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  • How to Take the Pressure Off

    Guest Post By: Dustin Hillis

    We live in a world of unmet expectations. We are consumed with struggling through the daily grind to be successful, or stripping away stresses to find our inner-self and calmness, or indulging in everything life has to offer to just be happy. We feel “less than”, pressure, and frustrated when we don’t achieve what we are longing for. We make an idol of success, tranquility or happiness.

    Tim Keller said it best in his book Counterfeit Gods, “When an idol gets a grip on your heart, it spins out a whole set of false definitions of success and failure and happiness and sadness. It redefines reality in terms of itself.”

    It’s mind-boggling how some of the most successful people I know are so full of insecurity and self-doubt. The outside world thinks these people are the most successful people who have it all together, and the reality is they are freaking out on the inside and putting too much pressure on themselves. I remember feelings of extreme pressure that I would put on myself, and thoughts of being less than no matter what I accomplished or achieved.

    I’m sure you’re asking yourself right now, “this sounds good, but how in the world am I supposed to do this?”

    Here are 3 Ideas on how do we take the pressure off:

    1. Take a reality check. Ask yourself these two question:

    ♦  During your idle time, where is your head at? What do you literally think about when you are left by yourself?

    ♦  If you were 100% honest with yourself, where are you at emotionally?

    2. Find the root of the problem. Typically, there are three main root issues that cause us to put too much pressure on ourselves.

    ♦ “Comparison is the thief of all joy” – Any time we compare ourselves to anyone else, it creates pressure. There will always be someone else who is better, faster, better looking, stronger and smarter. We are all inadequate to everyone at something.

    ♦ Not having fun. – Your attitude is a choice. Your energy level is a choice. Choosing to have fun and be joyful in every single thing you do every single day is a choice.   Most people live in a reactionary state. They just let things happen to them and just think “woe is me”, or they take themselves so seriously they leave no room to simply have fun.

    ♦ Feeling like a failure. – Feeling like a failure is the granddaddy of all root issues when it comes to putting too much pressure on ourselves. Failure is part of life. No one is perfect. Anyone who expects to be perfect at anything will be guaranteed to feel like a failure because it’s impossible to be perfect at anything over a long period of time. At some point, we will all break. Often, it takes us reaching our breaking point to be able to accept our brokenness and dig down to the root of our problems.

    3.  Focus on Unconditional Confidence.

    In Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, the highest level is “self-actualization” which focuses on morality, creativity, spontaneity, problem solving, lack of prejudice and acceptance of facts.

    aa_maslow

    The difference between Maslow’s “self-actualization” and Unconditional Confidence is that Unconditional Confidence cannot be found inside yourself. Unconditional Confidence is not a goal or something you achieve. Unconditional Confidence comes from an understanding that you were created for a higher calling. You were created to die to your selfishness, and your highest achievement in life is to love, serve and care for other people. Another great book by Tim Keller – Every Good Endeavor – does an excellent job at describing in detail how to have Unconditional Confidence.

    There are three types of confidences and our goal is to strive to be Unconditionally Confident.

    1. False Confidence – Faking it until you make it has its place and time. However, we need to quickly get ourselves out of a false confidence state once we embark on trying something new. False Confidence is saying you’re going to do something or thinking you are good at something with no real evidence to back it up. There are plenty of people out there who say “I could have done that if I really wanted to” or “I’m going to be number one.” Etc.

    2. Conditional Confidence – Conditional Confidence comes into play after we’ve set the stage with our False Confidence. We’ve set an expectation for ourselves that we are supposed to be a certain way or accomplish certain things, and then when the results are less than what we hoped for, we feel defeated and less than. Conditional Confidence is contingent on results. If we win, we feel good. If we lose, we feel pressure. Conditional Confidence is equivalent to the 4th level of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs – “Esteem: self esteem, confidence, achievement, respect for others, respect by others”. Most of us get stuck with Conditional Confidence our whole life.

    3. Unconditional Confidence – People who are Unconditionally Confident have figured out their purpose in life and what they are called to do. Once we have figured that out, we then get to work every day knowing we are making a difference in the world through our work habits, not our results.

    If taking the pressure off is something that you need to focus on, print off this quote and read it aloud every day for the next year:

    “I do not expect success all the time, but due to the belief in my gifts and God-given abilities in addition to my knowledge and acquired skills, I can be fearless in the moment. In reality, self-worth has nothing to do with the outcome. So when the pressure comes, I cannot hesitate. Knowing sometimes I will do well and sometimes I won’t, regardless, I know failure is temporary and success will happen with perseverance.”

     

    Dustin Hillis is the Co-founder of Southwestern Consulting. He is an expert in understanding buying, selling and management behavior styles and how to identify them and adapt to people the way they want to be communicated with. He also specializes in writing efficient and effective Customized Sales Scripts/Word Tracks. Mr Hillis consults companies on creating Compensation Plans, Recruiting Systems and Sales Strategies. Dustin is the author of the book Navigate: The Art of Not Thinking and co-author of Speaking of Success along with Stephen Covey, Ken Blanchard and Jack Canfield


  • Being Present In the Moment

    Guest Post By: Dustin Hillis

    Recently a man was taking a picture with his smart phone and backed off the ledge of a cliff and died. Being present in the moment can be the difference between life and death. Being present in the moment can be the difference between staying married or getting a divorce. Being present in the moment can be the difference between your child growing up feeling loved or alone. Being present in the moment can be the difference between winning someone’s business or losing the deal.

