The Art of Strengths Coaching

D is for The Desire And Discipline To Deliver The Desired Results rather than Be Distracted By Dramas  

Great workers demonstrate the drive and discipline required to deliver the desired results. They do not get distracted by dramas.

They buy time to think when faced by situations that could potentially derail their efforts. They then go through the following steps.

They remain calm and refocus on the desired results. 

They may ignore the potential distraction but, if necessary, find a way to deal with the drama.

They resume following their disciplines and keep working towards delivering the desired results.

Looking back, can you think of a situation when you took these steps in your own way? This could have been in your personal or professional life.

You started by defining the desired results. You may have aimed to pass an exam, improve your health, renovate a house, run a superb workshop, build a successful business or achieve another goal.

Starting from your destination and working backwards, you may have clarified the key strategies you could follow to achieve success. You then followed the disciplines required to reach the goal.

There may also have been potential dramas. These may have taken the form of setbacks, diversions, people creating problems or other challenges.

How did you avoid being distracted by these issues? How did you, if necessary, deal with the dramas? How did you then keep following your disciplines? How did you do your best to deliver the desired results?

If you wish, try tackling the exercise on this theme. This invites you to do the following things.

Describing a specific situation in the past when you demonstrated the drive and discipline required to deliver the desired results and did not get distracted by dramas. 

Describe the specific things you did to take these steps.

Describe the specific things that happened as a result of taking these steps.

Different people take these steps in different ways. The first step, however, is to clarify their desired results. Let’s explore how to make this happen.

Defining The Desired Results

Imagine that you want to achieve a particular goal. The first step is to clarify the real results you want to achieve. It is then to translate these into a clear picture of success.

Different people have different ways of setting goals. Some aim to achieve personal or professional targets. Some aim to follow certain principles. The latter believe in the motto espoused by Bill Walsh, the American Football coach. He said:

Keep delivering the standards of performance and the score takes care of itself.

Good trusted advisors, for example, aim to pass on knowledge that helps other people to achieve their goals. Some set goals by clarifying the actual words they would like the person to be saying after a session. Here is an example of such an approach.

The Desired Results 

The actual words I would like the person
to be saying after the session are these.

“I enjoyed the session. I got lots of practical tools that I can use in my work. I feel more able to shape my future and achieve success.

“The trusted advisor made me feel welcome and I was able to explore all the topics on my agenda. I felt that they understood my challenges and my goals. They helped me to focus on the real results I wanted to achieve.

“I liked the way that they helped me to understand how I had tackled similar challenges successfully in the past. This gave me confidence that I could tackle the present challenges successfully.  

“Looking at the first topic I wanted to explore, the trusted advisor outlined the possible options I could pursue going forwards. They also outlined the pluses and minuses of each option. 

“When appropriate, they asked if it was okay for them to share their ideas. They then outlined some possible options that I had not considered. This was extremely helpful.

“I liked the way they invited me to take a little time to reflect and consider the route I wanted to take. Once I had done this, they provided lots of practical tips and tools that I could use to pursue this route.

“We worked through each topic on my agenda. We then concluded the session by clarifying my actions plans for going forwards. I believe in these action plans and feel that taking these steps will give me the greatest chance of success.”

Great athletes also focus on their chosen destination. Sports is often considered a results business, but the athlete is not always in control of the outcome. Bearing this in mind, they focus on controlling the controllables. They then translate these into a clear picture of success.

The athlete can control the way they prepare for an event. They can also aim to do their best on the day. They cannot control the weather or the opposition. They can, however, do their best to manage these challenges.

Bearing these factors in mind, they clarify the real results they want to achieve. Here is an example of what their goals may look like when preparing for an event.

The Desired Results 

The real results I want to achieve are:

To prepare myself properly – both physically and psychologically.

To be fully present, click into action and do my best on the day.

To keep following my chosen principles and perform superbly.

To buy time when faced by challenges, consider my options and pursue my chosen strategies.

To keep following my principles and, when looking back, to be able to say: “I gave everything and did my best on the day.”

Imagine that you want to do your best in a specific situation. You may want to run a workshop, build a business, improve your health, renovate a house, lead a team to success or whatever.

What are the real results you want to achieve? What is your picture of success? What are the actual words you would like to be saying afterwards? What would you like other people to be saying? What will be happening that will show you have achieved the desired results?

