The Prepared Mind: Skills v States

To tackle the wicked problems of our present and future, we need to embrace a strange, counter-intuitive irony: as organizations across all sectors continue to create and adopt technologies like artificial intelligence, employees need to stay relevant by increasing their subjective intelligence.

My research on master craftsmen and how they gain mastery might be the place to seek initial solutions. One way to do that is to increase self-awareness with your inner experience. As you learn to manage your feelings, you clear the way to develop a greater feel for your work.

Credit: Alina Grubnyak

Credit: Alina Grubnyak

Living and working with Craft is about being confident in your vision, knowing how to get there, and what it will do for your life. Most of us focus on the how—those more tangible skills that map where we need to be.

Because the idea of mission and fulfillment are more ethereal—they require a bit of a leap of faith. In the space between hard skills and soft skills lies the unknown. In the unknown is where a whole spectrum of emotions from excitement to anxiety reside.

When we are confronted by emotions that trouble us we reach for the concrete. We focus on the result.

For example, constructive self-talk is the skill to mastering a state of confidence in any condition—but how many of us think of that while we are beating ourselves up for not being confident? Regulated breathing is the skill to mastering a state of being calm in any condition—but how often are we gaining awareness of our breathing when we feel under attack by a manager or peer?

When we get into environments that are stressful or have pressure and consequence, and we abandon our goals and skills only to survive, it’s because we lack the mental skills. Effective self-management comes through honed skills like constructive self-talk and regulated breathing while one is under pressure. We have to be tested over and over and over again to develop mastery of mental skills.

 

As you explore your inner world, your outer world will come more sharply into focus.

As you face your imagined barriers, you will encounter real ones, as well.

—Julia Cameron

 

PRACTICE: How do you apply this idea yourself?

Write in a journal. Write without stopping for 15 minutes every day. Increase that time if you can or want to. If you can be honest on paper, you can find out who you are.

For people new to journaling, there is a pressure to choose certain words to express. Sometimes you self-edit, sometimes you gain clarity. With clarity comes conviction.

Everyone has a voice. When it comes to being effective, it's critical to listen to its tone and content.


If you find yourself blaming your (mental) tools, do something about it. Learn about mental models, learn from how Craftsmen talk about how they learn and get better at what they do and more importantly, take ownership. Moving forward requires change but change by itself does not mean that you are moving forward. As Socrates said, “The un-examined life is not worth living.”


Christine Haskell, Ph.D. is a leadership consultant and adjunct faculty at Washington State University. She helps busy leaders take responsibility for their learning and development. She writes on the topic of “Craftsmanship and The Future of Work.” sharing lessons from master craftsmen and women on personal and professional mastery, is due out late 2019. Sign up for her (semi-regular) newsletter here.

Best Practice Series: 10 rules for story telling for deeper engagement, start with yourself

This week I’m captaining and moderating some panels for an event that is growing in popularity here in Seattle - Women in Tech Regatta, founded by Melody Beringer.

The term vulnerability is used a lot at the start of every talk, and is one of the defining characteristics of the conference. The term risks being overplayed against the backdrop of popular self-help books. But when people pause long enough to tell stories about real difficulties and struggles they have had in their careers—that kind of authenticity gives the audience pause. Some of the stories I heard in previous years, from senior leaders, both shocked and inspired me—so much so I’m getting involved.

The lesson here is that you don’t need to be a panelist at an event to share deeply and connect with people. That kind of engagement is needed at all levels of the organization, all the time. It takes practice. You need to practice stillness to find the stories you want to tell and you need to recruit witnesses to hear them. This is something I’m working on myself as I craft my own message about my work.

Photo by  Nong Vang

Photo by Nong Vang

10 Rules For Story Telling For Deeper Engagement, start with yourself

While the environment contributes to the tenor of a conversation, how you show up in that moment matters, whether you like it or not. It’s the difference between a hurried, canned, recited speech, or a speech by someone who is present, pacing well, and feeling into their words.

Effective leaders know that telling a story is the most effective way to connect with people—whether it’s one-on-one or a full room. Here are ten things to consider when you are looking to engage.

  1. Use stories selectively. Stories activate the listener’s imagination and emotions by conveying a real or imagined human experience. That is their particular strength and limitation. Use stories for what they’re good at and don’t overload them with data, analysis, opinions, argument, etc.

