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Ideas to Read and Pass Along

Kevin & Jackie Freiberg

Focus on What You Value

Are you running toward a YES or away from a NO?
Most of us get a bigger kick out of doing MORE of what works than doing LESS of what doesn’t work. Kevin was a competitive water-ski jumper for 30 years of his life. Prior to a competition he would visualize his longest jumps and ask himself: what worked? Kevin thought: What were the water conditions? What was it about my body position and timing that enabled me to achieve a personal best? What state of mind was I in? Kevin was engaged in visualizing what he wanted to happen (running toward a YES) versus what he didn’t want to happen (running away from a NO), but it was realistic visualization. It had a confidence-building effect because it was based on something that he had already done. What he didn’t do was visualize the crashes that had previously knocked him out and ask: That didn’t feel good, how do I keep that from happening again?

We speak to audiences all over the globe. To be honest, we have more chemistry with some than with others. To prepare for a new program we both think about running toward the YES—our best events—and ask a similar set of questions. What helped me really get to know the client? How did I dial into their expectations? How did I interact with the audience? Then, we focus on re-creating and improving upon that.

Spend a lot of time and energy focused on the bigger YES and you will get closer to it. Become preoccupied with the NO and you will get closer to it as well. The key here is that you will get closer to the very thing that commands your attention. For example, if we ask you not to focus on a red fire engine then it’s too late, you already see it. The more we tell you not to think about it, the more attention you will give to it and the clearer the image will be in your mind. If, however, we said, think about a 747 Jumbo Jet, it would be easier not to think about the fire engine.

Right now we are in the middle of orchestrating a 20-city book tour. There are a multitude of details and a lot that could go wrong. On a bad day when we aren’t thinking straight, it’s easy to focus on all the balls that could get dropped. When we do, it becomes overwhelming. Creativity goes into a downward spiral and energy gets depleted. When this happens our strategy is contaminated. It’s all about avoiding the pitfalls (running away from a NO) versus the positive impact we want to have on people in organizations and what this tour will do to get the word out (running toward a YES).

So when it comes to business, how do you operate? Is your approach primarily to worry about and run away from the NOs or are you running toward the YES? Do you more often feel wiped out or energized? Are you getting closer to the things you want or closer to the things you don’t want?

Move from fear to appreciation by asking these powerful questions.