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Executive Podcast #212: Stop Wishing Things Were Easier

November 3, 2022
Executive Podcast #212: Stop Wishing Things Were Easier

When things get difficult and challenging, do find yourself wishing things were easier? According to author and speaker, Jim Rohn. “Don’t wish things were easier, wish you were better.” How can you turn tough times into growth times?

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Perry Holley:

Welcome to the Maxwell Leadership Executive Podcast, where our goal is to help you increase your reputation as a leader, increase your ability to influence others, and increase your ability to fully engage your team to deliver remarkable results. Hi, I’m Perry Holley, a Maxwell Leadership facilitator and coach.

Chris Goede:

And I’m Chris Goede, Executive Vice President with Maxwell Leadership. Welcome, and thank you for joining. Just as a reminder, we would love for you to download the Learner’s Guide. Perry not only helps create this content, but also develops a learner guide for you to be able to follow along.

Perry Holley:

A full service provider.

Chris Goede:

[inaudible 00:00:41] full service provider. And we’re going to talk a little bit about that actually in today’s session and what that has caused, a little bit of angst in it. But we’re grateful that you would take the time to listen. Our goal is to simply bring to you what we’re hearing in the field, and real challenges that are happening with teams and with organizations. But if you’ll go to maxwellLeadership.com/podcast, there you can download the form, you can submit a question, you can submit a topic that you’d love for us to talk about. Or maybe even just you’re interested in bringing one of our team members to your team to help you with some of the things that we talk about here on this podcast. We would love to be able to do that.

Well, today’s topic is, stop wishing things were easier. And I have to tell you, the first thing I thought about was, you remember back in the day, there was that easy button? I think, you may even have it, or one of our team, maybe Tammy has it, and it’s where it’s like you hit that button and everything’s going to get easier. That’s not necessarily the case, but talk to us a little bit about just where this is coming from. As I mentioned, this is real time stuff. [inaudible 00:01:47] being raw, authentic, what we’re hearing in the field, what we’re dealing with as leaders. And so, hopefully this will be helpful to you [inaudible 00:01:52]

Perry Holley:

[inaudible 00:01:52] walked in the studio and Jake said, “Hey, what have you been learning lately?” I said, “Stay tuned for episode one.”

Chris Goede:

That’s right.

Perry Holley:

So the last six months have been incredibly hard, lots of requirements, lots of requests, grateful to be in demand, but lots of custom work. And I found myself overworked, stressed, anxious, having a bad attitude. Really, why can’t things be easier? And then I recalled, I’m a big Jim Roan fan. Listen to all Jim Roan stuff. Read all Jim Roan stuff. If you haven’t, you should. But Jim Roan had a quote he always said was, “Stop wishing things were easier, wish you were better.”

And man, did that hit me hard. I said, “Come on, Perry, what’s going on? This is a chance to raise your game.” We’ll talk through some of the things I think I’ve dealt with there. But I started sharing this over the last month or so with some of my coaching clients and people, I can see them on Zoom and take a note and say, “Man, that’s really good.” Because, we tend to want things, why can’t it just be a little easier? Hey, why can’t you be a little better? And I thought, I’m missing the opportunity. And it completely changed my attitude.

Chris Goede:

I usually go through and the content that you provide, I go, “Man, he’s talking to me. This is an intervention for Chris.” But I feel like this is an intervention for you. And so, I’m excited to flip the tables on you right here. So I’m going to go off the script and I got some questions for you. I remember you coming to me, this was a little while ago when you kind of first realized it and read that quote. And I think that it got me in a place to where… I think its human nature, we naturally sometimes go that way. The path of least resistance. It makes me think about a couple of things, which is, I remember a story that Truett Cathy talked about around them growing the Chick-fil-A business, which you’re very familiar with.

And where he said, “No, no, no, no, no, no, we’re not just going to grow, to grow. That’s the easiest way. We’re going to grow when our customers demand that we grow. And the only way that’s going to happen is when we get better and then that the demand’s going to be there.” And I was like, in essence, [inaudible 00:03:59] that’s really what’s going on here. But from a personal growth standpoint and a development standpoint, and there are times as leaders, there are times as individual contributors that things are hard and things are uphill.

John says all the time, “Everything worthwhile, is uphill.” The problem is that we have downhill habits or downhill expectations of we’re going to wake up and we’re just going to kind of get through the day. And what we don’t realize is that, then the hard creates anxiety, creates stress, and so what do we do then that kind of is portrayed upon our team members. And so, let’s stop right here and say you were portraying that onto me, because I could feel the anxiety. I know it was hard. There was a lot, and you had all these different… I remember going, I know Perry joined our team years ago, and I’m not saying he was retiring, because it’s a different season, [inaudible 00:04:53] rewiring, different season of his career. But I don’t know if he thought he was going to be this busy.