  2. Listen before you speak. Know your audience and what it cares about. You can be challenging if that is what’s called for, but people are more likely to pay attention to what you have to say if you begin by acknowledging the realities of their situation. Good storytelling is a two-way process.

  3. Aim carefully. Think about the point you want to make and what effect you want to your story to have and choose a story that illustrates your point in action. An audience works out the point of a well-told story for themselves because it gives them a vicarious experience for their imaginations, and emotions to work with.

  4. Make it personal. The story does not have to be about you. In fact, it’s often more persuasive if you make someone else the hero or heroine. But you do need to find a personal connection with the story, which might reveal your part in it or be as simple as letting the audience know how you are touched, inspired or affected by the events you have recounted.

  5. Make it real. Stories are always about particular characters doing something specific at a certain time in a particular place. They are essentially about how characters meet the obstacles that thwart their desires. Bring your story alive with concrete descriptions, 3D characters, dramatic moments, humor, and passion.

  6. Learn the story, not the words. Avoid the common error of killing a story by writing it out or reciting it from memory. Make sure you know how the story works: the sequence of events and key turning points and trust your innate ability to find the words. Practice telling it aloud and get feedback from a colleague.

  7. Connect with the audience. When you tell your story to an audience, use eye contact, both to see and be seen. Your relationship with the audience moment by moment is your best support, even if you are nervous. The power of your story comes as much from your mutual connection with the audience as it does from the words.

  8. Use simple language. The ear favors informal, straightforward language. If the audience has to spend its energy untangling complex sub-clauses and trying to make sense of unfamiliar jargon, it won’t get the point. Tell the story in your own words and avoid clichés like the plague (for real).

  9. Let the story do the work. Do listeners the courtesy of allowing them to make sense of your story for themselves. Resist the temptation to tell them its moral or what it means. Tell it with conviction and it will stand for itself.

  10. Remember we are all storytellers. Stories are how we make sense of our lives and always have been. There have been civilizations that have flourished without the benefit of the wheel, but none has ever been devoid of stories or storytellers. If you can tell a good story, you’ll always have a willing audience.

Best Practices: Developing a practice

 
Jerry Fisk, one of the premier bladesmiths in America, in his studio In Arkansas. Image credit: Tadd Myers

Jerry Fisk, one of the premier bladesmiths in America, in his studio In Arkansas. Image credit: Tadd Myers

 

In a conversation about his learning process, bladesmith Jerry Fisk instills the value of education and the value of being generous with his knowledge. Coupled with this is an ability to develop a practice. Designated an Arkansas Living Treasure and a National Living Treasure, Jerry turns out Damascus steel knives that sell for tens of thousands of dollars to collectors all over the globe.

Having started with no knowledge of forging and smithing, Jerry understands the frustrations of the beginner. Even with his depth of skill he is never satisfied with his knowledge, regularly challenging himself by taking stock of what he’s learned by questioning himself:

  • What new thing did I try I try today?

  • What risk did I take?

  • Did I remain in integrity with my Craft?

  • How can I improve?

  • How can I amplify my knowledge and share what I know?

As he put it,

“I will tell anybody anything about making knives because what I tell you now will be old to me in a year.”

Jerry views carrying knowledge forward and sharing it as a responsibility. He doesn’t charge a penny, believing in the value and meaning associated with helping others.

The transfer of knowledge from master to apprentice is a key component of effective learning.

John Billings, a mold maker and fine artist, John makes the Grammy awards. He’s known as the Grammy Man. He apprenticed for seven years to Bob Graves, master mold maker who made molds for metal figures for trophy companies at the time, and also made the molds for the first Grammy in 1958.

Dying of complications from diabetes and cancer, Bob he felt a strong need to pass on his trade.  

Every night John would stop by the hospital and they would get to work in their minds. Engaging in deliberate practice, they would discuss mold making with their eyes closed, practicing how Bob would teach John molds he had yet to make, as if he were blind. Even after seven years of working together they hadn’t covered all the bases of mold making John looks at the end design for molds he makes now for about a week, envisioning how the metal will be poured and shaped—every detail about the construction. The practice of detailed, deliberate visioning he learned with Bob guides John through his planning and execution, ultimately saving him a lot of trial and error. 

 
John Billings, mold maker of the only award still made in America, in his studio In Colorado. Image credit: Tadd Myers

John Billings, mold maker of the only award still made in America, in his studio In Colorado. Image credit: Tadd Myers

 

John reflects,

“It was a heavy responsibility. Just before he died I think he could relax, understand, and know that I was going to be carrying on his work. I can’t describe the honor it is to carry his tradition forward.”

