I read a Raptitude posting by David D. Cain recently which really resonated with me: Wise People Have Rules For Themselves. In it, he talks about our self-imposed rules for better living.
One of the first examples he gave was, that “Financially effective people tend to hold themselves to certain rules about money.” and it immediately brought our current work on financial literacy to mind, however he continued with other examples about “Fit, energetic people,” and “Productive people” and arrived at these nuggets (my bolding):
“These uncommonly capable people have figured out something that should be obvious: your quality of life improves when you set clear standards for how you live. You gravitate back towards ‘so-so’ in any area where your standards are unclear. It works—both ways—like magic.”
“Self-imposed rules aren’t constraints, they’re good decisions made in batches—they’re behavioral boundary markers you get to position yourself, through your own experience and wisdom. A good personal standard clarifies and simplifies, eliminating what would be countless painful decision points. You’re free from having to stop and negotiate with yourself for the hundredth time on the same issues.”
All which got me thinking: What are the self-imposed rules I have with Managing with Aloha?
It was a meandering question to answer in regard to the philosophy itself; our coaching has some consistent themes to it, as with our value-alignment insistence, and unrelenting reminders about conversation and the Daily Five Minutes, however, coaching is encouragement for individual ownership; it’s not really an imposition of rule-setting.
To be sure, our ethos is about making wise choices for yourself, not following rules someone else has imposed on you, however well-meaning they might be in doing so.
Reflecting on values brought me full circle, back to individual ownership —Kuleana, and to the individual approach with seeking one’s best life —‘Imi ola, and to this, as connects to our ethos with self-managed/self-led choice-making:
Self-imposed rules give you consistency with already-made choices.
Then the question was easy for me to answer.
While we dabble in the stuff of productivity here, I don’t recall that I’ve talked story with you about my favorite productivity habit. To be sure, it is the queen of all the self-improved rules I have on a personal basis: Debriefing.
Debrief to Recharge your Aloha Spirit
My habit with debriefing started with setting appointments: As an operations manager of some sort in most of my career, my daily calendar got filled pretty quickly with interviews, assorted vendor/supplier and network/peer-group appointments, and one-on-one coaching meetings with my direct reports — and with my own bosses.
I soon realized that I could not schedule them back-to-back: Even if I took copious notes or recorded the appointments (which most people are understandably uncomfortable with, ceasing to speak freely), my follow-up with whatever we had talked about was far less effective than it could, or should have been—it was clearly unwise to move on to the next thing too quickly..
On the other hand, I was much, much better following up, when I took the time to debrief myself —to just sit quietly and reflect, jotting down notes that would answer;
“Okay, what just happened?”
“What have I just learned, or better understand?”
“How did he/she feel when we ended our conversation?”
“What questions do I still have, that I now realize I failed to ask?”
…and always—“What must I do about all of this?”
Suggested Reading in the Archives:
Lost in Internal Monologues
How can you be sure to hear the other person, and listen to yourself too?
Since then, my self-imposed rule has been to debrief everything which happens to me —and I mean everything. Appointments. Huddles and Meetings. Events. Workshops. Conversations. Arguments! The Daily 5 Minutes. At the end of each 2-month cycle of our value immersion practice. My handwritten debriefings—handwriting my thoughts seems to stick with me better—take up the bulk of the moleskine journal I always carry with me, and I sometimes save a snap of my debrief-in-progress in Evernote privately, or on my Instagram;
My debriefings are the precursor to most of the agreements I make, because I know I have taken the time to know issues well, sleeping on them if I have to.
This self-imposed rule has worked so well for me, that I now incorporate Debrief Coaching as a feature of nearly everything I do with customers and clients via Say Leadership Coaching:
“Everything I do comes with some kind of debrief coaching for the managers involved: I encourage them to follow-up immediately and with confidence, giving them suggestions based on my past experience in team dynamics and organizational culture”
—More in the left column of this page, if you are interested.
What about you?
What are the self-imposed rules you live your best life by?
Reading which might trigger more thinking on this for you, in the Archives:
- 12 Rules for Self-Management and 12 Rules for Self-Leadership:
Better Person, Better Manager, Better Leader. Alaka‘i Batch 24.
- You are Your Habits, so Make ‘em Good!
- If your workplace isn’t on board with a value of the month program, create one for yourself. Be Alaka‘i, and lead by merit of your own good example: Value Your Month for One — You.
- This Worthshop event debriefing turned into a blog post:
In “Being Human” we Relate with Aloha
- To Manage with Aloha is to Hack Behavior.
And do check out that Raptitude posting by David D. Cain: Wise People Have Rules For Themselves.
Sunday Mālama has been when I will share my off-the-workplace-highway scenic route kind of posts. Not as a normal weekly feature, but whenever they seem to be writing themselves. As the embedded links and archive suggestions above attest to, Sunday Mālama can also beg leisurely reading time, romping through a few of our older lessons-learned. These posts can also seem a bit unfinished, inviting you to finish them up for yourselves as you will.
You can access the Sunday Mālama archives via this category link, also residing with my site footnotes.
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Preview the updates in Managing with Aloha, Second Edition, just released Summer, 2016
Managing with Aloha, Bringing Hawai‘i’s Universal Values to the Art of Business