Click the player below if you would rather listen to the post. A download is available at the bottom of this post if you would rather listen to it in our car, while on a walk or heck even lying in bed.
First, how the heck are you? How did your week go? If you had to rate it out of 10, what would you give yourself and why? What did you learn that will be of great value to you moving forward?
So I’m going to start a little differently today. There are actually 3 parts to this post. Part 1 will talk about the new set up for each post and the additional content I will be providing to drastically enhance your shift moving forward. Part 2 will be the actual lesson. Part 3 will be your assignment. Enjoy!!
Part 1: From blog post to lesson
You will notice that the title of this post has the word “lesson” in it. That is intentional. I’m a teacher at heart and have committed myself to helping people Make Shift Happen in their own lives. As such, I am structuring my posts as lessons.
What does that mean exactly? Well for the next 10 posts I am going to test out a new idea. [This is me using the Hierarchy of Change. I'm experimenting (Level 3) with a new idea to turn my blog/website into a highly optimized teaching vehicle. I am going to test out a hypothesis around this and 10 posts will give me sufficient data to make some informed decisions moving forward.)
The new idea is to make the material more interactive and to flesh it out further. Why should a perfectly brilliant (am I being too liberal with my adjectives) blog post stop at the post itself? So here is what the new posts will look like.
At the bottom of each there will be links for...
- a PDF version of the post [will be available the same night as the post]
My suggestion for people is to print the posts off and store them in a binder. Think of it like a book that will be released 1 lesson at a time (my grander vision is to commit to 100 lessons). By printing it off each week, you can then practice more effective learning techniques that include highlighting key points that are relevant to you and your journey, recording ideas in the margins etc.
- an audio version of the post [will be available the day after a post]
I am going to offer this for three reasons. First, we all have a preferred method of learning (the theory of multiple intelligence has identified 9 learning styles). For some, learning is solidified when they can hear the words and the emotion attached to those words so I want to make that option available.
Second, I want to allow people to access material however they want. Audio allows people the option to download it and listen to it on their way to work, in the car or while they are going for a walk.
Third, writing does not communicate my emotion or my passion for the subject matter. Reading Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech is not nearly the same as listening to the man. I am not saying I am Martin Luther King, but I will bring my own sense of style and humor to this.
[Warning: my audio is going to be real and raw. That means mistakes will not be edited out and if I want to expand on something beyond the written word then I will most certainly do that. Hell it's my audio baby. We are doing it Deano style.]
- video [will be available 4 days after the post]
I personally love video and quite frankly I am most effective when people can see me because a great deal of my message comes from how I use my entire body (and they can see the goofy facial expressions I make). That said, video has limits. To get around those limits I am going to be producing video that is only 2 to 3 minutes long and I will be focusing on one key aspect from the post or from the comments.
- podcast [will be available 4 days after the post]
Podcast doesn’t adequately capture what I want to do so let me riff on it a bit more. What I really plan on doing is a talk based on the post. But I want to emphasize this is a TALK! It’s not a reading. I will be expanding on points in the post, I will be addressing questions that are are left in the comments (so if you have a question or something to add to the post be sure to do so in the comment section) and at times I might bring in a co-host as well. Co-hosts could be anyone. They could be fellow bloggers, but they just as easily could be thoughtful commenters who would really add to the material I have presented.
Through this process I would encourage you to give feedback on what you like and don’t like. If something comes up enough (positive or negative) then it is something I will be acting on.
OK on to today’s lesson.
Part 2: Four steps to developing willpower
Willpower is a concept that is extremely misunderstood and one that is poorly taught to those who badly need it.
Part of the problem is we associate the wrong verb with it. I can’t tell you how many “experts” talk about willpower and use the verb “have” preceding it.
If you want to lose weight, then you have to have the willpower to avoid junk food.
The above example is probably one of the dumbest things I hear people say when they are giving advice to those who are looking to get their eating under control. And it’s dumb for two reasons.
First, they are stating the obvious. Of course they need willpower. Anyone who struggles with their eating knows they need willpower.
The second reason it is dumb is because it is not advice that someone can act on. It’s what I call unactionable advice. It sounds like you are giving great advice, when in fact you are saying absolutely nothing that will help people change their behavior.
Giving actionable advice…
So how do you help change their behavior? By first helping them change their vocabulary around the subject.
Empowering someone to improve their willpower starts by giving them the appropriate vocabulary to use. No longer would you tell someone they have to HAVE willpower. Instead you would tell them they must LEARN HOW TO BUILD it.
When you use the word learn, it implies that willpower can be taught. And if it can be taught, then it means there are key principles around it that can be dispensed so the skill can be honed.
