What Got You Here Won’t Get You There

MGoldsmithLast week, I had the honor and privilege of hearing Dr. Marshall Goldsmith, author of the books What Got You Here Won’t Get You There and Triggers, speak at the International Coach Federation (ICF) Midwest Regional Conference in Indianapolis. His speech was 90 minutes long and probably the best I have ever heard. He covered many topics in the areas of leadership and coaching, but one exercise he had us do impacted me the most. He asked us to send a text message to our significant other, right then and there in the middle of his speech, and ask, “What can I do to be a better partner in our relationship?” There was a lot of laughter and a lot of audible dings at the text replies in response to this question. Some of the replies were rather funny and some were shocked and wondered if something was wrong and why they were being asked this question. His point was that we often ask our customers what we can do to be better, but how often do we ask our employees, our spouse, our children, our parents, our friends – the people who mean the most to us? Who is the one person you should be asking this question to?

He also talked about taking this feedback as a gift, without shooting the messenger, and just saying, “Thank you.”  He said to pick one action you can take to be better and follow up with that person in a month. Follow-up is the key to changing behavior, and frequency is more important than duration. So follow-up often and stick with it. He also said that it’s more difficult to change perceptions than it is to change behavior because we don’t see what’s there, we see what we think is there. It doesn’t matter what we say; it’s what they hear.

Lastly, he asked us to visualize ourselves at 95 years old and he asked us, “What would that 95-year-old person say to the current you right now?” He also said, “Be happy now, instead of being happy when… (fill in the blank). Focus on what you have, not on what you don’t. Follow your dreams now. Life is short; have fun now. We always regret the risks that we fail to take. And do whatever you can to help people because the 95-year-old you will be proud that you did.”

Treat every piece of advice as a gift or a compliment and simply say, “Thank you.” – Dr. Marshall Goldsmith

The only way to find happiness is to understand that happiness is not out there. It’s in here. And happiness is not next week. It’s now.” – Dr. Marshall Goldsmith

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