Archives for July 2015

The Payoff Principle: A Lifetime of Payoffs

Contributed by Dan Sheedy.

Imagine yourself creating a lifetime of payoffs: happiness, success, significance – a life of abundance, both personally and professionally. We all want it! We all want to become producers. We all want to be that person who makes things happen by design rather than default.

In this column, I’ve spent the past month exploring the components of Dr. Alan Zimmerman’s formula The Payoff Principle (Purpose + Passion + Process = Payoff) and the mindset change needed to move from “good enough” to extraordinary. As a refresher, The Payoff Principle works like this: “When you find purpose in what you do, exhibit passion for the outcome, and master the process to make it happen, you produce the payoffs you want, need and deserve.” You become a producer.

American psychiatrist Scott Peck said in The Road Less Traveled, “Until you value yourself, you won’t value your time. Until you value your time, you won’t do anything with it.” The key to getting the formula to work for you and getting what you really want is valuing yourself and your time. Then you must do something with it by taking action.

Taking action means integrating all three components into your life. No half-efforts will work. Your level of success will be determined by your level of effort. Why? Think of someone you know (it might be you) who works really hard, puts in long hours, but has no purpose in his life. A person with no clearly defined purpose is usually unsatisfied, unfulfilled and meanders thru life, putting in time versus valuing time.

What about a person with great vision and dreams but little enduring passion. Without the attitude, perseverance, and character required of the fire of passion, the flame burns out and she will quit before she can experience the payoffs she seeks.

Finally, what about the person who is intentional and has the drive but lacks process, the tools that turn intention and drive into reality? Without process results don’t come because we are not learning, communicating and listening. We’re always chasing the next great idea. Think of it as the “grass is greener” mindset. That mentality has us neglect watering our own garden. Ultimately this leads to regret and “if only I had…” in our professional and personal lives. What can you learn and do to fill your toolbox of process?

You now see the importance of integrating all three components to unlock the power of The Payoff Principle and that leads to likely the most important question. When do I implement this into my life? The answer is now! Now means now, not “as soon as I….” or “after I am finished with this project….” or “when I start my new job….”

In my executive coaching work, I have found that people who take the “as soon as I…” approach are always waiting on someone or something else to happen to get started on their goals. They are waiting for something outside of them to happen so they can begin to take action. They are creating excuses and living life by default. I’ve done it. We all have. The result is always the same—unfulfilled and unsatisfied lives; years of not achieving our desires and dreams. We owe it to ourselves to put ourselves on a path to a new and complete self—in our careers, communities and homes.

The Payoff Principle provides a formula that guides your progress to success and achieving your dreams and desires. There is never a perfect time to make changes in our lives. Dr. Martin Luther King said, “You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” The first step here is that progress, not perfection is what is required to change your mindset and move from “good enough” to extraordinary – to being a producer reaping a lifetime of payoffs.

What will you do today to make this happen?

The Payoff Principle: On Process

Contributed by Dan Sheedy.

mark-516277_640In previous articles – The Payoff Principle: Producers Wanted!, The Payoff Principle: On Purpose, and The Payoff Principle: On Passion, I’ve looked at the power of purpose (the direction you take your life) and the power of passion (the fire that ignites purpose). The power of process is the final component of the payoff principle as defined by Dr. Alan Zimmerman in his book The Payoff Principle. As you may recall, his formula is Purpose + Passion + Process = Payoff. Simply put, it is the series of actions you employ with your skills to achieve your desired payoffs.

How many times have you heard “trust the process, the results will come?” That sounds great, but what if you don’t know what process to trust? There are thousands of books and guides on various processes but there is no single book on process that will enable you to tackle every challenge you will encounter.

Peter Drucker said, “We now accept the fact that learning is a lifelong process of keeping abreast with change and the most pressing task is to teach people how to learn.” In The Payoff Principle, Dr. Zimmerman identifies four critical processes behind every success story and explains how implementing these steps can more effectively transform purpose and passion into reality. The good news is that these four processes (two self-focused and two other-focused) can be learned and practiced by anyone. Let’s run through them:

1) Affirming Achievement- How do you think about your life? The process of affirming achievement involves changing how you think about yourself. It is the process of moving from “I can’t…,” “I never…,” “I’m not smart or good enough…,” “I shouldn’t…” by resetting your thinking to “I am good enough…,” “I am smart enough…,” “I can do…” These affirmations determine your mindset and how you show up every day. You change your life and direction when you change your mind and focus. Clearly thought out and written down affirmations give you focus towards the payoff you desire.

2) Continuing Education- Are you open to learning and change? Are you intellectually curious, always searching for more? The process of continuing education acknowledges that you are always learning. The portrait of your best self is never complete. Dale Carnegie said, “Knowledge isn’t power until it is applied.” I like to think of the process of learning as a reminder that what got you to where you are in your profession or career won’t keep you there. There is always something we can do to improve ourselves and we cannot settle for “good enough.”