Two powerful examples illustrating the duty people who live and work with Craft feel about sharing what they know. While you may not find yourself in dire life-or-death scenarios, there are times when you are under great pressure to perform, be effective, or provide a solution to a problem you haven’t seen before.

You can begin your day by preparing your mind. Think through what it is you want to learn for the day, what is likely to come up to disrupt that, and how you may respond.

You can end your day by reflecting and analyzing how you held to your goal, how you managed yourself in adversity, and the choices you made—so that tomorrow you can be more patient, more effective, freer from fear, and more content with your work.

The result of these tiny actions has a cumulative effect, making you stronger and more resilient. 

Ari Weinzeig’s prolific writing on visioning and leadership is an embodiment of this approach. Ari and his business partner tend to Zingerman’s Community of Businesses where he teaches his version of management to employees and workshop attendees from around the world.

 
Paul Saginaw and Ari Weinzweig, cofounders of Zingerman’s Community of Businesses. Image credit: NYTimes

Paul Saginaw and Ari Weinzweig, cofounders of Zingerman’s Community of Businesses. Image credit: NYTimes

 

Early in the morning or late in the evening—or when he can find a quiet moment—he makes time to write. He writes first for himself, not for anyone else, to process what he learns. This is partly why his work is so accessible—as he digests new ideas, he tries to understand them for himself and apply them in his own context. His practice isn’t for others, it’s for himself. He shares anecdotes about experiences he’s had in leadership (good and bad), thoughts he caught himself having or opportunities to improve and be better. He’s also practicing in real time—writing down little bits of wisdom from greats like Peter Drucker, John Dewey, Donald Schön, Dan Siegel, Daniel Goleman, Daniel Pink as well as the dishwasher, sandwich makers, and staff of his organizations that resonate with him.

An ability for critical self-evaluation is critical for personal and professional development. By revisiting the events of the day, asking yourself basic questions like:

  • What went well?

  • Where did things start to go off the rails?

  • What work remains unfinished?

You might not think of yourself as someone who journals. Maybe you’ve started and never found a way to keep it up. And, anyone can start.

Start to keep your own journal, whether it’s saved on a computer, your phone, or in a little notebook so that you can put every day up for review.

Journaling is a way to call yourself to the present, to recall the past, in order to more effectively manage the future. Recall events from the day or previous day. Be unflinching in your assessments. Ask yourself tough questions. Notice what contributed to your happiness and what detracted from it. Write down what you’d like to work on or like to see more off. It won’t magically happen—but by making the effort to record your thinking, you’re less likely to forget them.

There are many benefits to journaling, or even light note taking. First, you’re creating written “data” of your progress. Over time, you can start to look back on your efforts and take note of your progression. Second, journaling helps with sleep as it helps you purge anxious thoughts or unfinished business that can cause your mind to spin up when it should be winding down. Journaling helps you lay to rest those last thoughts of the day, allowing it to close in reflection rather than avoidance. And last, it can give us a very literal understanding of something we may already intellectually know—that our first thoughts are never our fault.

The thoughts racing through our minds are part of our wiring and ways of coping. However, our judgments, impulses, will, and choice are all within our control. Just because these things are within your control doesn't mean they aren't influenced by external factors: other people's opinions of you, physical sensations, etc. But ultimately, they are under your control because you can make a conscious choice to ignore your impulses or override the opinions of others.

There are things not in your control: how your body reacts, your property could get damaged or stolen, your reputation is in the hands of others, and anything that is not your own doing (basically all things external to your mind). There's an argument that these things are under your partial control, and that's true, but I'm trying to land a point.

 

 

 DEVELOPING A PRACTICE for regular self-evaluation

Start broadly.

  • What went well?

  • Where did things start to go off the rails?

  • What work remains unfinished?

Your practice may start and stop there. And that is ok.

 

 

Or, you can narrow in.

Consider an event and write about it. It can be anything from seeing someone at lunch to a major meeting. Choose something that isn't too emotionally jarring. List the aspects of it that were completely in your control and which weren't. This might yield some initial insights on what is or is not in your control.

Here is an example:

 

Met with my boss today to discuss the latest customer escalation close rates. I was a little nervous going in since I'm not quite hitting my mark. We sat down and discussed what action steps I could take to get back on track by the end of the month. A lot of the suggestions were helpful.

