money, and time, and effort and… what else?
I asks you if you are In control
of everything that you need to be in control of to achieve this?
We want to know if you have all the resources you need to overcome the roadblocks you know are present. And if you do not have them, where can you get them and how?
It's tempting right now to say, no, not a chance. But that's also not true. What we want to know and understand here, is what is in your control and what is not in your control. And if you are not in control, who is. And please, don't tell me the virus is in control. It is not, we were given dominion and that included dominion over this virus. Maybe it is true that you cannot do a lot about some things, but you can do something, or you can influence someone else who can do something.
N is for now.
We pull all of these strings together – Specific, Win and In control and write a single cohesive passage IN THE PRESENT, ACTIVE TENSE as if this future exists already right now.
This is important for your brain. It's another hack. Remember how a crisis makes you focus, well you focus on the immediate, so when we put this into the present, active tense, we are tricking our brain that this is already now. And with a splendid, powerful, positive, visceral vision now your brain will trigger dopamine – which makes you feel great, happy, joyful AND motivates you to make the dream true.
This part is your INSPIRATIONAL speech. For your own goal, then it's your own inspiration. For your kids, its likely your intention for them and the family. For your team at work, it's the team rallying speech. It's what Queen Elizabeth did with “We will meet again”, it's what Churchill did with “We'll fight them on the beaches…”, it's what Martin Luther King's “I have a dream” speech so beautifully captured.
G is for Guarantee.
And we use cartesian logic again to hack the brain into accepting this vision and making it a reality unconsciously. We are, in effect, planting the vision into the unconscious.
I will be asking you four somewhat strange questions that you simply respond with the first thing that comes to mind. Doesn't have to make sense or be logical, whatever comes to mind, write it down. And nobody can actually answer the fourth question because your brain cannot process it but goes off into a loop. Just write down whatever – most often, there's a key sub-conscious message in your answer.
It takes a little work to get there, but once you have your INSPIRATIONAL sentence, paragraph, speech (however long it may be), you tell it to those who want HOPE. They get to see, hear, feel, smell and taste your vision of a positive expectation of good.
You inspire your family. Your inspire your team. Your inspire your country.
Sure it would be nice if someone was inspiring you and they did all the work for it, but then, they get all the glory afterwards.
Pause the player if necessary and access the interactive worksheet now. Then come back here when you have 15-30 minutes to sit down with the template and fill in the blanks whilst I coach you through each step.
Do share this with people you know could use some help to inspire hope in their families, for their kids, for their workplace or their country. The more hope we can get leaders to inspire at this time, the better we will all be and we will see good days sooner.