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Leadership and success

Don't fall into this trap....

I had a very interesting coaching conversation with a client last week
Towards the end of the call, we agreed on a certain set of actions he will take
He said “I will try
I caught him then and there and challenged him “Will you try or will you actually do what we agreed?
He paused for a moment and then said “I will do
You see….
Language is a very important to me
It is a reflection of your thoughts and beliefs, your feelings and emotions
Trying v/s Doing
What’s the difference?
When you want to try something, it means that you are either not fully convinced or you are not fully committed
Doing is associated with taking action. Doing indicates commitment
There is nothing like trying – you either do it or you don’t do it. Period
Two other things are important to understand in this context – intention and alignment
I will try v/s I will do

When you are simply trying something, your intentions are not very clear
Moreover, you may take action which is not in alignment with your intentions
But when you do something, your intention is clear – you want to achieve a specific outcome and you are ready to take the necessary action to help you move ahead in that direction
Say you want to lose weight:

If your intention is clear about losing weight, then you will do something about it. You will take action such as eating healthy and avoiding junk food. That’s the doing part
But if your intention is not clear or you are not fully committed, then you will try to lose weight. It gives you a leeway - you may or may not follow the required diet
There’s another meaning of trying – it could also mean that you want to experiment with something, but even to experiment and explore, you still have to take action. You have to do something, right?
Trying can be a subtle refuge for not doing something – it sounds like an excuse to me
When you are trying something, it creates an illusion that you did something, even though you actually did not do it
You can walk scot-free without doing anything and still claim that you tried :)
Trying can on many occasions be the same as not doing anything
You don’t have to face any consequences of trying. Infact, there’s no accountability if you simply try
Let’s look at some other examples:
Your belief - I am trying to cut down on my screen time
Fact – You are constantly looking at your phone and scrolling down social media
Net result – You remain distracted
Your belief – I am trying to get up early in the morning
Fact – You go to bed late. You set up the alarm. You snooze the alarm
Net result – You are not able to break the cycle of sleeping and getting up late
Your belief – I am trying to avoid looking at official emails late night
Fact – You keep replying to emails till early morning hours
Net result – You are not able to balance your personal and professional lives
Your belief – I am trying to be more empathetic to my team members
Fact – During your 1-1, you speak more and listen less
Net result – You come across as a leader who does not care about the team members
You can look at any number of examples from your life
I am trying to get out of a bad relationship
I am trying to be more physically active
I am trying to improve my relationship with my child
I am trying to speak up at important meetings
I am trying not to procrastinate
And so on….
In all these cases, you have to take action to really make things work for you, else you are simply fooling yourself to believe that you actually did something by trying and you get away with it
If you put in half-hearted efforts, it still means that you are not giving your best
But if you were to actually do something about any of these situations, then it will look very different. For example:
Your Commitment - I will cut down my screen time
Fact – You keep your phone away while doing important tasks
Net result – You are able to improve your focus
Your Commitment – I will be more empathetic to my team members
Fact – During your 1-1, you start listening more with an open mind. You don't go in the meeting with your own agenda
Net result – Your relationship with your team members improves
And so on....
Now the important question is:

What stops you from doing, from taking action?
Change in any form creates discomfort. It changes the equilibrium around us
We are used to thinking, working, and acting in a certain way and we are comfortable with that system. There is a certain sense of inertia
We are used to "how and where" we are – it may not be ideal, but we are ok with it
Infact, to avoid any form of change, we keep increasing our tolerance and thresholds
But when you have to do something different, it pushes you out of your comfort zone. It disturbs the balance you have created around you, hence the reluctance
It is easy to be in the as-is state, rather to change it, right?
Sometimes, inaction could also be driven by fear – fear of failure or fear of uncertainty
Whatever the cause is, it is sometimes easier to say you are trying, than to actually do something
So, what’s the way out?
Make a shift:
Trying >> Doing
I will try >>  I will do
I am trying >> I am doing
I am trying my best >> I am doing my best
I tried >> I did
I tried my best >> I did my best
This is not just a shift in language - it's a shift in your approach, your attitude, your behavior and your intentions
When you say I will do instead of I will try, there is a sense of conviction and commitment. You are clear of your intention and you get into action mode
Alternatively, if you are sure that you are not going to do anything, then there’s another shift you can make by being honest and true to yourself:
I will try >> I will not do
In most cases, if you put your hand on your heart, you know whether you are going to do something or not about a situation, right?
And if you know that you are not going to do something, then it’s better to take that decision, rather than make an excuse of trying
That is another way to clarifying your intentions
Stop trying. Start doing
1. Pick up one area of your life where you are trying to achieve a specific goal
2. If you were to stop trying and actually do something on a consistent basis, what action will you take?
3. If you have to do your best to achieve that goal, how would you go about it?


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