Are you at Cause or Effect? One of the most common issues faced by people in their lives and leadership is: life happening. John Lennon's famously said
"Life happens whilst you're making other plans."
Some of you are going to like this, others won't like this one little bit. Essentially, you have a choice. A very simple choice. You can choose to create their future, or you can accept the one that you get. Moving from effect to cause "But..." I hear you about to interrupt... there are no 'buts'. Sorry about that. Yes, it is true that other people, the world, the circumstances around them may well prevent them from achieving their goal. So what are you going to do about it? Can you cause the world do something different? There are many things that you cannot change... the weather for example. So the answer is…. overcome the problem. Can you make another person do whatever is necessary? Neither you nor anyone else can directly cause them to do something, though you can influence them. "But..." I continue to hear... There are no buts. You choose to act to overcome the obstacle. In any given situation, we start with a choice. We can act to make something happen, or, we react to the external situation. Both appear to start the same way. Yet, they start a cycle that is either virtuous or destructive in the long term. Most people who are motivated towards achievement are likely to be in the creative cycle. Those of you who are more motivated away-from things that you do not want, will be in the survival cycle. When you are at effect, you react to something external to you (or something that you believe is outside your control). Your primary purpose is to protect yourself (or your people). Your personal values and beliefs will determine what you see as obstacles, both conscious and unconscious and these influence your choice to address or avoid the obstacles. In the survival cycle, you will try to avoid the obstacles in your path to reacting to the external 'threat'. And, as you try to avoid them, you will adapt or assimilate your reaction to do so. As a result of obstacle avoidance, your result is likely to be less than optimal. Most often the result achieved is not really the desired result. This leads to disappointment and your survival vision... "I have to"..."I must..." in order to survive. On the other side, you can choose to take action. The desired end result could be considered to be exactly the same thing, and the external environmental pressures could also be exactly the same as for the person who 'reacts'. It's a mindset choice that makes the greatest difference here. In the creative cycle, your purpose is to discover potential and possibilities. You take action and come across the self-same obstacles. But instead of trying to avoid the obstacles, you address them. Experimenting and testing to find the best way to overcome the obstacles. When you find the optimal way to address the obstacle, you gain your desired result and CELEBRATE!. You have a creative vision... "I like to..."..."I want to..." Survival cycle strategies that we employ (and we all employ them at some point) are often developed early in life and were originally a creative response to a situation. It worked then and achieved the desired results then. Later in life, we continue to use the same response yet circumstances have changed. A common example of taking an early life response and applying it in later life that I come across frequently is when a child's parents use punishment as their primary means of maintaining discipline at home and as their primary means of getting the child to do certain tasks or chores. This often means that you may be choosing to be at cause, and using the creative cycle, yet those obstacles, well they turn out to be insurmountable... so you avoid them instead, adapting and assimilating, true, not getting the optimal result but, life really does happen whilst you are making other plans. Do you want to be at cause for your life,