Wednesday, February 27, 2013

My Take: Chapter 3 - The Law of the Mirror

245/365 John C. Maxwell book collection
245/365 John C. Maxwell book collection (Photo credit: CR Artist)
As I mentioned in 2 previous posts, I am reading and rereading John C. Maxwell's 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth.  I have summarized chapter 1 and 2, and the title of Chapter 3 is "The Law of the Mirror".  He says, "you must see value in yourself to add value to yourself".   There are some very valuable points in this chapter, and having 2 preteen boys I realized a few things about myself that is probably contributing to their view of themselves as well.  The same thing applies if we are managing a team or organization... we must see value in organization if we are to add value to the organization we are part of. 

His first point is that we shouldn't be too concerned with what others think about us, we should be much more concerned about what we think about ourselves.  If we have a running negative dialog with ourselves, (and all of us have a running dialog with ourselves, positive or negative), then we are creating a negative self-image of ourselves.  And where do many of us get a negative self-dialog?  Well, as a parent I probably say "no" to my sons many more times than I say "yes".  Maxwell talks about the average 17 year old and that they have heard about 30 "nos" to every 1 "yes".   This was a sobering and mind-changing point for me as I thought about my sons and my expectation that they have a positive outlook on life...

So, the first point is guard our self-talk.

The second point is stop comparing ourselves to others.   Compare ourselves to ourselves and simply strive to become better today that we were yesterday.  I think watching others for things we can do differently/better is valuable, but if we start comparing that is either defeating (because they are better than us) or creates self-pride if they are not as good.  Neither of these are positive.

The third point is move beyond our limiting beliefs.  I like the 4 step process that Maxwell lays out that could help us overcome the limitations we put on ourselves:
1. Identify a limiting belief that we want to change.
2. Determine how the belief limits us.
3. Decide how you want be, act or feel.
4. Create a turnaround statement that affirms or gives you permission to be, act or feel this new way.
In the end, it is not what we are that holds us back, it is what we think we are not.

The fourth point is add value to others. Add value to ourselves by adding value to others.

The fifth point is do the right thing, even if it is the hard thing.  Being true to ourselves and our values is a tremendous self-esteem builder. 

The sixth point is practice a small discipline daily in a specific area of our life.  Discipline is a moral booster.  I do wonder if this is one reason our children today (at least for the upper middle class and above in the US) are not as positive about themselves.  There is not as much "required" discipline in our lives because we have life pretty good (e.g., not many daily commitments are needed to go through life in a comfortable way). 

The seventh point is to celebrate small victories.

The eighth point is embrace a positive vision for our life based on what we value.   He recommends we tap into what we value and see what inspires us to take positive action.  Taking positive action helps to take more positive actions building on itself.

The ninth point is to practice the "one-word" strategy.  Pick a word that best describes us.  When we pick that word it focuses our attention and intention and helps us expand even more in that focus.   Obviously, if the word is negative for us (and we want to be more positive), then we have to change our word! I decided my word is "positive" - I maintain a positive attitude even if the situation is not good (not sure my wife would agree in all cases :-))

And the tenth and final point is take responsibility for our life.  We all have potential and we all have value.  If we just keep moving forward and keep believing, we can learn and grow. 

This was a really valuable chapter for me. I recommend reading the book to get the detail. 

Have an outstanding day!


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