I recently read a book by a guy named Rory Vaden. I was just fascinated by this book! Its message is simple and summed up completely by the elegant title, ‘Take the Stairs.’ If you think about it, the title is exactly what the book is about. Don’t take the elevator, take the stairs. Do the short-term, hard thing first. The main premise of the book is that if you do the short-term, uncomfortable thing – meaning, just step out of your comfort zone — it makes the long-term things that much easier. It’s so simple. I think the title is elegant, yet so true.
I was traveling the other day and found myself wanting to head to the gym. So I’m on the fourth floor of a hotel standing at the elevator waiting. Suddenly, I bust out laughing to myself thinking, “What the heck am I doing? I’m on the fourth floor and I’m going to the gym. I can’t walk four flights of steps to get on a treadmill?” I had no choice but to laugh at myself. I grew up in a three-story home and if you ran up to my bedroom from the basement that was four stories, so here I am waiting for the elevator. That’s why I just love this title, ‘Take the Stairs.’
This book really got me thinking about why do we do the things we do. Why do we sabotage ourselves the way that we do? It happens all the time. Myself, my clients, executives that are working in businesses, why do we send ourselves such negative messages? I was golfing with my wife this past weekend and we got to chuckling. I had a shot and I plopped it right in the middle of the sand. Later I mentioned to her that my mindset was, “Don’t hit it in the sand” vs. “Hit it on the green!” Why is it that the human condition is to send ourselves such negative messages? From our client’s perspective, which has happened quite literally with our clients around the world, there’s this hesitancy to address a top performer who is poisoning the well. This will be someone who is tremendously negative, yet they will keep them around because they are afraid to act. In reality, the bottom line is that the damage they are doing is so far beyond the performance they are giving, and that’s just ridiculous!
There are many businesses out there that will just completely and consistently ignore competitive threats. You know, where a competitor is doing something that’s challenging their markets or it’s going to take market share away. They seem to be of the mindset of, ‘If we ignore it long enough, it will go away.’ I had a client chuckle with me the other day because there was an issue in his business and he knew he should have addressed it. Eventually, he did but at the time he said, “You know, once again, if we ignore it long enough it will take care of itself!” He was laughing because he knew that just wasn’t the right thing to do.
So why is it that we ignore these types of things? Why are we doing ‘C’ work on ‘A’ time? We know that’s not productive. We know that we’re just doing busy work and not productive work, yet we do it all the time. Next week in part two, I will discuss this concept further and expand upon how this line of thinking is affecting the job market today.