If you wish, try tackling the exercise on this theme. Bearing in mind the things you can control in the situation, this invites you to do the following things.

Describe the specific situation in which you want to do your best to achieve the desired results. 

Describe the desired results you want to achieve in the situation.

Drive

Imagine that you have set a specific goal. Bearing in mind the work involved, how strong is your motivation to do what is required to deliver the goods? Rate this on a scale 0 – 10.

This is a crucial step. Many people set goals but do not think of the work involved in reaching the destination. Then, when the difficulties kick in, they stop working to reach the goals.

Good decision makers recognise that with every choice there are consequences. Bearing this in mind, they consider the pluses and minuses involved. They then rate their desire to do what is required to achieve the picture of success.

Looking at your own rating, make sure it is at least 8/10. You can then focus on what you can to do maintain or improve the rating. This includes finding ways to encourage yourself on the journey, especially when things get tough.

If you wish, try tackling the exercise on this theme. This invites you to do the following things.

Describe the desired results you want to achieve.

Describe the rating you would give yourself regarding the drive you have to do what is required to deliver the desired results. Do this on a scale 0 – 10.

Describe the specific things you can do to maintain or improve the rating.

Discipline

Many people have the drive to do something, but then comes the work. This calls for following daily disciplines.

The athlete gets up at 5.00 am to go running. The person who wants to lose weight gets into the habit of eating healthy food. The artist follows their chosen rituals to perform creative work.

Great workers clarify the strategies they can follow to achieve their picture of success. They translate these into daily disciplines they can follow to reach their goals. How to make this happen?

Twyla Tharp, the choreographer, recommends following certain rituals. Even in her 60s she started her day at 5.30 am and walked out of her flat onto the Manhattan Street. She hailed a cab that took her to the gym for a two-hour workout.

Twyla believes that it is vital to start the day properly. Writing in her book The Creative Habit, she explains:

Being creative is an everyday thing, a job with its own routine. 

The routine is as much part of the creative process as the lightning bolt of inspiration (perhaps more). And it is available to everyone. 

If creativity is a habit, then the best creativity is a result of good work habits.

Imagine that you want to follow certain disciplines to reach your goal. There are two main approaches to making this happen. These are: 

You can build on your previous successful patterns.  

You can develop new successful patterns.

Let’s start by focusing on the first theme. This is based on the organic approach. People already have the seeds of development within them. Everybody has followed successful patterns, even if only for a few minutes.

Imagine that you want to behave in a certain way to reach a specific goal. The organic approach invites you to explore the following questions.

When have you have behaved in this way in the past?

What did you do right then? What were the principles you followed? How did you translate these into behaviour?

How can you follow these principles again in the future? How can you translate these into behaviour?

The organic approach builds on what you know works. It says that you already have strengths and successful patterns within you. It is simply a matter of finding and following these in the future.

“That sounds okay,” somebody may say. “But what about when you need to learn a completely new habit?”

It is then possible to learn from the approach outlined by James Clear. He believes it is important to focus on the following themes.

Reminder: You can remind yourself to adopt the new habit. 

Routine: You can develop a routine in which you follow the new habit. 

Reward: You can reward yourself for following the new habit.

James describes this approach in his article The 3 R’s of Habit Change: How to Start New Habits That Actually Stick. Below is an excerpt from his article. You can discover more via the following link.

http://jamesclear.com/three-steps-habit-change

Your life today is essentially the sum of your habits.

How in shape or out of shape you are? A result of your habits.

How happy or unhappy you are? A result of your habits.

How successful or unsuccessful you are? A result of your habits.

What you repeatedly do (i.e. what you spend time thinking about and doing each day) ultimately forms the person you are, the things you believe, and the personality that you portray. 

But what if you want to improve? What if you want to form new habits? How would you go about it?

Turns out, there’s a helpful framework that can make it easier to stick to new habits so that you can improve your health, your work, and your life in general. Let’s talk about that framework now…

The 3 R’s of Habit Change

Every habit you have — good or bad — follows the same 3-step pattern. 

Reminder (the trigger that initiates the behavior).

Routine (the behavior itself; the action you take). 

Reward (the benefit you gain from doing the behavior).

Let’s return to the goal you want to achieve. What are the disciplines you can follow to work towards delivering your goal? How can you develop a daily rhythm in which you follow these habits?

