On Proactivity...

Be Proactive. The first habit from Stephen Covey’s "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People" teaches us we have an interval between stimulus and response; we have the freedom to choose, not just to react.

This “choice to choose” empowers us to create circumstances.

By focusing time and energy on the events we have control over we take the initiative to act rather than being acted on.

Instead of saying, “It’s hopeless,” say, “let’s look at the alternatives.” Instead of, “If only…” say, “I will.”

On Authenticity...

How often can you be yourself? The reality is, it’s a choice we can make every day.

To be authentic requires the ability to free yourself from egocentric fears such as failure; being different; others’ opinions; looking stupid, or being rejected. Without this freedom, there is often a conflict between who we think we ‘ought’ to be and who we ‘want’ to be.

At any given moment you decide which characteristics or personality you take on. This is influenced, in part, by the different circumstances we find ourselves in.

How can we tip the balance and be more authentic? Sir John Whitmore talks of “becoming the conductor of your own orchestra.” Each instrument represents a different character trait. As a conductor, you can call on any instrument to play at your will.

Practical steps:


(i) take a step back and reflect on what makes up your own orchestra. Think about what triggers certain responses in your character and ask if it serves or disrespects your authentic self, and


(ii) work with your coach to re-tune those traits you’ve identified so they may become more self-serving.

Achieving authenticity requires stamina and determination. However, the consistent, fearless, powerful and authentic state you’ll find yourself in will provide an infinite return on investment.

On Performance...

As many leading voices have stated, “if you do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got”. In a world where performance is often measured by results and outcomes, to gain extra knowledge or learn a new skill is not enough, it is necessary to DO something different with this knowledge or skill to progress.

To do and achieve something different, it is important to take time to reflect on:

(i) what you want to achieve;
(ii) what is preventing you from achieving it; and
(iii) deducing what you need to do differently to effect change.

‘Thinking’ is a critical but often overlooked first step in proactively enhancing performance.

It must be remembered that our actions are influenced by our life experiences, established mindset and attitudes. To improve performance and utilise knowledge or a new skill, we must also reassess and critique each of these elements so that we can change our actions in an effective and long term way.

©2020 Matt Verrell

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