Trust is the basis for communication, not a substitute for communication. We build a foundation of trust with someone so we can communicate, not so we can avoid it or skip over it. Trust creates opportunity for for communication where dreams, passion, expectations, boundaries, hopes, fears and creativity are shared and flow.
When we substitute trust for communication we shut off that vital flow and suddenly it’s no longer trust- it’s neglect. Neglect, in leadership and in relationships is betrayal of the trust we worked so hard to build.
The danger is allowing trust to be the end rather than the beginning. The temptation is to use trust as an excuse for laziness or to avoid conflict. Both of these result in a break down of trust.
Is there a conversation you’re avoiding in the name of trust?
One of the greatest aspects of the Boredom/Anxiety Curve is its exclusive nature. There is no one else on the Curve but you. It’s highly individualistic in the best possible way.
The Curve exposes the lie of Comparison Thinking. There are no coworkers, colleagues, competition or crackpots, not even heroes. Just you. Its not concerned with the Complacency or Challenges of others. It doesn’t overlay with other analysis.
The Curve is a very personal tool. Where are you at? Where do you need to engage? Where are you not putting up your best effort? Where do you need to extend yourself some grace?
Yes- find heroes and emulate them. Yes- competition is healthy. And YES- the better you understand yourself, the farther you’ll go. And, at all costs, avoid the crackpots.
The Boredom/Anxiety Curve is a highly efficient coaching tool which helps you understand where you are in a given area or aspect or your life. The application of it is usually very quick- I’m talking 15 seconds, tops.
If you are already working hard, working harder may not be worth it- the effort may not be worth the return. If you are already working smart, then leveraging your brain power for another percentage point of efficiency may actually be more inefficient.
But, gauging your efforts against this curve, you could be working harder and smarter with virtually no increase in effort. Sounds counter intuitive- so why does it work?
1. It brings Focus. The Curve is uber-adaptable; you can apply it anywhere at anytime and come away with tighter picture of your progress and helps you zero in on where you need to go.
2. It brings Clarity. The Curve provides easy to identify your own boundaries and parameters, maximizing your effort. You’ll know when to push forward and when to pull back.
3. It brings Awareness. The Curve is natural to everyone of us- but using it is rare. The vocabulary and visualization of the Curve helps you better understand you and how you work.
Whether you find yourself 3 clicks deep in Complacency or solidly in your Comfort Zone on the curve shown here, Challenge is the zone you want to be in for Growth: actually, it’s the only zone where Growth can occur. So how do you click over into the Challenge? Here are the steps you’ll go through to get back to Challenge. You may go through these steps in 5 seconds, or it may take a number of days or weeks- so, put a time limit on yourself and don’t let it slip away from you.
1. Accept Responsibility.
For where you are and where you want to go. No one else can own this. If you’ve given this responsibility to someone or something else, you will need to take it back.
2. Decide to Act.
Seems obvious enough, but if you don’t, you won’t.
3. Make a Plan.
Know what you want and how you want to get there. Pushing yourself to be challenged without a clear purpose is draining and wasteful. Figure it out first.
When you’ve achieved it, celebrate it. Acknowledge the hard work and guts it took to get out of your Comfort Zone and Challenge yourself.
The last one is the hard one for me- always tough to know HOW to celebrate? How do you celebrate victories, big or small?
The Challenge portion of the Curve is the only place where honest, healthy Growth occurs.
Lean too far into Challenge and you’ll just end up in Anxiety; lean away from the Challenge and you’ll end up drifting into Complacency. There’s a balance to be struck and it’s always a forward-leaning balance. Here are 5 Signs of a Great Challenge, some benchmarks to help you determine whether you’re hitting that balance of Challenge and Flow.
1. It’s Motivating. You want to get up in the morning to tackle it.
2. It’s Stimulating. You want to stay up thinking about it. You ooze with Creativity and new ideas.
3. It’s Enriching. You feel yourself learning and growing in it.
4. It’s Life-Giving. You feel charged- rather than drained after working at it.
5. It’s Tantalizing. It’s just beyond your reaching and keeps you focused, leaning in.
How long has it been since you felt that way about your present work, your career, your dreams, your relationships? What steps can you take to move you one click closer to Challenge in an area of your life desperate for change?
The biggest danger of Complacency is the slippery slope into self-destructive Boredom. Here are 5 Signs you’ve grown Complacent: use them as a filter in different areas (career, projects, relationships, hopes and dreams) of your life to identify Complacency.
1. De-Motivated- you don’t want to get up in the morning. No passion.
2. De-Stimulated- you fall asleep just thinking about it. No creativity.
3. Stagnant- you have no new ideas. No insight.
4. Life-Sucking- you feel drained without having worked hard.
5. It’s Too Easy- you can’t remember when it was hard to do.
It’s so important, once you’ve identified an area of Complacency, to own it completely. Your Complacency doesn’t belong to anyone else; no one else caused it and no one else will launch you out of it. Now is the time to determine how you will Challenge yourself out of your Complacency and into Growth. Keep leaning forward.
Your Comfort Zone isn’t a bad thing.
We talk about “getting out” of our Comfort Zone as if its a bad place to be- but its not. Your given Comfort Zone is actually a good thing. The problem lies in that you can’t stay in your Comfort Zone. If you could stay there indefinitely- well, it doesn’t matter what because its impossible.
Getting into your Comfort Zone, nevermind staying there, is tricky at best- its a balancing act that will never be worth the effort. Leaning into the next challenge is where the payoff lies. In this picture, Growth only happens to the right of Comfort Zone- to the left is Complacency, Atrophy and Boredom. To the right is Challenge, the only place Growth can actually occur.
So, where are you sensing yourself getting comfortable? Because getting comfortable means you are lining up for Complacency in the next couple weeks.