The Experts Are Not Your Friends

expert photo The Experts Are Not Your Friends

Maybe We Need A Break

One of the symptoms of our nation’s current malaise is our reliance on experts. In the areas of education, economics, and health, we have abdicated our responsibilities. Theology and God are proven away by scientists who are given free rein to pronounce on any area of mystery.

In some instances, people have become so disengaged that we’ve allowed education and economics to get combined for convenience. Hedge fund managers and investment bankers have taken the lead in education “reform.” They got bored with all their hard work in making our economy more efficient. They know how to close the achievement gap – create institutions that control the “stranger”, the “other.” Institutions they wouldn’t be caught dead sending their own children to.

The production of high fructose corn syrup gets subsidized and the poor population becomes fatter and unhealthier. We worship food pyramids that have been built to the gods of greed (In future posts I’ll be providing my own food porn antidote to this control measure).

Letting the experts run things have created an obesity epidemic in information, entertainment and food. They are our enemies.

We’re suffering from learned helplessness with no cure in sight. We need a diet and we need more simplicity.

I am a ronin. I am joined by people like Ken (check out his blog), Dino (make sure you follow this), Ian, Bernadette, and Yaro. We all pursue our positive deviant status in different ways. I quit a lie of a job; I workout and eat Paleo; I am a member of the NRA; I look for every opportunity to engage in rants against the enemies of cognitive diversity; I am unapologetic in my faith, and I help people who seek their path in spite of the fear. I do what I can. What are some of the things you are doing?

Anyone else want to join the tribe?

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The Six Questions You Need To Ask Before You Go After Your Goal

impact The Six Questions You Need To Ask Before You Go After Your Goal

What Impact Will You Have?

This is a continuation of the series of posts on “Well-Formed Outcomes.” It’s important to consider the impact that the  accomplishment of a major goal may have on you and the people around you.  We’ve all been warned: “Be careful what you wish for!”

Here We Go Again With The Questions!
Much of the value of coaching comes from its emphasis on the use of questions to improve a person’s thinking. Goal attainment and winning are stressed so highly in this culture that we often don’t pay enough attention to the collateral damage that can occur. Our thinking becomes too narrowly focused. The right questions open up the environment around us and help us to be clear about what we think we want.

The first question asks: “What will I gain when I achieve this?” This presupposes that we have already taken the incredibly important step of getting clear about our values. When I left my last job, I knew that along with freedom came uncertainty.  The opportunity may be incredible but are the gains enough to offset possible losses? Sometimes, it may not be obvious that there is a tradeoff when you take an action but King Midas also found out that everything has a cost.

You’ve made the decision to go back to school to improve your long term economic prospects. Will the loss of your current job be worth it? Will the time away from your children be ok?

3.Got It!
What will happen when you achieve your outcome? When I left my law career to found a school for under-servd children, I thought people would respect my decision or even find the cause admirable. What I hadn’t accounted for was the loss of many of my “friends.” This was more than offset by the positive changes I was able to make in a lot of young people’s lives.

4.What Won’t Happen When I Have This Outcome?
You’ve been successful saving for the car of your dreams. That now means you’ll have to wait longer for that down payment on the condo. It will also mean that you no longer have to rely on friends for rides to work and the supermarket.

5.What Will Happen If I Don’t Get It?
You weren’t able to make the career switch. The morning stomach pains will continue as you head back to the same ‘ol grind. It might also mean that you are able to stay in the city you love instead of having to relocate.

6.What Won’t Happen If I Don’t Get The Outcome?
The job didn’t come through. The kids don’t have to leave their friends behind because they aren’t moving after all. Your husband can stay in his job and you won’t have to stop volunteering at the youth boxing gym.

Write down the six questions. Chart out the good and the bad of achieving and not achieving the outcome. It may appear tedious but it could also save you a lot of headaches later.  We can’t get our time back so spend it wisely, put in a little time,  and improve your outcome thinking with the right questions.

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Goal Setting – Resources

small stones 300x214 Goal Setting   Resources

What Are Your Resources?

We’re going to deal with the fifth spoke in the wheel of goal setting (or Well-Formed Outcomes). That spoke is “resources.” These resources can be internal or external. They can be mental, physical, or material. What skills or states of mind are needed to achieve your outcome? When I began my girls’ school in India, planned for an expedition in the Arctic Circle, and decided to start my current coaching and training business I needed to do an inventory of my assets and figure out what I needed to do to acquire the missing pieces. Some of these missing pieces had to do with money, some with physical fitness, some with contacts, and some with background knowledge. I needed both internal and external parts to complete the different pictures.

