Breaking Free: 5 Steps Back to Best

She was constantly restrained from being her best!   Her pathway seemed to be thwarted as she encountered obstacles, resistance, unsupportive leaders, and her own head-trash.   As a result, she stopped trying to reach for more, to achieve her best, and succumbed to being fine with “just ok”.   

Years earlier, Reese flourished!  She was full of hope and optimism!   She was curious, eager to learn, embraced challenges with creativity, and was open to try new approaches to solve old problems!   If only she could break free from what was holding her back?

As I reflected on the change in Reese’s livelihood, it became apparent that her outlook was shaped not by her true potential, talent, skills, and opportunities.   Rather, her outlook and her performance were shaped by her perception, her attitude, her environment, and ultimately her mindset!    

In the workplace, I have found that a business’ most valuable resource, the people, are often stymied by the same thinking patterns that plagued Reese.   At some point in their journey their ideas were shot down, their objectives encountered resistance, their team-mates and leaders weren’t supportive of them, and subsequently their minds were filled with doubts and negative thoughts as they shrank back to a shell of themselves.  While the initial resistance may no longer be present, their mindset has become set and they no longer reach for more!

But what if your employees could break free from what was holding them back?   What if your people understood and shared the same vision?   What if your people were empowered, equipped, and encouraged to achieve that vision?  What if they were contributing in a role where they could be their best?    Imagine the benefits to your balance sheet, your team morale, your customer service, your talent acquisition, and talent retention.   The benefits would be enormous! 

What do you do if you find yourself or your team “stuck in a rut”, or settling for “just OK?”  

5 Steps to get your BEST back on-track! 

1. Rediscover your BEST.   Just like snowflakes, we are all different.  My best is not your best, and your best is not my best.   You must discover and get a clear picture of what being your BEST looks like.    Though the idea of discovering one’s best can seem daunting, it is quite simple.

a. Identify three to five times in your life where you felt you were being your best?

b. Write down 3-5 key phrases about those times that describe why that was your best.  Some items might be… solving a problem or challenge, helping someone, building something new or great, winning an award or competition, or perhaps working with a great team or a time when relationships were strong or edifying.

2. Identify the obstacles that are holding you back from being your best now.

a. A good way to identify the obstacles is to write down the answers to four questions:  what is right and needs optimizing, what is wrong and needs changed, what is confused and needs clarity, what is missing and needs added?

b. Identify your control over impacting change for each of your answers (full, partial, none).

c. Prioritize the top 3 obstacles favoring those in which you have the most control.

3. Start Solving #1

a. Identify the root of the issue/obstacle.   Often, the first description is really a symptom and not the root of the issue.

b. Discuss the issue with 3 trusted friends to gain their perspective and potential actions to resolve the problem.

c. Decide the actions you will take in the next 7 days to either solve or progress toward solving the issue. 

d. Focus and complete those actions in the next 7 days!

4. Rinse and Repeat for Obstacle #2, and with Obstacle #3.

5. Review Progress Weekly & Solve New Obstacles

a. Schedule a consistent time/place/weekly to review your progress. 

b. Review and status your actions from the last 7 days, either done or not done.

c.  Spend most of the weekly time repeating steps 2-4 for any new or remaining obstacles you identify.

If you follow these 5 steps intentionally for 90 days, you will experience a breakthrough toward your best!