How much of you are you using?
You see it every day, don’t you? There are so many people who are not as capable or intelligent as you are, but they continue to find themselves in the best opportunities.
We think it’s luck, looks, interpersonal relationship skills, but it’s not–it’s the way you view yourself. Do you view yourself as a person of leadership and competence? If you don’t view yourself that way, you’ll never get there. If you do, you’re on the road.
Just like you, I have so many more capabilities in me that never make it into my every day use. How much of us is missing that used to be there–that should be there but isn’t?
We don’t use even a small fraction of what we’ve learned and the skills we’ve developed–even on the things we most value. Do you agree?
Change your self-concept and you’ll soon double your IQ and quadruple your competence. Change how you think about yourself and you’ll get what I call the exoskeleton of the mind, the basic tool you need for the 21st Century.
Science is bringing new capabilities to human bodies. Many of you who have served our country in Iraq and Afghanistan understand the power of 21st Century military equipment. The next generation of tools, exoskeletons, will allow the body to withstand the explosion of a bomb in the immediate vicinity and to lift objects like a superhero through implanted hydraulics.
Here’s what we need to do to acquire our mental exoskeleton that will allow us to catapult our careers forward in a direction that no one would predict. We have clients whom everyone thought were on a fast track to nowhere, when their next stop was a corner office making the rules, not under someone else’s thumb.
1. Learn to Fly Again. When I was a child I could fly over mountains and was the commando of whole armies. Then came Mrs. Featherston, my second grade teacher who stopped all that. She said green and blue didn’t go together (they didn’t in those days), although I loved that color combination, and she said that I should paint within the lines of the coloring book.
Adulthood finally stuck, and at about 13 I tried to play war games with my friends, but I had become too grown up to enjoy it. Certainly playing children’s games at this point in my life would be seen as delusional, but if I can’t relearn how to fly–let my imagination escape from where I am right now to where I can visualize myself–I’ll never reach my capabilities. You have to become who you were at your core when you were a child when you could fly with no limitations.
2. Snub the Limiting Voices of Antique Authority that Still Nag at Your Mind. If you have one or two people in your background–a parent, teacher, mentor, friend–who told you that you were going far, you have a remarkable gift, a body armor that protects you from many blows and tells you to reach your potential. But many of the voices you hear around you will tell you directly that most things in life are way above your capability. When someone tells me, “Oh, I could never do that!” I know it’s one of those limiting voices in their heads–they’re letting past voices speak through them. You see them in the process of shutting themselves down. We must escape.
3. Return to that Moment When You Were Your Most Powerful You. Dr. Carol Kallendorf, founder of Delta, Inc., an Austin-based performance consulting company, has a tool that she uses with her clients when she asks them to think back to the moment when they were most powerful, appealing and able. She recommends you think back in your mind and locate the entire memory. What were you doing in that moment? Where were you? What were the sights and sounds around you? When you’ve created that moment, Carol says “freeze frame it.” The next time you walk into a new situation, instead of feeling apprehensive, unfreeze that powerful moment you had and use it. It will work wonders.
4. Use 21st Century tools to solve big problems you face. Technology writer, Kevin Kelly, uses a term to describe human beings today as a “technium,” a combination of flesh and technology that works together to form a human being with advanced capabilities. When you put together your human mind with the combination of knowledge sources such as Google, several billion searchable websites, and an unlimited tool box of apps, your intelligence is limited only by your diligence and imagination.
Developing an exoskeleton built of your best self concept is the only way that you can survive in a world where employees are an expense to be cut rather than an asset to be built on. Gig projects, companies that fold, layoffs, downsizing and reorganization will leave your self-concept in tatters, and I know several people who no longer expend any effort anymore because their self-concept is destroyed. You must build a self-concept that allows you to fly and to leap tall buildings in a single bound. Work and life is a new kind of war. Be a soldier that’s prepared.