 

IN MY CONTROL

The intent to show up on time to the meeting

Valuing my boss's opinion of me and my work

The wish to reduce my close rates and turnaround times

The desire to get actionable advice from my boss (if it'd help meet most of my goals)

Conscious nervous thoughts/what I tell myself

OUT OF MY CONTROL

Actually showing up on time (another meeting might have run late)

My boss's opinion of me

Meeting my close targets (I can't force the engineering team to implement ALL my fixes!)

Actually getting useful tips

Automatic nervous thoughts and physical feelings of anxiety

You may notice the side of control is filled more with results and the out of control side has more desires, wants, wishes, etc. Both of the last points in both categories are automatic thoughts/sensations more or less--not everything in our bodies and minds are willed.

You don't choose for your heart to race or hands to sweat, they just do. You don't decide to dwell in worst case scenarios. It’s just a reflex. But once you notice them, you can choose (consciously) where to direct your thoughts, in spite of those automatic responses.

Your turn.


For ideas on how to start, check out posts on developing a Morning Practice, Evening Practice, and what it means to Maintain Tension.

Best Practice: 3 Levels of Awareness

 
Photo by  CHEN Dairui

Photo by CHEN Dairui

 

Purpose: Increase awareness, increase choices.

Our first thoughts are never our fault. It’s what we decide to do next that matters.

How does awareness change us?

When we learn to see, taste, hear, and feel; when we learn to discern and discriminate through participation and observation; when we learn to make distinctions and become an expert; and, when we become intimate with the details of a particular medium from our activity with and in it. Simply put, through practice, practice, practice.

Robert Kegan and Lisa Lahey in their book Immunity to Change suggest that we have three levels of awareness:

  1. Initial awareness is gained through reflection after an incident occurs. If we understand what the gap in our behavior is and know what it should be we have a shot at catching ourselves in the act the next time. (we started here)

  2. When we successfully catch ourselves in the moment we get just enough time to make a different choice. 

  3. When we catch ourselves enough times, we can spot a trigger coming rather than having it blindside us into rash reactivity. Seeing a trigger coming gives us even more time to choose a different reaction.

NOTE: You are in and out of these three phases ALL THE TIME based on how triggered you are at any time and how aware you are of your triggers when you are triggered.


Alongside technical skills, people who can master a range of subjective skills are better able to influence, deal with ambiguity, bounce back from setbacks, think creatively, and manage themselves successfully in their pursuit of mastery. Learn more about skills of modern craftsmanship.

Best Practice Series: Awareness

 
 

If your emotional abilities aren't in hand, if you don't have self-awareness, if you are not able to manage your distressing emotions, if you can't have empathy and have effective relationships, then no matter how smart you are, you are not going to get very far.

―Daniel Goleman

Some facts are chilling. Consider this one: the quality of everything we do depends on the quality of the thinking we do first. It is chilling because its implications are enormous. The key implication is that there is nothing – nothing—more important in developing organizational effectiveness than ensuring that people think for themselves with rigor, imagination, and courage. Every day, in every meeting, and in every interaction.

It begs the question: In hierarchical structures often driven by the alternation between reward and reprisal, what does it take for people to think clearly and for themselves? And how do we find the time?

The answer is not in our innate intelligence, education, experience, or power. It is not even the amount of time we allot to thinking. The key factor in whether or not people can think clearly for themselves is the way they are being treated by the people with them while they are thinking. The impact of our behavior on people’s ability to think is, whether we realize it or not, that big.

The quality of our Attention is the central principle and discipline of Deep Craft Leadership. Attention has long been the focus of many schools of thought from Buddhism, psychiatry, education, philosophy, and religion—to name a few.

The ability to suspend our attention is a meditative and psychological tool that helps us perceive the subtle patterns continuously occurring between others and ourselves. These patterns determine our behavior and the automatic ways in which we react. When we do not suspend our attention we cannot be fully aware of our behavior, nor can we perceive the unconscious subtle pulls continually placed upon us by others.

When we hear or watch any narrative, our brains go wholly into perceiving mode, turning off the systems for acting or planning to act, and with them go our ability to see reality clearly. This is one reason why humans have such trouble recognizing lies. First we believe what we are told. Then, we have to make a conscious effort to assemble facts, and disbelieve. Only when we stop perceiving to think about what we have seen or heard, only then do we assess its truth-value.

The ability to suspend attention is accessible primarily to people with a sufficiently developed self-esteem, which enables them to reflect back upon their own and other people’s behavior uncritically.