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Perry Holley:

That’s what my wife said, “I thought you were backing down. You are going harder than you’ve ever gone.”

Chris Goede:

But I love it. You realized it. And then we began to have conversations. And it is an invitation, as Jim Roan said, it’s an invitation for us to up our game when it comes to whatever it might be, logistics, leadership, connecting with people, whatever is the hard for you right now, there’s no doubt about it, that there’s an opportunity for us to raise our game. And we’re in the growth business, personal growth business. And so, this aligns exactly with what we believe in.

Perry Holley:

Marcus Aurelius has said that, “The obstacle is the way.” And that reminds me that every great thing you’ve ever done, if you look back on your life, “Man, I had a great accomplishment.” I guarantee you it was on the backside of something hard, something that was in the way, some obstacle. And once you get through it, you fight through it, you have greatness, you succeed, you grow in that area. And so, I’m not sure who needs to hear this, but we can all raise our game. There’s always a next level. And I guess one of the first big learnings I had was complacency.

We talk a lot about that success breeds complacency. And that we’ve had some really successful times over the last, I don’t know, 24 months. We’ve been doing good work. We’ve got new clients. We’re doing new coaching, new deliveries, new video series, new YouTube channels. We’re doing a lot. And I love it. You’re right, I could do it 24 hours a day and currently I am. But the complacency breeds a little bit of a, “Oh, I don’t know. That’s getting hard.” And I’m so glad the wake up call came, because it really helped me to reassess where I am and what I’m doing. And there really is an obstacle. And that’s the way, and that I can grow through this and be better for it.

Chris Goede:

And I think too, also looking through my career, and I think a lot of you listeners would agree with this, when you think back to some of the hardest times of development, of quotas, of whatever it might be, when you get on the other side of that, if I approached it, you get on the other side and you go, “Man, I learned a lot through that. And this is what I learned and this is now how I’ve changed and this is how we’ve adapted.” It also makes me think about our CEO, Mark Cole, when we go through some tough times as an enterprise. His wife, who’s a fantastic leader herself and a great communicator, she says to him, when things get a little tough, she goes, “You were made for hard.” Get in. Go. Let’s go. Dig in. You were made for hard. And I think all of us are made for hard. I think to your point, sometimes we just want to be complacent through it and just kind of say, “Oh, I’ll take the easy road out of that.”

Perry Holley:

Well, I had a couple things, four or five things I’ve learned here. You want to take a shot of that?

Chris Goede:

Let’s dive into it.

Perry Holley:

[inaudible 00:07:45] the first one. The first one I noticed was my mindset. We talk about mindset a bit, but how do you think mindset plays into stop wishing things were easier?

Chris Goede:

Yeah, I think it goes back to that the growth versus a fixed mindset or the infinite versus the finite game that we’re playing. And it’s an infinite game, by the way. It’s not, we’re going to tackle what’s hard and then it’s over. There’s no finish line when it comes to really leading people, helping them grow, going from success to significance. There’s no finish line in that.

Perry Holley:

I just saw a proverb from some culture. They said that, “Behind those mountains are more mountains.”

Chris Goede:

Yeah, that’s exactly right. I love it. And so, I think that have this kind of fixed mindset where they just feel like, this is how God made me. This is how I was made. I can’t grow. I’m not getting any better. And they just kind of sit in that. And you all are right now thinking of somebody maybe on your team, maybe inside your circle of influence that have that. And they just don’t think they can improve their abilities over time. Versus a growth mindset, which is what we firmly believe in. We believe in more growth than we do goal mindset. You got to have goals and you got to drive yourself to some of those and your teams. But really what’s above that is the growth mindset where you believe you have these basic abilities, but it’s on you to develop them in order to get to a place to where you can get through the hard work, where you can do the hard. And the only way to do that is to buckle up and say, “Man, I’m going to grow through this one way or another.”

Perry Holley:

I’ll tell you funny thing was I consider myself quite the growth mindseted guy.

Chris Goede:

You are.

Perry Holley:

Wouldn’t you say?

Chris Goede:

You are [inaudible 00:09:30].

Perry Holley:

I’m like the [inaudible 00:09:31] poster child for growth mindset.

