Jim Smith recently caught my eye with his story of “Lessons From The Muck“.
A great curiosity-inducing title!
Jim is self-styled “The Executive Happiness Coach”. In this article, he takes the opportunity to extract a few lessons from a distasteful task. Wading into and clearing out an overgrown swamp.
These lessons apply in business, and in life. For many years I’ve observed people’s behaviors in life and business. The issues one faces in life, and in business, differ in detail. The attitudes and approaches most effective in facing those issues are very similar. What works in life works in business, and vice versa.
In Jim’s article he draws these parallels very effectively. In the intensely unpleasant personal task of clearing out 30 years of flora and fauna grown wild, he sees principles that apply to leadership in business. Here are the lessons he draws from this experience.
- You don’t know what you don’t know. Many people approach an unfamiliar situation with their familiar knowledge. New challenges require new learning, new approaches.
- Seek to understand, then be understood. You’ll rarely be loved, until you love. Rarely will you have friends until you be a friend. You’ll rarely be understood until you understand. What you put out comes back to you.
- Declare and hold a clear focus. Without it you’ll get sidetracked by the forces and obstacles pushing you off course.
- Practice self-awareness and emotional self-management. It’s important to think critically about how to react to situations, rather than leave it to your emotions.
- Continually stretch into discomfort. You make real progress and grow only when you’re working beyond your “comfort zone”.
- YOU are a never-ending project. Always finding ways to improve is critical to real success and growth.
These concepts are all important to good performance and progress. I recommend you read Jim’s article to understand the nuances of his approach vs. mine, and to get the benefit of his humorous approach to his story.