Today we're talking about a common phenomenon that gets in the way of our influence and success more often than we'd like to admit: cognitive dissonance.
This is a term from psychology that describes how, in many cases, when reality does not match our expectations, we prefer to reinterpret reality rather than adjust our expectations.
This can sometimes be useful in the sense that we try everything to change reality according to our goals. But it can also often lead us to disconnect more and more from reality and our environment.
This phenomenon can creep in anywhere and often occurs - but not only - in the executive suites of larger companies.
Why there in particular? Because more personal ego is involved: the more I manifest my expectations and couple them to my personality, the more difficult it is to adjust these expectations. The way out: I choose to interpret reality differently.
Listening well to...
Yes, I risk offending you. Not the first time, though! Sometimes, I call myself a “tough love coach” and here we go: You are lazy! And if that helps you: I am too. So is everybody. Even the hardest worker is lazy.
What do I mean by this?
As you have heard a million times (at least from me), our brain is hardwired to keep us alive. Not to create great work or to be happy.
Not at all, we all prioritize the actions that most likely keep us alive. This instinct is controlled by our subconscious, by our lizard brain. We are not even aware of it.
Here comes my point: Science proves that all conscious thoughts and actual changes in our beliefs and routines require tremendous physical energy in our brain. That’s why a lazy brain is, in this sense, good for survival: it saves energy for more important stuff.
What I observe more often than not in organizations of all sizes is that people are remarkably tired when it comes to changing their beliefs about...
Everything that has ever been created by humans started with a thought.
Thoughts have power. Because they determine what we believe in - our beliefs. Our beliefs, in turn, determine our actions. And our actions determine our results.
In other words: How you think is the most critical building block for your success - whatever "success" means to you.
This is the key difference between those who achieve significantly more and the average: the super-successful have different ways of thinking. This is evident in every biography and documentary.
Simplified you can say: Small thoughts - small results. Big thoughts - big results.
In my observation and experience, most leadership teams think far too small. As a result, potentials are not even considered. They prefer to stick with what they know.
Schedule time to think.
Most leaders are so busy that they hardly...
Chances are you know the psychological concept of “inner conflicts”. These are conflicts within each of us that prevent us from achieving more than we actually do, which do not let us start even great initiatives, and which make us avoid actions that contradict our goals.
Inner conflicts are the reason why so many people do not do more exercises, even if they know it would be good for them. They also let us get stuck in our career because even if we know what it takes to gain more influence and progress on the career ladder, we hesitate to act accordingly.
Our inner conflicts hold us back.
I cannot go into too much detail here in this short memo, but inner conflicts stem from the deeply rooted belief system that we all carry with us from early childhood (and which can be changed, but only with willpower and effort – and most of the time only with a professional coach). These beliefs often conflict with our actual goals. Example: Many want to become a...
Here's a brutal truth: what you want is all already there.
You don't have to add or painstakingly create anything, just remove what gets in the way of what you want.
What do I mean by that?
Well, you may be familiar with Michelangelo's meaningful answer to the question of how he was able to create the statue of David that stands in Florence, which is so ingenious.
Michelangelo said: "The statue was always in the block of marble. The only thing I had to do was to remove the excess marble."
This shows a fundamentally different mindset than we are used to most of the time:
It's based on trusting that all the solutions we're looking for are, in principle, already there. We just can't see them yet.
I think that takes enormous pressure off our efforts. After all, if it already somehow exists around us, we "just" have to recognize it and remove what keeps us disconnected.
Question for today: What wonderful things are there in your life that you don't appreciate enough?
Here's an off-the-cuff list of simple things that I'm always grateful for (and that many people sadly don't have):
Hot water in the shower in the morning
Incredibly good health care
Buses and trains that you can simply rely on
Walking on the street at night without fear
Respectful interaction with each other
Clean rivers and lakes
The possibility to travel
A heated apartment
Living in freedom
What are your things you are grateful for?
I don’t know about you, but most people are good at talking to others and not good at listening. There is an old, yet true leadership advice: to become more influential (hence a better leader, a better parent, a better sales person), start talking less and listening more.
I want to take this a step further: Most people listen too much to themselves and talk too much to others. What do I mean by this? Well, we all listen constantly to our own stories and beliefs that are rooted in our past. This hardwiring in our brain is a survival mechanism, but here comes the twist: It prevents us from growing, and if we talk too much to others instead of listening, it makes it even worse.
“Talking to yourself” means that you consciously choose the thoughts that you want to guide your decisions and actions. As this sounds a bit theoretical, here are...
"How can I change the mindset of my people?" is a question I am often asked.
The background is that a team can of course only perform really well and have fun doing so if the people in it have a winning mindset.
Unfortunately, the reality is often different: People play on hold, refuse full responsibility, blame other people or other things for difficulties, don't work well together, and so on.
That's why the question of how to change the mindset keeps coming up.
Over the years as a leadership coach and from my own studies, I've been able to peel out an arsenal of methods that work well.
The question "Do you want to get better?" is, of course, a rhetorical one. After all, who doesn't want to? But what most overlook is that to get better in a sustainable way, you need a system.
That's exactly why, when it comes to certain things, after a short learning curve at the beginning, our skills keep us on a plateau from which we hardly improve.
What we need to improve continuously and significantly is what psychology professor Anders Ericsson describes in his book Peak as "deliberate practice."
Here, however, I am concerned with something that lies even before that. Because the reason why we don't really peak, even if it would be absolutely beneficial for us, lies elsewhere. If you are aware of that, you can deal with it accordingly.
Actually, coaching is quite simple: you raise beliefs and behaviors from the subconscious to the conscious mind and thus you can influence them.
After all, any substantial personal growth happens by making different decisions starting today. And this is only possible based on suitable ways of thinking and behaving.
Why do I reveal this "secret" to you so candidly? Well, you always need a coach for this. Because you can hardly turn your subconscious outward yourself, because your subconscious prevents you from doing exactly that.
Sounds complicated? It's actually quite simple: Your subconscious controls you in such a way that you have the best chances to survive and reproduce. Happiness and other success are secondary. Hence, the provocative headline: Your autopilot steers you into a kind of dead end.
Simply enter your name and email and hit "Submit".
Important: You will receive an email with information on data privacy, which you must confirm in order to register effectively. Please check your email inbox.