 

HOW TO PRACTICE

  1. Hold some of your attention back while being in one of the three situations described above (become an observer).

  2. A good way to begin is to feel your body (notice the sensation of your back against the chair or your feet on the ground). The process of sensing the body automatically holds some attention in suspension.

  3. Become aware of your thoughts, sensations, and the emotions that are motivating you in the moment.

  4. Discover that there is a particular internal, physical sensation that always accompanies the practice of suspended attention

 

TOOL: 3 LEVELS OF AWARENESS

How does new awareness change us? When we learn to see, taste, hear, and feel; when we learn to discern and discriminate through participation and observation; when we learn to make distinctions and become an expert; and, when we become intimate with the details of a particular medium from our activity with and in it.

Simply put, through practice, practice, practice.

--> Initial awareness is gained through reflection after an incident occurs. If we understand what the gap in our behavior is and know what it should be we have a shot at catching ourselves in the act the next time. (we started here)

2. When we successfully catch ourselves in the moment we get just enough time to make a different choice. 

3. When we catch ourselves enough times, we can spot a trigger coming rather than having it blindside us into rash reactivity. Seeing a trigger coming gives us even more time to choose a different reaction.

Note that you are in and out of these three phases ALL THE TIME based on how triggered you are at any time and how aware you are of your triggers when you are triggered.

 

RESOURCES:

  • Klein, N. (2005). Time To Think: An Imperative of Behavior, Not Time

  • Brenner, C. “Brief Communication: Evenly Hovering Attention.” The Psychoanalytic Quarterly (July 2000): 545–549.

  • Roth, B. (2018). Strength in Stillness: The Power of Transcendental Meditation. New York: NY. Simon & Schuster.

  • Kegan, R., & Lahey, L. L. (2009). Immunity to change: How to overcome it and unlock potential in yourself and your organization. Boston, Mass: Harvard Business Press.

  • Harris, D. (2014). 10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works - A True Story

Best Practice Series: How to meditate

 
 

WHAT IS IT?

During the past two decades, mindfulness meditation has gone from being a fringe topic of scientific investigation to being an occasional replacement for psychotherapy, tool of corporate well-being, widely implemented educational practice, and “key to building more resilient soldiers.”  

KEY IDEAS

ATTENTION

Attention is what we are focusing on in the moment.  Attention is limited, selective, and a very basic component of our biological makeup.

META-ATTENTION

Meta-attention is attention of attention. It is, what we think and how we feel about what we are noticing. The ability to pay attention to attention itself raises our cognitive functioning and enables response over reactivity. For example, when you become bored, your attention wanders. Sometimes something clicks and you are reminded you need to be paying attention. You can catch yourself and bring your attention back to the task at hand. 

Meta-attention is the key to deep concentration and awareness. When your meta-attention becomes strong, you can keep your wandering mind on task. Rather than long periods of boredom of fidgeting, you can recover your attention quickly and often enough to experience continuity of your own experience, a more continuous attention, which is deep concentration.

MEDITATION

Neuroscientist Julie Brefczynski-Lewis suggests that meditation is about mental training practices. Meditation encapsulates many different kinds of practices. In Mindfulness Meditation, the goal is to distinguish between two specific mental process: Attention and Meta-attention.

MINDFULNESS

Mindfulness is a quality of being — the experience of being open and aware in the present moment, without reflexive judgment, automatic criticism or mind wandering.

 

BENEFITS

  • Reduced rumination, or “mental spinning.” 

  • Stress reduction. 

  • Boosts to working memory. 

  • Less emotional reactivity

  • More cognitive flexibility. 

  • Relationship satisfaction. 

  • Other benefits. Mindfulness has been shown to enhance self-insight, morality, intuition and fear modulation, all functions associated with the brain's middle prefrontal lobe area. Evidence also suggests that mindfulness meditation has numerous health benefits, including increased immune functioning, improvement to well-being and reduction in psychological distress. In addition, mindfulness meditation practice appears to increase information processing speed, as well as decrease task effort and having thoughts that are unrelated to the task at hand.

 

HOW TO MEDITATE

  1. Sit or lie comfortably. You may even want to invest in a meditation chair or cushion.

  2. Close your eyes. ...

  3. Make no effort to control the breath; simply breathe naturally. Notice that you are breathing in, and breathing out.

  4. Focus your attention on the breath and on how the body moves with each inhalation and exhalation.

  5. Notice your thoughts. 

  6. Keep your attention on your breath going in, and going out.

  7. Notice how your thoughts change.

Remember that your first thoughts are not your fault. Many find that comforting. 