Acting As If
In each of these situations, the inventory showed I was lacking in certain areas. I’ve never been one to let the perfect be the enemy of the good, so I had to act “as if” I already had these missing resources or would be able to get them in a reasonable time frame. The ability to visualize was important in imagining that a particular “mini-outcome”  had already been achieved. Positive past experiences were helpful in accessing the necessary internal resources.
If you have trouble acting “as if” you may have some limiting beliefs that need to be addressed. The skills that I talked about in an earlier post, will definitely come in handy here.

Mind and Body
We have to make sure that our mental and physical resources are aligned. The mind-body separation that exists in much of American society causes us to under- or over-estimate our ability to get something done. Our physiology can determine our emotions and vice versa. We have the ability to change our physiology and to choose our emotions. I will talk about how to do this in future posts.
If you don’t have the requisite time, knowledge, skills, health, or state of mind to achieve the ultimate outcome, then you might have to start off with some smaller goals to fill these gaps.

Sometimes we also need “Other People’s Money,” equipment, information, contacts, or emotional support. This is where the ability to develop and maintain a network pays dividends.  Honestly evaluating our available and needed resources will be the difference between “magical thinking” and a clear-eyed path to progress on our outcomes.

How have you dealt with a lack of resources?

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Six Honest Serving Men

joefriday Six Honest Serving Men

Context and the Facts

Kipling’s “Honest Serving Men” form the basis of good news reporting, good police investigation, and good research. They are also a spoke in the wheel of Well-Formed Outcomes.

When I left my last job, I violated several of the rules for creating a Well-Formed Outcome (WFO). I knew I no longer wanted to be around people who were weak, amoral (at best) dishonest, and greedy. I knew that with the right cave, I could achieve this. But how was I going to contribute to the world? Make a living? Stuff like that. Where was the positive intention? Was this really going to be under my control if I continued to work for corporate types? Were there enough specifics for me to aim at?

Just The Facts, Ma’am
Context is provided by these Six Honest Serving Men. The who, what, why, when, where kind of questions give us an outcome that is more specific and clear. Figuring out the context now will help prepare you for the later step of identifying the impact. You fine tune the outcome and help to avoid getting something you may not want. The “when” question makes sure you have a deadline. “When” helps me figure out the steps I need to take in marketing my training/consulting business to meet our income requirements.

When my wife says she wants to take a vacation, the “where” question ensures we don’t go to one of my favorite places – the Arctic Circle (yeah, really).

“Who” may be the toughest one for me. Like Diogenes, I am looking for some honest people. Any future colleagues must also have courage. Like Aristotle, I agree that “courage is the most important quality because it guarantees all the others.” Well, I won’t let the perfect become the enemy of the good, but this Well-Formed Outcome stuff isn’t always easy!

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Set Your Goals With Sense

five senses Set Your Goals With Sense

Actually, it’s important to set your goals with your “senses.” Another leg of the “Well-Formed Outcome” model is the use of specific language when defining your goals. During the recent training that I conducted at the Leadership School for sergeants in the Baltimore Police Department, having the participants get specific with their goals was one of my biggest challenges. I got responses on short and long term goals like: “I want to get a government job.” “I want to retire and get a different career.” “I want to have the best squad in the city.”

There are several problems with being this vague. One is that you have no guideposts or markers to let you know if you are moving closer to or further away from your goal. It’s important to aim for the bullseye and not just in the general direction of the target. Without enough specificity, there is also the danger that you will end up getting things that you don’t want.

This is the time to bring in good questions and our senses. We experience the world through our five senses. To create strong internal experiences, we also bring our senses into play. We remember things that have a strong emotional impact. Our “servo-mechanism” (as Maxwell Maltz called it) is strengthened by sensory information. So, when setting a goal, ask yourself what it will look like, feel like, and sound like when you have achieved it. Use these same sensory markers to determine if you are moving closer to your goal.

Your Story
The best writers use sensory language to make their stories or information come alive. When you are writing the story of your life, make sure that you use all of your senses so that you can hit your mark. The more you live in the world of your senses, the more the world will come to life for you.

Write to me with any questions. Please retweet this post if you found it interesting/helpful.

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