From Above




“The man needs to go from point A to point B. In his way is a high wall. Every day, he goes up to the wall, and pushes hard against it, with no result. Every day, he comes back, pushing. The pushing has no effect on the wall, but over time his arms become powerful from all the pushing. Then, one day, he realizes he is strong enough to haul himself up and over the wall, and he overcomes the obstacle and reaches his goal.”

-George Gan, Global Leadership Conference 2022

Now that I’m trying to shake off that pesky last 7kgs, the whole world is giving me weight loss to business tips metaphors.

James Clear, in Atomic Habits, talks about willpower as a finite resource, and how we need to structure our environment and rituals in a way that minimized our capacity for failure. Don’t let the bloody bread sit there at the restaurant, just send it back right away. Why do it to yourself?

Or better yet, develop a ritual of eating something in line with your diet strategy before you go to the restaurant, mitigating your immediate hunger and scenario planning for what could go wrong.

In the 4 Disciplines of Execution, Sean Covey equates the second discipline (Measure Lead Behaviours) to weight loss. You step on the scale every day, and it doesn’t move. You get despondent and you attack the ice cream in the fridge, another diet failed. This is a lag measure and things take time to kick in, hence the despondency when you can’t celebrate an immediate win. He suggests you rather track the lead measure (in my case, use an App to track calorie intake daily). The other day, I set a lead measure of 10 pieces of sushi, two glasses of wine and ice cream for the dinner I was hosting. Being crystal clear on the lead measure allowed me to hit my lag measure (another 5kgs down this week…)

In business, this is where the salesperson is held accountable for a million in sales for the year, or 80,000 this month. But how do they get there? Well, it takes a while to generate sales, so maybe the lead measure is 5 sales calls or appointments per day…

The first discipline, by the way, is Focus on the Wildly Important. You are the air traffic controller, and there are fifty planes up there demanding your attention. But you need to ignore 49 of them and focus on the important one – what plane do you want to land? In business, does this sound familiar? Super hard to focus, isn’t it? That’s why the top leaders take time out to do Deep Work and schedule time away from distraction. The world will press its priorities on you if you’re not clear on the one important thing that you need to get done each day. For me, the secret is brutally tracking calories and staying under 2000. That’s how I show constant progress. The BHAG is back to cycling up to the Blockhouse in under 30 min, but a few other things need to happen before I get there.

I just spent the week in Washington DC at an epic leadership conference. And you know what? I only managed under 2000 two out of five days. But the fact that I was mindful and tracking meant I still made way more good than bad decisions, and I don’t have that normal heaviness after a conference going home. I reckon that’s a win.

There are lots more ways I can use the Four Disciplines in my journey to the better physical me. More on the other two disciplines next week!

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