Pull The Trigger. #Dogood
Don’t worry—I’m not advocating a violent rampage when I say “pull the trigger.” And it might seem like a contradiction that pulling the trigger equates with “doing good” but what I mean is to execute—whether you are executing on decisions, your goals, your dreams, or your plans; and to do so in a decisive and effective manner, with the finality of a single, well-aimed gunshot. The thing about pulling the trigger is not that you’ve executed, or that you are trying to execute; it’s that you are using a tool that has the most effective results.
Imagine you’re in the Hunger Games of life. The buzzer has just gone off to signal the start of the game, and you’ve leapt off your launch pad towards the weapons that could guarantee your survival. What do you see? Some food, a jug of water, extra clothing, a bag of poison, a bow and arrow, a slingshot, and a gun. You duck, dive and roll your way to these treasures, grab as much loot as you can, and you’re on your way.
As the days of your life toil on, you may find yourself encountering chilling rain, suffocating heat, savage predators, or deadly assassins—you might be forced to use your spare clothing, your extra water or your weapons of war. In the final push for survival you might meet an insurmountable foe, your own Goliath as in David and Goliath. You have two choices: fight, or turn away. And because you are you, a Work It Girl, you decide to fight; to slay the beast. You survey your weapons of war, select your tool, aim..and fire.
The moral of the story is not just that you chose to stay and fight—to execute, follow through, slay your life’s dragon(s); the moral of the story is that you chose the right tool to win the battle. It’s not the desire to execute that prevails, it’s the tools that are used.
With David and Goliath, David used a slingshot; with Katniss in the Hunger Games, she used a bow and arrow, and often in hunting season, a gun is epitomized as the ultimate weapon—deadly effective, and final.
Your own personal Goliath might be a difficult meeting with a superior or a coworker, a complex business decision that requires a high level of subjective analysis with no guaranteed outcome, a life-changing event, or a situation where leadership and communication are key elements. With each of those situations, you likely can, and will, decide to execute. You’ll walk into that meeting with your head held high; you’ll inevitably make some type of business decision while crossing your fingers for a favorable outcome; you’ll be forced to encounter and then overcome some life changing event, or you’ll tackle that role that involves extensive leadership or communication ability.
While choosing to execute is the first step, making sure you get the most effective results from pulling the trigger means using the right tools. For each situation, you can plunge ahead, grabbing whatever tools seem handy at the moment, or you can chose your weapons of war carefully and almost guarantee a positive outcome.
Some Weapons of War That Might Be Helpful in Your Life’s Hunger Games:
Unlike food, a jug of water, extra clothing, a bag of poison, a bow and arrow, a slingshot, and a gun, these weapons of war are a little less tangible, but they can be just as deadly effective.
1. Play Chess, Not Checkers. Someone once told me that with any interaction, chose to play chess, not checkers. It’s typically our first instinct to respond to what is immediately in front of us—it’s a science. For every action, there is an equal but opposite reaction. That is how the game of checkers typically operates. With each black and red piece, you are looking at your next immediate move, to counter the last move of your opponent. With chess, you look at the long term strategy. You might sacrifice a queen or a pawn, but you are more focused on the long term strategy than the short term outcome—sometimes you may have to lose the battle to win the war.
2. Don’t Be Afraid. I heard somewhere that everything you want is on the other side of fear. So take chances. For every person that took the dive—started their own business, wrote a book, went to the pros, there are that many more people who were too afraid to try. We live in a world where the monotony of daily living, that typical career path, is almost required just so that we can get by. Try to live in a world where you break the monotony, even if it’s just for a little while. Another little tidbit I heard—the average person goes through about eight career changes in their life. Wouldn’t it be great if at least one of them was that thing you were always wanted to do, but were too afraid to try?
3. Be Confident. This one might be a hard one, but I’ve learned that sometimes you’ve gotta fake it to make it. For a very short period of time, I had to deal with a difficult person who was years ahead of me professionally. Whenever I met with this person and they turned bully (which was more times than not!), my voice tightened up and my throat closed off. It was difficult to talk persuasively, effectively, and most importantly, confidently—but it hit me all of a sudden—no one knows what I’m feeling inside unless I show them. In future meetings of this nature, before I entered the room, I calmed the rolling waves on the inside, fixed myself with a confident smile, cleared my eyes to a smooth and steady gaze, and stated my claims. On the outside, I said what I wanted and more often than not, I got it. On the inside, my heart sometimes jackhammered and I was sweating bullets, but in the end, it didn’t matter. What mattered was that I looked and sounded confident.
4. Sometimes Less Is More. Have you ever been told that when you’re telling a lie, less is more? I read this somewhere, or maybe I heard it on Oprah, but the premise was that the more details you try to fabricate, the less effective you are. I think the same concept goes for telling the truth. Again, this is much easier said than done—cutting out the fluff, but when you “bottom-line it,” there are less extemporaneous facts to get in the way of what you really want. And if people understand what you really want, you’ll be more effective at getting it.
5. If you’re responsible for the outcome, be responsible for the decision. Have you ever been in a situation where whatever decision is made, when the results are in, the buck stops with you? If that’s ever the case, always be the one who has the final say in the decision because only you are responsible for the ultimate outcome. Anyone else, no matter who they are, will be fleeing for the hills if the outcome turns into a mess. So, if for some reason you can’t be the final say in the decision, but you’re still responsible for the outcome, get rid of the decision; it might not be the popular thing to do, but it could save you a lot of grief in the end. I have a case in point—two friends who worked for a company with a difficult CEO. The CEO had a habit of making or changing the decisions of middle management. If the outcome looked like it would be disastrous based on the CEO’s meddling, one friend stopped or delayed the decision-making process, thus preventing the outcome from occurring while they maneuvered their way back into being the sole decision-maker. The other friend fell in line with what the CEO wanted and ultimately allowed a disastrous outcome to result. Of the two, who do you think had the more effective result?
So pull the trigger. Tackle your predators, assassins and Goliaths. And I hope these weapons of war help—it’s a jungle out there! So here’s to pulling the trigger with the right tools in your life as we start this New Year, and: “May the odds be ever in your favor!”
Work It Girl
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