The work is to choose an appropriate response.

 If you are looking for regular meditation prompts, check out the Meditations area.

 

RESOURCES

  • Davis, D. & Hayes, J. (2012). What are the benefits of mindfulness? Monitor on Psychology, July/August, 43 (7).

  • James W. (1980). The Principles of Psychology. In: Green CD, ed. Classics in the History of Psychology.

  • Gelles, D. How To Meditate. Retrieved April 12, 2015 from: https://www.nytimes.com/guides/well/how-to-meditate

Best Practice: Understanding Triggers

 
Photo by  Clarissa Watson
 

Purpose: increase perspective under pressure, make better decisions.


There's a difference between identifying the roots of your shortcomings (which is useful), and either taking all the blame, or blaming others for them entirely (which are not).

The principle to keep in mind is that triggers explain—they don't excuse. Emotional triggering is, at root, a survival response. Our brains create powerful associations between things that hurt us and whatever happened to be occurring when we got hurt. Once you've been hit by lightning, even though you know that the odds of its happening again are astronomically low, the touch of a single raindrop may send you running for cover. 

It's easier to forgive misbehavior in ourselves and others once we understand this powerful connection between environment, emotion, and reaction. But recognition makes us responsible for recognizing triggering situations so we can change our unconscious reactions. Really pondering the concept of triggering can guide us making better choices. 

Identifying your triggers is key. To unload your own emotional gun, ask yourself, "When, before the most recent trigger, did I feel this upset?" At the outset, this is an exercise in hindsight. You won't even think to identify your trigger until after it's pulled. But with continued attention, you'll start recognizing triggers sooner, and one day, even as you're firing off shouts or tears, part of you will be saying, "Oops, there I go again." You'll then have a choice: Continue to blast, or put the safety on your psyche.

Inner Awareness: Identifying your Trigger, Overview

(When this happens…)

Define the moment. You are at the intersection of Well-Trod Road and Less Trod Path. If you don’t watch for this junction, you will miss your opportunity to try something new, and with that the chance to learn and raise your game.

The more specifically you can define this moment, the more you will learn. There are five types of triggers: time, emotional state, location, other people, and the immediately preceding action. One or a combination of these might contribute to a trigger. An example might be “When I’m feeling frustrated (emotional state) in my weekly check-in (time) with my manager (people) because he often gives me conflicting feedback (action).” Another example might be “When I’m feeling anxious (emotional state) in team check-ins (time) with my directs (people) because I’m not sure who is on the bus and whom is not (action).” 

Identifying Conventional Approach

(Instead Of…)

Define the thought pattern you typically engage in. List what you know to be true, what you believe to be fact, so that you can learn something new. The more specific you can make it, the more useful it will be. For instance, (to bring forward the example from above), “I ask Mark ‘Have you thought of X?’ and hope he’ll get the hint that I’ve disguised as a pseudo-question, all the while being afraid or unsure of him.”

Determine New Action

(I will..)

Define new action, one that will be easy to integrate. You are seeking greater curiosity toward learning and doing the emotional labor required to take action. What is great about this process that you are about to discover is that you can definitely do this in a minute or less.

To finish our example, “I will ask Mark, ‘                                        ‘?’”

Now it’s time for you to build your learning practice, one skill at a time. We’ll keep revisiting these concepts and give you some real examples for each question so you can see how the Learning Practice and the key questions work in reality.


Learn to shift thinking patterns.

Identify trigger.

Triggers take our attention away from learning. There are five types of triggers: time, emotional state, location, other people, and the immediately preceding action.

WHEN THIS HAPPENS…

Determine new action.

Define new action, one that will be easy to integrate. You are looking to avoid a focus on seeking tools over learning more deeply. You are seeking greater curiosity toward learning and doing the emotional labor required to take action.

I WILL…

Identify conventional approach.

Define the thought pattern you typically engage in. List what you know to be true, what you believe to be fact, so that you can learn something new. The more specific you can make it, the more useful it will be.

INSTEAD OF….


Alongside technical skills, people who can master a range of subjective skills are better able to influence, deal with ambiguity, bounce back from setbacks, think creatively, and manage themselves successfully in their pursuit of mastery. Learn more about skills of modern craftsmanship.