This is the fifth and last blog of a series of blogs showing how we can achieve more by rethinking our attitude towards failure. In this blog I suggest four ways to remove judgement around failure.
So far we’ve talked about RAMPS and STEPS as if they are quite distinct, as if it is objectively clear to anyone which category your challenge falls into.
But what about if your goal is a RAMP but you are emotionally fully committed to achieving your bright line target? You will get over 80% in the exam! You will run the marathon in under 4 hours! You will lose 6kgs in 6 weeks! You see yourself as a succeeder, you’re a completer. You don’t pick every fight, but the ones you do you win. You bend the universe to your will.
This is the fourth in a series of blog posts about achieving more by rethinking failure. In this post we get to see how you can overcome the motivational slump characteristic of tough STEP goals, how to remove the possibility of failure, and how to maximise RAMP goals.
Two weeks out from the end of the trans-Atlantic rowing race we were losing badly. We were 70 miles behind the leaders.
We had tried catching them but nothing had seemed to work. The effort just to keep up was immense and it was looking increasingly like we were putting ourselves through hell for no particular good reason. There was a huge temptation to stop trying as hard and coast into the finish. After all winning is everything, and no one cares how far behind second place comes.
This is classic STEP thinking.
In the last blog I introduced the idea that challenges are RAMPs or STEPs based on when you get the benefits of taking on the challenge. When more effort leads to more benefit (like going on a diet) then it’s a RAMP. When it’s all at once, like defusing a bomb, it’s a STEP.
In this blog we’re looking at how you might use this idea to help you figure out:
- if you should continue when you’re in the middle of challenge and it doesn’t look like you’re going to make it
- if you’re wondering if you should even take on a challenge because you might not complete it
- if you should even take on a tough challenge
- how to approach your challenge when it’s a RAMP
- how to deal with the risk of serious failure if your challenge is a STEP
This is the third in a series of blogs about how to achieve more by rethinking failure. In this post I make a distinction about goal targets and goal benefits and explain how that leads to a new way to thinking about your challenge.
If we know one thing about goals, we know that taking on a goal means trying to reach a target. That’s the ‘S’ in SMART goals. That’s the ‘Specific’.
But hang on. That’s wrong already. When we take on a goal it’s not because we like to set targets, it’s because we want to get some benefit. So when do we get the benefit?
Is it all at once, when we achieve our target, or do we accrue it along the way?
Perhaps, because we see it so often in sport and competitions, we tend to think that all our goals have that same sharp division between getting a lot of benefit and getting a lot of pain. If we don’t reach the goal then, we’ve not only failed, but worse – the whole challenge has been a waste of time. But is that really the case?
This is second part of a series of blogs showing how we can achieve more by rethinking our attitude towards failure. In this blog post I’m looking at why you might want to take on a tough challenge.
You might be thinking that this point is blooming obvious. I thought so too. Then I was giving one of my workshops about how to take on tough challenges, to a group of admin staff. So we could get into the fun stuff I asked the participants to come up with their own tough challenge. It’s a slightly awkward question, but most of the group started scribbling away in the workbooks. However, there was also a certain number of thin-lipped cold stares coming from people sitting mostly at the back. These people were very happy with just the way things are thank you very much.
This post is for them.
So you’re thinking about taking on a tough challenge.
By tough I mean one that you know you should do, or it would be great to have done, but you haven’t been able to get yourself over the line and actually commit to whatever it is. It could be something big like writing a book, starting a business, learning to do a back flip, or launching a land war in Asia. Or something small, like cleaning the garage. Whatever it is, if you could wave a magic wand you’d want it done, but when you think of the work required and the risks involved, then your motivation wilts. Your enthusiasm is on life support. There is a pulse, but it’s feeble.
You know you’d be better off doing it. Why is it so hard to get started?
All choices are evil. The most evil choices are those that require denying short term gratification, and unfortunately they are everywhere. Put down the garlic and crucifixes and battle those zombies by changing your environment.
In my blog 'Choice is evil - deliver yourself from temptation' I raised the idea that decision making is hard and painful– and that has a number of consequences. In your personal life it means that you can increase performance by changing your environment. In the same way companies can improve performance by changing their systems and culture. Just like Super Nanny.