Think – Don’t React
by: Alan Fairweather
The most important relationship you’ll ever have is the one you have with yourself so you’ve got to get that right.
Henry Ford said, (he was the guy who started all the traffic chaos)- “Thinking is the hardest work there is, that’s why so few people do it”. Too often we don’t think and just react to how we feel. The successful business person doesn’t react – they – “think”
Successful people have a deep understanding of their own minds. They’re aware of their needs, their strengths and weaknesses, and their emotions. They’re honest with themselves and resultantly, with their customers and their team. You have to decide who runs your mind, is it you or is it somebody else? Let me give you an example: I’ve always had a thing about good timekeeping; it’s something that’s been programmed into my brain. If you agree to meet me at 8.30 in the morning, I’ll be there at 8.20; I will always do my utmost be on time.
So I used to get angry when a member of my team would show up late for a meeting or an appointment with me. When I got angry I’d get stressed and end up saying something that I regretted later. Therefore, I learned to start thinking about the situation and try to see it from their point of view and not let my programming run my brain.
That doesn’t mean to say I ignored the lateness or did nothing about it; I thought very carefully about what I wanted to say and spoke to the team member about how we would resolve this situation.
The point about this is – I’m not prepared to allow that team member’s behaviour to run my mind. Getting angry and stressed is not good for our health and it isn’t a productive way to motivate our team.
In running their own minds successful people know what they’re good at and what they’re not so good at. Again it’s important to be honest with yourself.
Some people take on tasks they’re not good at, thinking that they should be able to do whatever it is. They then make a complete mess of it and “beat themselves up” for being so useless.
On the other hand, don’t ever put yourself down; challenge and test yourself before deciding whether you can do something or not. I was once in a position to apply for an internal promotion however I didn’t do it. I got it into my head that I wouldn’t be able to handle the financial aspects of this new management position. When one of my colleagues, an accountant, asked me why I hadn’t applied, I explained about the financial bit. She didn’t pull her punches – “You should have applied you idiot, you would’ve been able to do the financial bit it’s not that difficult and I would have helped you anyway.”
You can imagine how I felt after that, I had allowed some program in my brain to influence me and missed an opportunity for promotion. It’s important to listen to that voice in your head which is driven by your programs, but challenge it. When I now hear that voice in my head saying “You couldn’t do that” I reply with “Well I’m going to give it a try before I decide.”
Successful people have confidence in themselves, they accept their weaknesses but they don’t see it as a failure. They speak out when they don’t know something and they ask for help when they need it.
Have you ever asked a question at a meeting possibly feeling a bit stupid and thinking everyone else knows the answer? At the coffee break someone then says, “I’m glad you asked that question because I didn’t know either but I didn’t like to ask.”
Successful people have the courage to challenge what they hear in their own mind and also what they hear from other people.
It’s vital to run your own mind and think before you speak or take action, however, it’s also important not to think too much. Sometimes you need to trust your instincts and your gut feelings. If you’re interviewing someone and your gut feeling is that this person isn’t right for the job, then don’t hire them. Too often, business people suppress their gut feeling – they think, “I must be stupid, I’m probably wrong, they’ll be okay once they’ve started working with me.” – No they won’t!