Which of course leads to the million dollar question.
What are the components that comprise this thing we call willpower?
I believe there are 4 main components to willpower. I refer to it as the decide.plan.act.audit system.
Let’s start by first briefly explaining the key elements of each.
- Decide in advance
The essence behind decide in advance is that the fatal flaw most people make is they assume willpower is some magical element that simply happens in those crucial MOMENTS THAT MATTER. But the reality is, people who exercise extraordinary willpower don’t show up cold to any situation and hope magic will happen.
On the contrary, they decide beforehand how they are planning to act. It could be for an event where they will encounter foods they know they should not eat. But this is not limited to diet. Starbucks uses something similar to teach it’s employees how to deal with angry customers by role playing scenarios. Parents can use this strategy to exhibit more patience with their children. Spouses can use this model to act move loving (I’m no relationship expert, but I believe love can be fostered by acting more loving.) Individuals can use it to deal with criticism [from angry blog commenters ]
This application has no boundaries. Be sure to watch the video in #4.
- Plan the outcome
Once you decide on the outcome, then a plan must be put into place. The essential element here is to anticipate and figure out how to deal with HOTSPOTS.
Hotspots are potential landmines we will encounter that may trip us up. These can include people, social situations, activities or food. Brainstorm as many possible hotspot scenarios as you can and then for each visualize how you plan on dealing with them.
Some people might scoff at the idea of visualization, but if elite athletes (One of the greatest Olympic athletes ever, Michael Phelps, uses it) use this technique to ensure they get the results they want then it stands to reason that those with elite willpower use this skill quite effectively as well.
- Act with intention
Commit to your decided outcome! Once you arrive, put your plan into action and you do everything you can to stick to it. It might mean having a note in your pocket that you refer to when you feel your resolve caving. It might be a mantra. Whatever it is, you are not going down without a fight.
- Audit the results
The ability to build your willpower comes from analyzing both your successes and your not so successful outcomes. If things went according to plan, ask why? What did you do that worked? What were you thinking? Did you do something unexpected that kicked ass? What strategy was super effective. If things didn’t turn out as expected, then what went wrong? What hotspots did you not foresee? What strategy will you use to deal with these more effectively next time?
Part 3: Your Assignment
Change does NOT happen by reading alone. If that was the case, then almost everyone on the freaking planet would have solved all the problems they have.
Simply reading a blog post falls into the research category on my Hierarchy of change [level 2]. If you have not read Lesson #1 yet, I would suggest you do so by clicking —> HERE.
If change is going to happen, then you need to spend the bulk of your time in level 3 which is the EXPERIMENTER stage. The experimenter stage is crucial because that is where we begin to take ownership of the ideas we read about. OWNERSHIP is vital to this process.
Tools and Tasks…
1. Print off the article and read it a second time. Click —>HERE to download the PDF. This time highlight or underline those parts that mean the most to you. More importantly, write notes in the margins of things that come to mind. These can be questions, ideas or things you would like to explore further.
Below is an example of what I do in every stinkin’ book I read (well except library books and ones I borrow.) Click to enlarge the image.
2. On a blank sheet of paper, create a massive list of situations where you feel the lack of willpower is getting the better of you. Don’t limit this to your health. Think about your various relationships where you react in ways in you don’t like. Think about situations with the work you do. Think about self-defeating thought patterns that you tend to run. Think about your reactions to criticism.
Once you have a your list PICK ONLY ONE to test this idea on. BUT pick the one that you feel is the most manageable to tackle first. A lot of this journey is built on confidence, but that too has to be built, so don’t tackle something that you are just not yet ready to tackle.
With the one you picked, create a list and go through each of the elements.
- Decide in advance
- Plan the outcome
- Act with intention
- Audit the results
AND WRITE DOWN YOUR ANSWERS for each. Writing is much more effective than simply thinking about something. Writing clarifies your thinking in a way that thinking doesn’t.
3. Part of making my podcast effective will include answering some of the questions people have, clarifying some of the ideas that need to be clarified and sharing additional points that people who are far smarter than me will share. I encourage you to leave a question, point out possible extensions of this idea or share stories of where you have successfully implemented these ideas in your life. All of these will be things I will look to incorporate into my podcast.
The podcast will happen on Monday so only comments that are included between now and then can be used.
4. Watch this TED talk by Sasha Dichter called The Generosity Experiment. Dichter talks about how he used the concept of Decide in Advance to become more generous. It’s extremely inspiring, and it reinforces the notion the concepts I am teaching can be applied anywhere.
OK I think it’s time for us to go make shift happen,
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