    The greatest gift you can give someone is your attention.

    When was the last time when you were in a room and everyone was engrossed in their cell phones and not paying attention to their surroundings? Can you recall the last conversation when the person you were talking with was looking over your shoulder and not making eye contact with you and you could tell they were listening to less than half of the things you were saying? When was the last time you were barely engaged in a conversation? Of even worse, you only focused on looking good by trying to impress the other person by talking about yourself, and not caring to ask the other person questions about themselves, resulting in a balanced conversation. People who are more focused on being interesting versus being interested will always have a difficult time fostering authentic relationships.

    3 Levels of Not Paying Attention

    Level 1. Attention Deficit

    There are a large number of people in this world who are naturally wired to be on the go and cannot sit still long enough to ask questions and listen. While this might be a gift or a curse that God has given you, it’s still not an excuse not to be present in the moment. Some individuals with extreme cases end up taking medication for ADD. After being diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), I was prescribed medication which caused me to experience hyperfocus. It also caused me to also experience negative side effects that caused me to stop taking the drugs. I found that after years of practice I could control my ADD and hyperfocus when I put myself in the right environment with no medication.

    Level 2. Addicted to Technology

    Smart phones are making us stupid. The world is addicted to their phones. A large number of people are spending a majority of their time on their smart phones. Between Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, blogs and email, everyone is living a virtual reality versus living in real time. The most interesting man in the world (in my favorite Dos Equis beer commercial) says “I live vicariously through myself.” Life is beautiful. All we need to do is put down the technology and pay attention and see the real time Instagram-worthy things all around us.

    Level 3. Consumed with Oneself

    When someone is so consumed with himself or herself that they don’t care about other people, they enter another level of not being present in the moment. Think of the last time you went to a dinner or had a meeting with someone and at the end of the time together you knew everything about them and they knew nothing about you? Do you have friends who don’t really know anything about you? Are they really your friend? If someone is so consumed with how awesome they are, it will be difficult for them to be present in the moment and have a genuine conversation with you.

    Now that we’ve identified the 3 levels of not paying attention, let’s discuss how to be present in the moment.

    The first step in being present in the moment is to slow down and take a deep breath. Life is not a sprint, it’s a marathon. Who always wins in Aesop’s Fable The Tortoise and the Hare? The tortoise wins every time! Pay attention to your breathing. By simply taking a few deep breaths, you will slow your heart rate down and you’ll be able to be more present. Just by simply slowing down, you will start noticing things that are beautiful all around you that you may have never noticed before. I love how my 4-year-old daughter, Haven, always notices any flowers and makes us stop and look at them and smell them. It’s one of my favorite things to do.

    After you’ve learned how to slow down, start working on being grateful. Every day either when you wake up or when you’re going to bed take out a piece of paper or a journal and write down 10 things that you are grateful for in your life that day. Throughout the day, pray or affirm your gratitude for all of the little things in life. When good things happen to you, don’t get over excited and when bad things happen to you, don’t get overly upset. Always stay even keeled in your emotions and grounded in thankfulness and gratitude. Just be thankful to be alive and healthy every single day. Everything else is just a bonus!

    Get a better routine. Wake up and go workout, read some affirmations, eat breakfast and then maybe check your email for 30 minutes and then put it away. Then have a scheduled time in the middle of the day to check email and technology, then one more time at the end of the day. Checking email 3 times per day and social media one time per day should be enough! We do not need to be consumed by our social media all day long. Our relationships are suffering if we are addicted to our devices.

    Finally, get over yourself. No one cares how awesome you are. Emotional midgets are the ones who care so much about what others think about them that they only want to talk about themselves. We need to honestly care about other people, ask questions and listen. We need to empathize with other people’s pains and struggles. Focus on maintaining eye contact, look for the non-verbal communication to make sure that what they are telling you is the whole story or, if you need to, keep asking more questions to get them to really open up and tell you what is really going on.

    At the end of the day, we are all called to love one another. There is no way we can show love if we are too busy being busy and consumed with our own selfish human nature. This has been and will continue to be a struggle of mine. Hopefully, you will join me in the pursuit of loving other people and being present in the moment.

     

    Dustin Hillis is the Co-founder of Southwestern Consulting. He is an expert in understanding buying, selling and management behavior styles and how to identify them and adapt to people the way they want to be communicated with. He also specializes in writing efficient and effective Customized Sales Scripts/Word Tracks. Mr Hillis consults companies on creating Compensation Plans, Recruiting Systems and Sales Strategies. Dustin is the author of the book Navigate: The Art of Not Thinking and co-author of Speaking of Success along with Stephen Covey, Ken Blanchard and Jack Canfield