While all the pieces of the Escaping Mediocrity Blueprint can be a place to start, one of my favorites is “Pay Attention”. The reason I like this one so much is because by asking myself to do that – pay attention – I am asking myself to break out of autopilot (a hallmark of mediocrity) and actually notice what is around me.
Here’s what I mean: paying attention means we actually SEE what is in front of us. We notice how we feel and what we think when
we look around at our world. Sounds easy enough I know, but my thinking is we don’t actually do this very often. We zone out or overload our senses so that we can’t – or won’t – engage.
(Think I’m wrong? How often do you take a walk without another person or your Ipod so that you can actually hear and observe the world you are walking past?)
Once I can “pay attention” and decide how I feel about certain aspects or my life or my business – THEN I can start making small shifts and changes that will move me out of mediocre working and living.
I’ll give you two real life examples:
1) My bookkeeping
Since I started my businesses five years ago, I’ve managed what could loosely be called “my bookkeeping” myself. Which meant that whenever tax time rolled around, I had to scramble to get all my paperwork together- which took days and thoroughly irritated my accountant. AND during the rest of the year, I was always stressed out about the bookkeeping that wasn’t getting done. It was like having an application running in the background on my computer – sapping my limited RAM.
When I finally started to “pay attention” and ask myself question about what was draining me in my business (and keeping me from doing what I loved) – this was the first thing that popped up. Notice I had to consciously ask myself the question, even though it was so clearly an energy suck.
After tossing around different possible solutions, I realized I could just hire a virtual bookkeeper to handle it all for me – what a concept! Yes, it required some (okay – a lot) of work from me on the front end but what huge RELIEF!
Now I no longer have mediocre books for my business AND I no longer have to focus my energy on what I consider to be a mediocre task. What a concept.
2) My towels. All of the towels in my house are over 10 years old – and some of them are even older than that. I just realized this about two weeks ago. Why did it take me so long to notice that the towels I use every single day are faded, fraying and in need of replacing? I have no idea.
BUT, now that I know – I am on the hunt for GREAT towels. I get to pick the color that I like, the size(s) that I like and the softness that I like.
And…now that I am looking (and noticing) great towels, I’m thinking I might just repaint both bathrooms, too.
Now I know both of these examples seem small and not very adventurous. But I’m accomplishing two things:
1) I am exercising my ability to “pay attention” which means I will get better and better at it.
2) I am executing a series of small shifts that will add up and/or lead to BIG shifts down the road.
One of my favorite analogies does a much better job of illustrating this than I ever could.
Do you know how those great big ships turn around in ocean? Yes, they have enormous rudders that will turn it, but the effort and pressure required to push such a large object against the ocean would be nearly impossible. So, someone very clever figured out how to put a bunch of very small rudders all along the big rudder. So, turning that big ship begins by shifting those small rudders – a few at a time.
Neat trick, huh?