29. Being Too Knowledgeable

If you are busy sharing and “educating”, you will fail to ask questions. There is definitely a time and place for education, but it isn’t all the time. Those that share too often fail to listen to others when they want to report information to you.

If you habitually try and education others, consider for a moment that the following is true, and what it really means:

The person is seeking validation.

Those who need to share what they know constantly are so low in personal worth, that they try to claw some back by being informationally-superior to another person.

One’s “knowledge sharing” attitude puts them in the physiological state that will actually refuse knowledge.

What a paradox.

Believe you’re ignorant and seek to fix it.

If you believe you’re ignorant, you won’t fall into the trap that so many people do. At some point in human progression people, men in particular, begin to try and “one up” each other with what they know. This “one upping” behavior is a form of “water-coooler-chatter” that ought to be avoided by those aspiring to lead.

Consider using these opportunities, to seek out what people actually know. Rather than accepting everything said as “the gospel” consider it an opportunity to learn about the issues of concern to others.

The “smarter” you are, the harder it is to convince others.

A person I once knew believed he was the smartest person in the room. He was, erroneously, given a leadership position. Everyday he would try to “work” by involving everyone in discussions he would run. What was quickly discovered was that he did not know what he was talking about.

As time went on this man quickly created enemies and detractors because of his poor knowledge, and yet, he was able to seek out the few people who were appreciative of him being around. Who were these people you might ask? They were people who knew even less than he did. This included bumbling government employees and 20 year olds. Every person with actual knowledge despised this person and pushed them away for his contradictory position in life.

Everyday instead of asking questions and seeking out knowledge, he instead sought to impose his erroneous beliefs on the world. Even worse for his influence, as other people’s ideas would come in and contradict his own, he had this peculiar habit of getting frustrated and fighting the ideas, but the next day would absorb and accept these ideas. This person would use these ideas, outside of a knowledgeable context, as though they were his own. Not only did he frustrate the person who was trying to share knowledge with him by becoming frustrated, but he never gave credit for ideas that were “so good” that even he decided to use them. With every one of these interactions he lost influence.

He will forever be the man who believes he knows everything, but yet knows nothing.


28. Be Yourself

The internet, mass media, and even the wide distribution of books has brought with it an unbelievable number of heros, super humans, and popular people. With this, there is an incredible push, to make others to be just like others, especially “the most successful.” If you step into the personal growth space you may find yourself saturated and over-whelmed by how much messaging there is, to be like someone else.

But you should be you.

What I mean by this, is you should be authentic. This doesn’t mean necessarily that you should wear your weaknesses on your sleeves out in front of everyone to see or that you shouldn’t attempt to improve a particular trait that you have, that someone else has as well.

But you should do so in a way that uniquely is you.

People are influenced by those who are authentic, and in order to be authentic you have to drop trying to be just like someone else.

You are not that other person, you are you. They’ll be influenced by who you are, where you came from, and where you are going. If you try to be like someone else, instead of focusing on where you are going, nobody will be able to see how they fit into your story.

And this is the problem with most messaging today online. It’s self aggrandizing at its absolute worst.

Those that want to solve the big problems that they see, need only influence others to adopt their own piece of that problem.

In order to do this, you need to accept that your role isn’t to be somebody else, but to be you, and get others to be themselves and fill the role that they need to fill.

When people are “out of place”, that is, they are in a position that they shouldn’t be in, things grind along. Whereas, if people do the roles that they are supposed to, (arguably the one they were destined to do), things move very smoothly.

How can you fill the shoes that only you can fill, if you try to fill shoes that other people either fill now, or have filled in the past?

There are some who say “you aren’t good enough, instead, you should be greater than you are now.” While it is true, that in order to tackle the problems of the future you need to grow, this doesn’t mean that you should become someone that you are not. I might recommend instead you consider it as a sign to “take action on what you can see.”

In the fullest sense, we all change over time, but our core self doesn’t change. This, commonly called our strengths, is the part of us that we ought to embrace because they are unique to ourselves, even as we are set against the larger mosaic of “others”. To try and be someone else, is an exercise in futility.


27. Set the Example

If you want others to do something, do it first.

Don’t talk first do first.

Do first, talk later.

Others are different than you. Some, many, require others to go first. Going first unlocks them. Once you go first, there is no doubts about whether what you say is possible.

