Monday, December 04, 2006

Doing What Works Best For You

Here is another great entry from Wayne's Maverick Spirit Archive, again enforcing that people should believe in themselves and do what works for them.

Why do bumblebees fly? Because they can.Do you know how sometimes something "jumps of the shelf" and grabs your attention. Well I was browsing in a bookshop recently and a small green book titled Bumblebee's Can't Fly jumped off the shelf and demanded I take it home. The book is a great read... and offers some very practical advice to those wanting to achieve the impossible.

Why do bumblebees fly? Because they can. As obvious as that sounds, it goes against a study by a scientist of the 1930s who claimed to have proven that bumblebees aren't aerodynamic enough to stay in the air. Good thing the bees ignore such science and do what works best for them.

The book by Canadian Barry Siskind, with the fabulous full title Bumblebees Can't Fly: Seven Strategies for Making the Impossible Possible. Barry comments that he is amazed at how often people don't act like bees, letting common wisdom get in the way of common sense in making career choices.

"If you're going to move ahead in your career or find the right job to reach our potential, you've really got to filter out what other people think and what happened in the past and examine what's true for you," he advises.

People should ignore the buzz around them. Barry recommends listening to three inner voices: the thinker, the doer and the critic.

"It's important to listen to all three and balance them carefully because when we listen to one and ignore the other we don't make the best choice." For example "the voice of the thinker says 'while I really want to be a novelist, I have to support my family, so I have to be a teacher.' Meanwhile the voice of the doer chimes in, 'I'll have to go to college and get a degree and pay for that.'"But that third voice, the critic, "is the one we don't tend to listen to because it is a pain in the ass. It says 'if you spend the next 10 years doing that you're never going to take a holiday and you won't likely get around to creating the best selling novel.'

"The seven strategies in the book are designed to help you get on good terms with these inner consultants. They are:

Doubt the obvious There is no belief that can't be questioned "and if it doesn't make sense, discard it," Barry says. "Listen to yourself and note any time you use the word 'should' in something you say." Think about the pros and cons of accepting that belief.

Let your reach exceed your grasp "Feeling limited and stuck is going to be a self-fulfilling prophecy, so broad your options. The issue is accepting that even if you don't see the answer, there is answer out there somewhere. I can get a better job. I can get promoted. I can find happiness in what I am doing even if I can't see it now.

"Know yourself We filter experiences through ort values and past experiences so that something that brings joy to someone else can evoke disgust or boredom in you. At the same time, we make decisions based on how we react to things intellectually at one extreme and emotionally at the other.

Transform information into knowledge After determining your values and emotional balance, list all the roles you play in your life as a parent, worker, friend and spouse. Beside each role, list the strengths you think you bring to the task. Compare the lists and see if some strengths show up for all the roles. Those are traits that describe who you really are. And while it is not wrong to make compromises with bosses and colleagues, your strengths are what make you a valuable part of a team. If you compromise them too much, you lose the value you bring to the team, and ultimately yourself.

Embrace the unexpected Do some brainstorming in which anything you want to do, no matter how seemingly improbable, is possible. Maybe the shortest distance for you may be around a corner, or behind you or beside you.

Stay on course Once you've got an idea that you want to pursue, it's easy to get lost along the way because there isn't a clear map of how to proceed. The analogy Barry suggests is losing your car keys. To find the keys, the strategy that invariably works is to retrace your steps from the last place the keys were seen.

If a career plan is going wrong, go back to the point where you made the decision and see if you can identify the point where that began to happen, and then use that as the new starting point. Keep focused on the goal and plot a new strategy that steers around the obstacle.

Don't be afraid to change horses in midstream When it becomes obvious that things are not really going the way you hoped, it's important to listen to your intuition and realize when it is time to cut your losses. If you totally screwed up, it doesn't mean everything is a failure, even if you wake up in mid-career and say 'what am I doing here?'"

Ultimately, our intuition always tells the truth, Barry Siskind believes. And if you want proof of that, "the easiest test is just do the opposite of what you intuition tells you. You'll screw up, inevitably you'll make the wrong decisions."

So there you have it, 7 simple strategies for making the impossible possible.

- Wayne Mansfield

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