All of us have default behaviors that are hard to shake even when we tell ourselves it’s time for a change.
Good news is that there is a proven path for boosting success even in the face of fear and old habits, and it’s available to you. I use it with my clients and saw it in motion a few weeks ago.
At the pool waiting for my son to finish his swimming lesson, I watched a handful of little kids learning to dive off of the diving board. First, two kids walked to the end of the board, put their hands into an awkward triangle and tipped over into the water. It was more of a belly flop than anything resembling early signs of a future Greg Louganis, but they did it. Success!
Then she stepped forward. Determined, fierce, she bounded to the edge of the diving board and stopped.
She stood there, and immediately squatted down to sit.
Her coach called her back, whispered some encouraging words, and she tried again and sat again.
Next time she got off the board, checked it out with a brief inspection, hopped back on and went to the end again only to automatically have her knees buckle and take a seat.
The other kids were getting restless and the teacher’s cheers of “Come on! You can do it!” were not producing the desired results.
Eventually, the instructor called her back off the board again and this time, she picked her up, held her over the edge of the pool, and let her feet safely dangle in the water. As she put her down next to the board once again, I heard her encourage her student to have another go – which she did, without any change in behavior.
Finally, when she walked off the board to look from afar once more, the instructor picked her up and dipped in her toes again. This time, however, the swim coach dropped her into the pool. There was no crying, no sputtering, no drowning; her young student easily swam to the side.
She wasn’t afraid of the swimming; it was the jumping.
Secrets to Boosting Success?
Get a Push
Find a coach, mentor or friend who does more than encourage you with sweet words.
Be grateful when someone loves you enough to push you to be your best and do your best. It’s a sign that they truly and deeply believe in you. They’re not pushing beause they hate you or want to see you fail. They believe even before you do. You can make the leap.
Take a Dare
Up your game by finding your diving board. If the low one is easy, go on the search for a higher one.
Tell someone what you want to do and give them full permission to check in with you. If you didn’t do it, have them ask you what got in your way and take another pass. Tell them that you don’t want to be let off the hook and trust them to stand up for you and open your eyes when you’re not standing up for yourself.
I’ve coached people around the world for hundreds of hours and quickly discovered that most people are going to start with the easy stuff. It’s scary to talk about what’s stopping you. Work with someone who’s willing to call you out when you’re taking the easy way out.
I’m the first to admit that success takes more than hustle and it takes more than a push too. However, if you never feel pushed (or pulled or called) forward, be happy with what you’ve got because it’s all you’ll ever get.
Unfortunately, greater levels of success demand stepping beyond the known into uncharted territory. It’s tempting to practice avoidance and make up brilliant excuses why “not this” and why “not now;” sit down instead of making the leap.
BREAK THE FRAME ACTION
If you truly are ready to start boosting success, develop a relationship with someone who will hold your feet in the water. Someone who will pick you up and drop you into the pool with the full faith and belief that you can swim. Maybe it’s a coach, your boss, partner, mastermind, BFF or someone else. Find them.
Who in your life helps you most to make the leap even when you’d rather keep sitting on your diving board?
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