Trust me. Convincing others and more importantly getting them to act, is easier by doing it first. You don’t have to do everything, you just have to act first.

If you don’t do the action first, it won’t make sense when you describe it to others. Everything you say will not feel whole, rather it will be full of wholes. People do have the ability to detect if you don’t know a lot about something. Some call this “faking the funk.”

However, if you do act first, you will be able to speak about doing the action, much differently than a person who hadn’t. You can describe sensations, and positive and negative experiences. You can describe, convincingly, how one might think while performing the actions so that one can arise over the bad, to get to the good.


26. Why did we choose service over responsibility?

We didn’t.

The core values of Sanctuary Leadership are Trust, Service and Family.

Responsibility is implied with service.

Sanctuary leadership is about being conscious and intentional with our actions. Responsibility is good but we can do our responsibilities even without being intentional. People generally know that they are responsible for, but they are not knowledgeable about how they should serve. In fact, usually people intentionally decide not to do what they know they should.

But with service requires being intentional.

To know what to do requires being conscious. Those that join Sanctuary Leadership intentionally commit to performing service.

Why is service a requirement?

Service is a requirement, because it is the intentional manifestation of the belief that one’s fellow man is the greatest asset.

Service, or the act of doing actions for others, is the key to unlocking and opening up the potential for action from others. It is through the combined value of others’ actions, directed towards a purpose, that gives leadership its unique and powerful value.

Without adopting the belief of service, leadership is simply not possible. Without leadership, decay and collapse are inevitable.

Becoming a leader, requires accepting more than responsibility, it means accepting service.


25. Once you see leadership, you cannot un-see leadership

Do others care about your concerns? Who? How?

Are they helping you get what you want?

Here’s the truth.

People can feel bad about what’s happening to you, they can empathize and sympathize and put themselves in your shoes.

But that doesn’t mean they’ll get involved and help lead you to your own personal victory.

While they miss the opportunities to influence, you can.

You do not have to leave a person whom is asking for help, hanging in the breeze. You can give confidence to others by saying “let me get this.” By taking ownership and sharing the burden, you’ll gain influence, immediately.

You can put yourself out there. You can put yourselves in to what may feel like harms way.

It matters to at least one person. And that one person may be a spokesman for many. If you influence one, you influence the many.

You don’t have to be like everyone else. Instead of waiting for superman, you can be superman.


24. The Effect of Clothes

Clothes have a very peculiar effect of speaking for you. Depending on what you wear, and where you are wearing it, clothes themselves have the ability to influence.

Have you ever been around a person who is wearing a nice suit but you aren’t wearing nice clothes? Have you noticed how you feel just a little uncomfortable like “something is going on?” Maybe you even feel “under-dressed.”

This is one example that happens from nice clothes, but this effect isn’t just for suits. This effect occurs with “spiritual robes”, medals and awards, police uniforms, and more.

Consider intentionally dressing to influence

If you are not already conscious in your clothes choices, consider being more intentional. People respond to what you wear, even if they don’t tell you. When you are in public, consider wearing clothes that if a person met you for the first time, they leave with the impression that you want.

First impressions matter, because that is the stepping off place that people begin their relationship with you. If that relationship is “we’re just casual buddies” then don’t be surprised if you are building influence from square one, instead of ahead.

In some cases, the “uniform” of the day is most important.

When people are wearing uniforms, and you are not wearing the same uniform, the reverse is affect is true. Those wearing the uniform can often feel a bit uncomfortable being around a person who isn’t wearing a uniform. It is almost as though they naturally cannot place you in “their tribe”, the one that has the uniforms.

Sometimes it is necessary to put on the same clothes as other people, especially when you want to work “at their level” to drive forward. People who work together as a team, feel comfortable when they “dress together.”

Probably the best example is outdoor work clothes for working on around the farm. If you are helping lead outdoor projects, wear similar outdoor clothes as the people doing the work. This is the time to fit in.

Never underestimate the power of clothes for setting the tone of a relationship.


23. There is No Replacement for Hard Work

Clever people like to think that they can out maneuver hard work. While it may make them feel good about themselves to occasionally receive more than they put in, they are painfully mistaking.

There is no replacement for hard work.

Working long and hard hours, builds your ability to work at a higher level, even when you aren’t working long hours. Hard work makes your work have greater impact, even when you aren’t working hard.