Chris Goede:

Before we turned the mics on today, we were talking about audible books and everything. I was like, “I can’t keep up with you.” [inaudible 00:09:39]

Perry Holley:

[inaudible 00:09:40] However, I was exhibiting some serious fixed mindset characteristics. And I started noticing, I don’t know that anyone that I know or Jake knows that would admit to being a fixed mindset person. When you read it as descriptions, you say, “No, I’m a growth mindset.” However, I just want listeners to hear this, that you can fall into a fixed mind with that complacency, and you’re uncomfortable. And I just want it easier. I fell into a fixed mindset. I can’t do this. And I had the attitude started to arrive and some things like that, and some putting… Anxiety and some stress. And I just… No, I don’t wish it was easier, wish I was better. And then just kind of flip that switch and say, “Let’s go back to growth.” And I had slipped into a fix. So it was a little bit of an odd thing, because I think I’m pretty growth-minded, but no, I was exhibiting fixed for sure.

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Chris Goede:

Haven’t we done a podcast on bitter versus better? Similar thing here where we get into that and we don’t have the right mindset, and we go into this, we think we have a growth, but it’s probably more fixed. And all of a sudden we find ourselves becoming bitter versus becoming better through that process. And so, I just came to mind as we were talking. Well, the second lesson that you have in our notes here, when we talk about stop wishing things were easier, wish you were better, is to really talk about once you become aware of the mindset, the growth mindset, how teachable are you in this space? And I think that from a leader’s perspective, this is an attribute that to me would be in the top five, top eight attributes to have as are you being teachable? And it really shows up when things get hard.

Perry Holley:

I always ask people, “Can you tell when someone’s teachable? What are the characteristics of teachable people?” And in this situation where I found myself in a tough place, and so many of the people I’m coaching, it’s just hard right now. There’s lots of challenges going on. World economics and financial challenges and recessionary challenges, and then this business challenges.

Chris Goede:

Quiet quitting.

Perry Holley:

[inaudible 00:12:35], it ever ends. But to think, am I teachable? What am I learning? What could I do? Do I have a mindset that I know it all and I’ve got it. I’ve arrived? Or do I say, “No, there’s always something new.” It may involve taking a chance and failing. “And what did I learn from that?” For me, this was a teachable moment of saying, “Why am I so easy to want to make it easier for me?” No. How can I raise my game? And so, what is it I need to learn in this? So teachable was a big deal for me. I’ll tell you next one. I’d love your thought about this, I started noticing that, and I wouldn’t have said this either, the comfort zone and I have a comfort zone. And I realize we all have a comfort zone. We all understand if anybody you talk to talks about, “Yeah, maybe get out of my comfort zone.” But that’s uncomfortable. Guess that’s why they call it a comfort zone.

Chris Goede:

That’s right. That’s where we all like to sit at times. And I think it’s a problem that a lot of us face. But I want to say this too. One of the things I loved about this whole process, and I’m glad we’re sharing this with our listeners, is that not only did you kind of realize it, but then you had a conversation with me about it, so that we could dialogue around so that you could say, “Hey, I do want to be teachable. Hey, I do want to get out of my comfort zone in the right way. I feel like I’m out of my comfort zone right now. It’s the wrong way.” In essence. [inaudible 00:13:59]

Perry Holley:

[inaudible 00:13:59] a good insight right there.

Chris Goede:

[inaudible 00:14:00] is what you were saying. And so, I want to have a different mindset and get out of my comfort zone in a positive way. And in order to do that, you got to have a self awareness, which is what happened. You realized it. You became aware of… I noticed it just working directly with you. I could feel it and I could notice it, but it wasn’t probably as drastic as it is in your head. And so, you had that self awareness to recognize this challenge that you’re kind of dealing with. And that in order for me to really get through this and lead it in the right way, I’ve got to get out of my comfort zone. I got to enlarge… I like you put this in my notes here, enlarge your comfort zone, which is really not your comfort zone. But to do that during hard times, you got to know your comfort zone is going to be stretched. And it’s okay that it is, because you’re going to learn from it.

Perry Holley:

There’s this great graphic, I use it many times over the years in charts, and I haven’t seen it in a while, but it says a circle, your comfort zone, and then it has out here where great things happen. [inaudible 00:15:04] close to your comfort zone. I thought, Yeah. But you know what caused me to come and talk to you was the next one, the learning was about my attitude. What the indicator was, is that I also would consider myself a pretty positive guy. And here I was complaining, whining, anxiety, feeling stress. I don’t normally feel stressed, because I’m in my strength zone, I’m doing the things I should be doing.

