Sometimes they feel like your closest friends. They seem to want to keep you safe, keep you comfortable. But these two ‘false friends’ are your worst enemies if you want to succeed in business or in life.
These old friends are fear and habit.
They are insidious. They don’t walk around bold as brass. Most often they hide themselves away and ‘whisper’ into your ear. They sprinkle just enough of their magic on what you do to keep you stuck, keep you scared and keep you small.
Have you ever sat in a meeting where someone says “yes, but we don’t do it that way!”. Or someone might find a way to get their point across with something like “But what if we don’t do it!” These are simply versions of your false friends speaking up to keep you stuck.
There is some sort of comfort in not changing, not evolving. However, when everything around you is changing, for you to fight to stay the same only makes you go backwards relative to everyone else. All of a sudden what made you successful is now your biggest anchor in staying stuck.
I remember once doing some work with a group of country representatives at a big workshop in Dubai. They were all complaining that they didn’t have enough marketing budget. Even we dug deeper, what was true was that more than half of the group’s spend (over a million Euros) did not serve strategy, but instead served fear and habit. By removing the funding for our old friends, it liberated the million Euros to be reallocated to new and exciting projects – leading to double the sales growth that from the previous period.
Fear and habit are built into your culture, into your practices, built into the policies that you prepare. Ask yourself: What is ‘our way of doing things?’, what are people ‘afraid’ of doing in case they get it wrong?
These false friends also impact people at a personal level, as they act out of their feelings or by listening to their critical voice. Instead of evolving their behaviours, they are drawn back to a smaller, weaker version of themselves. Listening for the false friends, recognising them – then setting them aside and focusing on the strategies that will deliver the goals is the path to leave these old friends behind.
What can you do?
Pay attention to when these false friends want to show up. Audit you current experience: Where do you find fear and habit is creeping into your life? Where does it show up in your team’s behaviour? How are they built deeply into your company culture?
Want to know more? Contact Phil Owens at The Bigger Game now.