If you wish, try tackling the exercise on this theme. This invites you to do the following things.

Describe the desired results you want to achieve. 

Describe the specific disciplines you can follow to do your best to deliver the desired results.

Dealing With Dramas

Great workers focus on controlling the controllables. They do not get distracted by dramas. They do not become victims of their own emotional ups or downs. They channel their feelings into working towards achieving the goals.

They do not, when working in organisations, get caught up in turf wars or game playing. They do not get side tracked by individuals who choose to be dramatic or have serial problems.

Great workers keep focusing on the results to achieve rather than the running commentary. Such distracting noises may come from their own negative scripting or from observer critics who have their own agendas.

They keep following the required disciplines when tackling challenges. They do this when, for example, taking penalties in a shoot-out, presenting to a big audience or dealing with a crisis.

Great workers do their diligence before embarking on a project. They anticipate the potential dramas they may encounter on the journey. They then explore the follow themes.

How can I prevent these potential dramas happening? 

How can I deal with any dramas if, despite my best efforts, they do happen?

Great workers stay calm if the dramas do happen. Buying time to think, they then often use the Three C Model for finding solutions to challenges. They work through the following steps.

Clarity

What is actually happening? What can I control in the situation? Looking ahead, what are the real results I want to achieve? What is the picture of success?

Creativity

What are the possible options for going forwards? What are the pluses and minuses of each option? Are there any other possible creative solutions? What are the key strategies I can follow to give myself the greatest chance of success? 

Concrete Results

What is the route – or combination of routes – I want to follow? How can I translate this into a clear action plan? How can I do my best to achieve the picture of success?

Settling on their action plan, they become totally engaged and go into the arena. They then flow, focus and finish. They do whatever is required to deliver the results.

Great teams follow a similar pattern. They encourage people to channel their feelings into refocusing on the destination, drive and the discipline that is required. They do not get diverted by dramas that take energy away from achieving the goal.

Let’s return to your own life and work. If you wish, try tackling the exercise on this theme. It invites you to do the following things. 

Describe the potential dramas you may encounter on the way towards delivering the desired results.

Describe the specific things you can do to prevent some of these dramas happening. 

Describe the specific things you can do to deal with some of these dramas if, despite your best efforts, they do happen.   

Delivering The Desired Results

Imagine that you are aiming to reach a goal. You continue to feel motivated and keep following the required disciplines. You also deal with any dramas along the way.

How can you do your best to reach the destination?  Finishing is a key skill in life. The motto is: “Flow, focus, finish and, as a by-product, find fulfilment.”

Sounds easy in theory, but how does it work in practice? One approach is to find and follow your successful pattern for finishing. This involves taking the following steps.

Describe a situation in the past when you finished successfully. You may have passed an exam, renovated a house, performed at your best till the end of an event or completed a project.

Describe what you did right then – the principles you followed – to finish successfully.  

Describe the specific things you can do to follow these principles – plus maybe add other skills – to do your best to finish successfully in the future.

You will have your own way of finishing, but here are some suggestions. It can be useful to do some of the following things.

To set aside time to tackle the challenge. 

To break down the challenge into achievable tasks that you can complete to gain a sense of satisfaction.  

To organise your time in blocks so you can concentrate fully on the task.

To make good use of your prime times – the times of the day when you have most energy – and also build in time for rest and recovery. 

To keep doing the right things in the right way every day.

To encourage yourself on the journey and, when hitting difficulties, lift your eyes to focus on the picture of success.

To keep working hard and then flow, focus and finish.

Finishing is just another name for beginning. Soon it will be time to find another challenge to tackle, another dream to pursue. You can then again follow your successful pattern for finishing.

Great teams often follow similar steps to enable their people to finish successfully. They encourage people:

To keep following the key strategies and perform superb work.

To anticipate and manage potential challenges. 

To keep working hard and do their best to achieve the picture of success.

Everybody has dreams and some translate these into reality. Such people consider the full implications of the task. Choosing to go forward, they commit themselves fully.

Embarking on the journey, they show the drive and discipline required to reach their destination. They demonstrate the qualities described by T. E. Lawrence, who wrote:

All men dream; but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find that it was vanity; but the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act out their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible.

Imagine that you want to do your best to deliver the desired results. If you wish, try tackling the final exercise on this theme. 

Describe the specific things you can do to keep doing your best to deliver the desired results.

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