Two words. Two words that symbolize great and often mighty images in one’s mind. When separated, they are strong, defining words that appear in nearly every self-help and management book printed over the last 40 years. By putting them together, marrying them if you will, something truly powerful happens. By incorporating them into the same concept, we are forever ending the argument as to which one is more important. We are joining the two into one mighty idea where control of our lives and outcomes will suddenly feel much more possible and attainable.
In their most basic form, the word effort means “the result of an attempt”. There are many other definitions that exist in many dictionaries around the world. This one is my favorite. The result of an attempt. As my son gets older, I see him beginning to try and complicate once-simple ideas. I am constantly telling him to keep it simple. Think about this like you did when you were five (he’s almost ten now. You should see the perplexed looks he gives me when I tell him this). In my ‘keeping it simple like kids’ mantra, extra effort should yield extra results right?
Awareness, by definition means “knowledge or perception of a situation or fact.” Again, keeping it simple, like a child, increased knowledge should yield a more favorable outcome then less knowledge, right?
With these basic ideas in mind, I’d like to take you on a journey. It is not a complex journey, delving into serious psychological case studies or page-long mathematical formulas. Rather, let’s keep it simple, like a child. Let’s look at how the world really us wants to care about everything but ourselves and how we can attempt to reverse that line of thinking…By taking care of ourselves first, we can help the world around us. How do we begin this transformation you ask? To begin to answer that question, let’s take a trip to the little league baseball diamond.
If you plucked any ten people from an organization or group, I double dog dare you to try and convince me that any group wouldn’t consist of some combination of the types of players I have always found on all of my son’s current or previous little league teams. Let’s identify them. There are 4 groups.
First, there are the “all-stars”. The best players and those all the kids look up to and respect.
Second, are the “lovers of the game”. They may not be the best players, but they are coachable, passionate give a legitimate effort nearly all of the time, albeit with a vast swath on the skill curve.
Third are the “show-er-uppers”. These kids aren’t especially good or passionate about the game but hey, their parents signed them up and drive them to the game so they may as well play.
Fourth…Ah fourth. I label this group as the “There for their dads” group. These poor kids. Their dads played and love the game. No matter what, they will love the game as much as they do. They are there not by choice, but by mandate.
Translating this to the many ‘hats’ we adults wear on a daily basis (employees, spouses, parents, leaders) let me ask a simple question. Which one of the 4 are you?
Now let me ask you a better question. If you asked the people you have the most affect on in the aforementioned examples, which one of the 4 would THEY say you are?
Effort and awareness are the great equalizers here. If you truly believe you are an all-star parent but merely a “show-er upper” at work, what can we do to change that? That is what I call an ‘onion answer.’ An answer with a lot of layers. I can assure you that the first two layers are effort and awareness. Are you truly giving 100% in those areas? If not, the rest of the ‘onion’ will go bad. Control what you can control first. Effort and awareness. Work to increase the “results of an attempt” and to gain more “knowledge or perception of a situation or fact.” If you have comments or questions or think you need some help in this area, please don’t hesitate to reach out at email@example.com.