This post is a follow-up from last week’s Coaches' Corner blog post: How to Kill Your Internal Terrorist
I had a lengthy conversation with Karina [from Summer Search] on the plane. How lonely she has been running Summer Search for nearly 10 years. The terrors in her own head and how there is no way out from what she sees. She’s accepted it as the “lonely job on top”. Accept it b/c it is what it is.
Then I told her, “you know I felt that way for 17-18 years running Next Jump. But not even remotely close to how I feel for the last 1-2 years.” I’m not alone anymore and I feel I can do twice as much, I feel “invincible” (I say that in the humblest way). So what changed?
It was the Talking Partner (TP) I found in Meghan. Her instant reaction, I have no one senior enough, at my level, to get that. My response: exactly how I felt too. But I kept investing and guess what, one day she got there.
MEET, VENT… then get to WORK.
You have to meet and start the day together. It doesn’t mean that you come into the office at the same time, it means that you may take care of emails, other little things but your main work usually doesn’t start until you’ve met…over something casual…such as breakfast, coffee or tea. I come in at 9am, get little things done. Meghan arrives at 10am, we start by having breakfast together. This is a daily ritual, a behavior so ingrained, it’s sacred and almost never missed.
We talk about how our kids are driving us crazy. How they went to bed late, woke up super early, killing our sleep. Why are they getting sick? Why are they not eating? We talk about challenges w/ our spouse, our parents, our siblings. We even talk about people at work driving us crazy, the board, investors, outsiders. We talk about an article we read that made us feel inadequate as parents, as spouses, as leaders. While “venting”, the other is empathizing. A common mistake is to try and solve someone else’s problem. Most of these cannot be solved. The simple act of talking it out, reduces our cortisol levels and removes the toxins that are locking up significant amounts of our energy. We’ve all experienced this before…having a good cry…nothing got resolved but we feel better. It works.
At some point, it feels like beating a dead horse…let’s get to work. A crazy statistic I heard…a CEO makes 100 decisions a day, sometimes ever so subtly by nodding or not responding. If you want to be an A+ CEO, you need to make 95 correct…consistently. If you only get 80, you should be fired. Wow…talk about high standards and high stakes. What we’ve found is that we can almost always get 80 correct on our own, consistently. However we need the help of others for the +15 consistently. And the only way they can truly help is if you build a relationship over time, you trust them to have your interests over theirs. And they will over time make “your work” become “their work”…your problem becomes their problem. In coding they call it: pair coding. This is pair working. You will think it’s inefficient, two people doing one job. You’re wrong. It’s never about time, it’s always about making the right calls, having judgment. This is also where all our repeated thematic errors occur in our lives..poor calls, poor decisions, poor judgment.
The TP helping you will feel inadequate, “I only added 15%, you did most if it yourself”. True but the difference between good (80%) and great (95%) is worth everything.
Invest in a TP relationship. Commit to a MEET VENT WORK program. It takes time so I advise you to start as soon as possible.