There just is no replacement for hard work.

Sometimes when working hard and long hours, you can feel like giving up. This natural feeling that everyone has, occurs when your mind and body has finally reached what it considers hard and long. However, this isn’t the time to quit, but rather to acknowledge this is when the real work actually begins. Pushing through these feeling is where all of the gains are found.

Muscle memory develops when your muscles are tired, but you will them to go further. Your mind sharpens when its hazy and tired, but you continue to make it operate.

There is simply no replacement for hard work.

Marines have a saying. “If it ain’t raining, then it ain’t training.”

Marine’s train in the worst conditions because those are the perfect conditions for warfare. When you are capable of focusing in cold rain in complete darkness, you will always have a leg up to out maneuver and out think your opponents. While others use think of those “poor conditions” as an excuse to feel pain, others consider them “perfect conditions.”

While creativity can innovate tactics and strategies, without hard work, newly created tactics and strategies will never work. This is why cleverness doesn’t beat hard work.

There is no replacement for hard work.


22. Not Taking it Personal

Here is one story that explains yesterday’s post on not taking the frustrations of others personally.

One day while working at Lockheed Martin Space, our project manager asked me to attend a customer update meeting. I never shy away from speaking with the “big wigs” so I accepted.

On this occasion, I knew that I would be required to represent a project that we were working on which had not made much progress and anticipated it being a fiery discussion.

When the conference call began, I was asked to provide status on where we were with migrating and executing software code written by another vendor.

“We have made changes to the code, necessary for running in our environment, and we should be executing today…”

After about 60 seconds of speaking, the colonel cut me off and sounded quite bothered.

“What you are saying really has me concerned. Let me explain why.” – She said.

“Sure” I said with no concerns for what was coming next.

When someone is frustrated, it is a great idea to be receptive to hearing them out.

“It seems like we missed our opportunity to run the code” she started.

“I have already told my superiors that we were going to make progress.”

It turns out that she had been eager to tell them that not only were we going to make progress, but that during this tiny window of opportunity of 2 days, that we’d be able to show something for it.

“I see” I said, thinking about what I had heard, but not taking what she said personally.

And then the fears and assumptions started coming out…

“What I’m really concerned about, is somehow the vendor making it impossible for us to run.” (A ludicrous idea)

“I have this feeling that they are talking behind closed doors right now, about how we can’t get this to run.”

On she went, with one concern after another. Even though I was the primary person involved with migrating over and doing this work. Because I had kept my cool, and focused on really listening to this person’s frustrations, the frustrations were never aimed at me, even though I was the primary person involved in the work in question.

People want to vent frustrations, not start a fight.

Just because a person is venting frustrations, even to the person that they might be frustrated with, they are not attempting to pick a fight. They want to be heard.

The more I listened to the colonel’s concerns, the more I realized her concerns came from things that had nothing to do with the work we were doing.

“I understand what you are saying Mike, but what am I supposed to show them? How can I show them that we’ve made progress?” – She said.

It was clear, that we had not helped our customer be able to articulate that not only the expected progress was happening, but great things were around the corner.

Had I become defensive, I never would have made it passed “the work hasn’t been completed.” Instead, I received considerable amount of insight into how our customer thinks and how to empower them. In turn this would give us breathing room, to do the actual work needed to accomplish the mission.


21. Influencing from the frustration of others

Let’s put aside hypothetical heated conversations you might fall into for the moment. When others come to you in frustration you should understand something important. They are not frustrated at you, even if it makes logical sense to be.

These people are stuck with the feeling of frustration.

Frustration is a feeling. It ought not be reasoned with, nor explained away. It is a real physiological feeling that, in fact, feels terrible. So terrible, that it will cause people to vent their frustrations in an unbelievable number of ways.

Frustration is the feeling that things are no longer moving forward as they “ought to” and the person in front of you feels that.

In most cases when people come to you with frustration, they are seeking to remove this affliction, and they’ve chosen you. If you are not aware of what is going on, you may get sucked in to their feelings, and become defensive. If you do that, you will lose the opportunity to earn influence, by being present.

You have a choice. Earn influence, grow and gain in your life or “defend yourself”, lose influence with others and go nowhere.

These opportunities present themselves to those who have internalized they are invulnerable.