We live in an imperfect world. Which means that things are always less than ideal, less than perfect.

There are three ways to come to peace with this fact: First, to change the world to be what you want it to be. Second, to change your expectations to agree with what the world gives you.

But there’s a surprising alternative:

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We’re always focused on limits. They provide comfort and security, in a way, because they clearly identify how much achievement is enough.

When somebody says, “give it 110%!”, it’s really just a gentle nudging outside the comfort zone. But that’s not where true breakthroughs come from!

Breakthroughs are 200%. Or 1000%. Or entirely changing the rules of the game.

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This week’s idea is very straightforward, but I’m often surprised to see how many people struggle with the idea.

When I do something which is remotely complicated, I look for whether it’s worth turning it into a process. When I write these articles, for instance, it’s based on a template that I created many years ago. And I use a simple three-step process to find and include the graphics.

Why would I bother? This is pretty simple, right?

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The future will be different than the past. That’s basic, right? Yet we love to make projections based on an expectation that only 2% will change.

Well, the pandemic upended all that. It felt like EVERYTHING changed.

As we achieve a high rate of vaccinations, we’d like to think that we will “return to normal” — namely, 2019. But it’s not happening. We’re moving into something new.

We expect our business leaders to have a clearer view of the future, or at least to act like they do. But we’re in a state where NOBODY really knows what the future holds.

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When inspiration lights you up, the impact can be unstoppable.

I had the chance recently to speak with Gary Nickell, founder of Scott’s Roofing in Colorado. They do commercial and residential roofing work, so not exactly what you might consider a leading edge, fancy industry.

And I have to admit it’s an industry without a great reputation. We can have some severe hailstorms around here, so every year we have numerous people contact us about assessing hail damage – even when there hasn’t been a storm. Many of those people aren’t based here, and may just disappear with your deposit.

Unfortunately, many home maintenance services have this kind of reputation.

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We all know that the boat which wins the race will be the one where each person is contributing their most to all go in the same direction. If one person is disengaged, or worse yet, out of sync, progress will be slow.

Or no progress at all. Or even backwards.

Yet this happens all the time in organizations. People are minimally “doing their job,” yes, but not really that engaged.

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Leadership is about telling people where to go and what to do. Right?

Well, no.

The truth is that, as Marshall Goldsmith proclaims, leadership is 80% listening. How do we resolve this disconnect?

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It’s now becoming a little easier to be optimistic about the future of my business and those of my clients. But, for me, optimism has always been an essential tool for success.

Sometimes optimism is just about putting on a good face, kind of a “fake it ‘til you make it” affair. But I strive for something deeper than that.

There are three reasons I find this important:

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I started my career as an engineer, so I was ingrained with the concept of “good enough.” Not perfect, but practical and appropriate. Leave the perfectionism to those mathematicians and scientists who didn’t have to worry about being practical.

And yet, perfectionism can be valuable.

When it comes to your principles and values, it’s great to be shooting for the ideal. Yes, you’ll fall short, but each time you do it can inspire you to do better.

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Results. RESULTS! People don’t buy coaching, they buy results! I get that. But it’s not the whole story. Yes, clients are spending their valuable time and money because they want to solve a problem. Whether it’s relationships, careers, leadership, business issues … that’s what compels someone to hire a coach. It’s also what usually drives the goal they’re working toward.

It’s all pretty straightforward. But I have this nagging voice in the back of my head: Why is that not what captures the client’s heart? It’s not an irrelevant question.

When I talk with my past clients, or clients of other coaches, I often hear much different testimonials:

  • “It opened my eyes to what’s really going on.”
  • “It brought me hope that I thought was lost.”
  • “It set me on a direction in my career that I couldn’t have imagined.”
  • “It transformed my entire team.”

This is why I’m a coach: to deeply improve someone’s life.

Yes, I work on issues and roadblocks and solutions with my clients. I tend to be a more analytic type person, so seeing tangible results is very motivating for me. Intentions lead to actions which lead to results.

That’s wonderful. Everyone wants to work through problems and achieve even greater things.

But still, that’s not where it ends.

While a coach is helping her client build a stronger relationship with a spouse, they’re generating self-awareness, exploring possibilities, and strengthening hope. They’re even creating a new dream for a better future.

I might be working with a business owner who’s mired in details and a dysfunctional organization. So we’ll work on that, of course. But there’s a deeper transformation taking place, of the heart, culture, and character – of my client and everyone they’re working with.

I’m not saying that having our clients address their issues is unimportant. It absolutely is. But we shouldn’t be satisfied with just doing that, because it won’t do very much to fix the truly important problems our world is dealing with.

And that’s where this really gets exciting!

Society’s largest issues are addressed through people. Someone steps up to the challenge, tries a solution, and moves forward with intention. That brings in someone else who adds their own ideas and resources, creating whole new possibilities.

Where does it start? With an individual conversation, perhaps even the one you’re having with your client tomorrow. She might just start those ripples in the pond; there’s no way of knowing. But your conversation tomorrow just might make the difference.

Possibilities spread by one heart connecting with another. It’s not just information transfer. Yes, that might happen – but it’s more about people connecting their hearts through empathy, compassion and enthusiasm. That’s exactly what coaching excels at.

You’ll never know how far your influence spreads, but that really isn’t why we do this. We believe in the power of the right kind of conversation.

Your coaching can transform and revolutionize the world. One conversation at a time.


This article was first published in Choice Magazine. Subscribe at www.choice-online.com.

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