Switching Tracks - Aha Moments 
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An aha moment changes our view of the world in an instant, and compels us to do things differently from that day on. 


      Do you know it is impossible to be Calm and Fearful at the same time?  


 While I was at church the other night, I had an aha moment (happens frequently when I'm there --- I've got time to think --- seems like a good place).


Peace, or calm, is at the heart of clarity. And vice versa.


I shared my thinking the next day with my partner, Craig. In this week's Switching Track's, Craig shares some of his thoughts on clarity based upon his personal experiences. Read on -------


Almost 40 years ago I learned to completely physically relax in the space of a few seconds - and do this regularly whenever I find my mind (or heart) in turmoil and I begin to worry. Why? Believe it or not, it is literally impossible to worry when you are completely relaxed. And I think calm and clarity is a pretty good place to be most of the time - particularly when I'm facing a problem.


Some time back I began seeking to answer the question, "What leads to good decisions?" I found time after time that the first condition for good decision making is what Luda Kopeikina in her excellent book, The Right Decision Every Time, calls the clarity state.


                                   The Clarity State  


 The Clarity State


Stress and anxiety in our work, and in our lives, is running wild. Fear - of making mistakes, of being wrong, of not being able to do what others are counting on - is the greatest source.


How have I personally dealt with fear? Making myself too busy to think about it, of course. Not focusing, but multitasking. Not acting, but procrastinating by making busy work important, or claiming that "NCIS" is an essential part of my rejuvenation. Not taking the time to think, exercise, plan - I let other's meetings and needs and projects drive where I spend my time. Or doing the opposite - trying to control the outcome by working long hours, and wishing everyone would work as hard as I do.


Really? Yea, really, I'm somewhat embarrassed to admit. But I'm a lot better at not conceding to fear than I used to be. Of course, I still have my occasional lapses, but I've made major progress. Ah, so "How?" you ask.


Let me tell you a short story I use to remind myself frequently of the importance of calm and clarity.


I worked at The Pillsbury Company for many years.   We were coming to the end of the fiscal year, and the particular business I was running was having a great year, while Pillsbury overall was just barely at plan. Then someone who worked for me made a mistake - a substantial spending program was fielded just before the end of the year that was supposed to have been fielded at the beginning of the next year. I was afraid of the consequences - and when my boss asked what the heck happened, out of fear, I blamed the employee.

Fear and anxiety are amplifiers. They amplify our perception of consequences, which heightens our fear, which further increases the perceived magnitude of consequences. And we make bad decisions.

I was raked over the coals for the mistake - not the spending mistake - but the mistake of blaming the employee.


Pillsbury made its plan. My business made its plan. But my plan for my reputation took a big hit. I made a bad decision by not seeking "the clarity state." Dumb, I know. But I recovered, and now spend a lot more energy achieving clarity and calm.  The side bar to the right has three suggestions that work remarkably well.


May you have clarity and calm today. 


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April 17, 2012

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We specialize in creating strategic and execution clarity in the way you go to market -- so you can out-think,  out-execute, and surpass your competition. 



Clarity and calm come from taking the time to: 


  • 1) Define your most important values.  Be clear about the 5 values you will always demonstrate and the 5 values you will never demonstrate.  Now half the problem of overcoming fear is solved.
  • 2) Physically relax.  Slow down. Learn how to do this quickly.  Take a walk. Shut your door.  Learn the Japanese tea ritual and serve someone tea.   Whatever it takes.
  • 3) Identify the assumptions you are making.  Find the facts that validate or counter the assumption.  Fear and bad decisions are almost always the consequence of making bad assumptions.

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    Craig Britton, Partner                                   Gary Scott, Partner
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