But now I’m complaining. And I think I was with you, I said, “I don’t know. I can’t keep up. I hate it [inaudible 00:15:39] these hours.” I go, “Who are you?” I went back to you to tell you, but to say I was negative about my work, about customizations for clients and they like me so much, they said, “Hey, you did this. Could you do that?” And I go, “Well, yes I can.” And then I go back to my workspace and I go, “What did I just commit to?” And “Okay, I just committed to getting out of my comfort zone and expanding in my comfort zone and stop wishing it was easier, wish I was better.” So how all these things started coming true, but attitude really kicked in.

Chris Goede:

And John, obviously from an attitude standpoint, I remember reading again, I’ve been with John A long time and I think one of the first books I’ve read when I joined him 20 plus years ago was Attitude 101 or Attitude is the Difference Maker or something like that. A red cover. I’ll never forget it. And he says, it literally is the difference maker. Your attitude and your approach. And what’s interesting, and the comment I want to make right here is that, these things are going to happen not just in areas you’re not gifted at. This is Perry’s sweet spot. He is a content writer, he is a communicator, he is a coach. And in those three areas, it just became a little bit much. And this is where he got into that spiral of beginning to go through the process and say, “Where is this coming from?”

And then self evaluated it, which again, back to self awareness, it’s such a large part of our success in our personal life, but also our professional life. And until we become aware and until we’re comfortable asking ourselves the tough questions, and then even the next step, which is you came to me and said, “Hey, this is what I’m feeling. This is where I’m at. This is what I’m learning. We need to talk about this. I need you to hold me accountable to it.” That’s just, again, another step in becoming successful, because you’re evaluating your mindset. You’re willing to be teachable. You’re having a good attitude post once you realized it, post your life. And then we can talk about it. And here now we’re sharing it in a lesson with our listeners all around the world on our podcast. And hopefully it’ll add value to them as well.

Perry Holley:

Well, I’ll just tell you, I’ll let you wrap it up. But the outcome is that it’s still hard right now. I mean, I’m still in a heavy place, but I actually told… I said, “This is fun, this is enjoyable. My energy is back.” And I realize even though it’s hard, I got something coming up in two weeks. I don’t have anything, I’m studying right now to figure out what’s going to be my message. My whole energy level has gone up with that, and this applies to your whole life, by the way. Don’t wish your marriage was easier, wish you were better. Don’t wish parenting was easier, wish you were better.

Chris Goede:

That’s so good.

Perry Holley:

And I just find it almost everywhere that I feel challenged. I say, “It’s calling me to a higher level.”

Chris Goede:

So thank you for your authenticity and transparency as you went through this and to be able to share it with our listeners. I think as I wrap up, there’s two things that come to my mind about this is that, don’t forget that some of the greatest growth areas in your life are things that are hard on the front end. And what’s the statement? How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. And the mindset that sometimes I have to have is when I know things are hard, I’m an analyzer by trade, so I like to process things. And by the way, the negative side of that, is I will get to a place to where I procrastinate on things, because I can’t see how it’s going to be perfect at the end of things. So I just kind of back off and I don’t necessarily start things.

Where I have to tell myself, “Hey, this is not going to be fun. This is hard. I’m going to learn, but I’m going to learn step by step. I don’t have to eat the elephant all at one time. Take one step. What did I learn? Great.” And then what I find, is once I do that, I get a little momentum in the hard things, and then I’m good at working through that. The second thing is, what I learned from this was it made me back up and look at Perry’s workload and say, “These are the things that Perry does really, really, really well, and that it’s his sweet spot and he’s fulfilled in it. Not only personally, but our clients are benefiting from it. How do we reallocate his time?” And you and I briefly shared some, Hey, these are some percentages maybe we need to look at changing a lot of it.

And that’s growth. Understand, when we say growth is going to happen, it may not just be in you personally, It may come from how you look at your role. It may be how does the organization perceive you or what is the team’s responsibility? There’re all kinds of changes, which by the way is growth, that can happen when you become aware of this is really what’s going on, on the inside, and we need to talk about how do we go and get to a mindset where we quit wishing that things are easier.

Perry Holley:

Good deal. Well, thank you Chris, and thank you all. Just a reminder, if you’d like to get the learner guide for this episode, leave a comment or a question for us. You can do all that at maxwellleadership.com/podcast. We love hearing from you and we’re very grateful you’d spend this time with us. That’s all today from the Maxwell Leadership Executive Podcast.

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