3) Connective Communication- Does communication breakdown drive you insane? The failure to communicate is a core issue across organizations, teams and relationships. The process of connective communication according to Dr. Zimmerman involves avoiding “communication breakups” or things that push people away from you emotionally and send a message of that you don’t trust, respect or care about them. We need to replace those with “communication makeups.” The message of a “communication makeup” is “you count, you matter, you are worthy of my time, energy and attention.” Clear, open, honest communication is far more efficient than the destructive and time consuming results of a failure to communicate.

4) Compassionate Listening- Stephen Covey said, “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” Studies have shown this especially true the higher someone rises in an organization because they feel less “forced” to listen to others. Of course, this is the time when they need to listen more and more compassionately. The process of compassionate listening only begins with the listener listening with intent to reply. Listening then evolves to listening to every word and nuance of the conversation and even further to listening at a level where you are aware of the mood, conscious, tone and impact of the conversation. It means actively listening at a deeper level and understanding by clarifying facts and feelings with powerful questions. American columnist Doug Larson summed it up, “Wisdom is the reward you get for a lifetime of listening, when you would have preferred to talk.” I have seen my business and relationships improve with this approach. Perfecting the art of compassionate listening can provide you maximum payoffs.

The power of process is behind every success story and is a series of steps that you can implement into your daily life. Combined with the direction of purpose and the fire of passion, the power of process turns dreams into reality and helps you achieve the payoffs you desire.

What will you do today to make this happen?

The Payoff Principle: On Passion

Contributed by Dan Sheedy.  Don’t miss previous parts of this series – The Payoff Principle: Producers Wanted! and The Payoff Principle: On Purpose

6cb3e4a59d720b063bc775b1948004a7Once you’ve decided to live a life of purpose and on purpose, you need the power of passion to ignite that purpose. What is passion? The Urban Dictionary says “Passion is when you put more energy into something than is required to do it. It is more than just enthusiasm or excitement, passion is ambition that is materialized into action to put as much heart, mind, body and soul into something as is possible.”

In Dr. Alan Zimmerman’s book, The Payoff Principle, the power of passion (Purpose + Passion + Process = Payoff) is the ingredient necessary to excite you so that you are motivated to achieve the goals and dreams you desire. You must have the power of passion working for you. In fact, Swiss philosopher and poet Henri Frederic Amiel said “Without passion, man is a mere latent force and possibility, like the flint which awaits the shock of the iron before it can give forth its spark.”

Think of passion as your inner fire! Passion is the energy that pushes marathon runners over the finish line, that keeps developers up all night developing a new app, writers looking for the next word, and Doctors Without Borders persevering when tasks are unpleasant around the world. Having a healthy abundant passion is a key. Without it you’ll run out of energy long before your actions yield the desired result.

Zig Ziglar said, “When you catch a glimpse of your potential, that’s when passion is born.” Stop searching for passion in some external explanation or proof, and promise yourself that you will choose to work on what fires you up inside. Once you make that choice, passion is born.

After passion born, however, how do you keep the fire going? Dr. Zimmerman explores three components needed for the fire to burn and produce ignited passion.

1. Attitude – A fire needs something to burn and attitude represents the fuel in the fire of passion. Your attitude—your positive attitude—is the fuel needed to ignite the fire. Without an “I can” attitude, the fire dies and the passion goes away. How does your attitude show up in your life on a daily basis? You are in charge of your attitude and how it serves you in every aspect of your life.

2. Persistence – To keep a fire burning, oxygen is needed, and persistence is the oxygen in the fire of passion. Persistence is absolutely necessary to get the payoffs you desire. Vince Lombardi noted, “The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack in will.” Persistence is the tenacity to keep going, to preserve in the face of obstacles and accomplish your dreams and desires, achieving the life you envisioned. Have you developed persistence to overcome resistance? Do you go the extra mile in all you do?

3. Character – All fires need to be contained and this is true with the fire of passion. Without a fire ring of character to contain and guide the fire, the fire can burn out of control, and relationships, reputations, and lives can be damaged. This is the tug-of-war in many corporate cultures between sales and compliance. Benjamin Franklin said, “If passion drives you, let reason hold the reins.” Do you have a fire ring holding the reins of your passion? Are you staying between the lines and acting out of character in your business and personal life? Have you put in place guardrails that guide your words and deeds? You have to be absolutely clear about your values and what you stand for. The content and expression of your character is your choice. Choose wisely and it becomes easy to do the right thing, which in turn delivers the payoff of trust and respect.

The power of purpose begins the journey and provides direction to the payoff of becoming a producer. The power of passion ignites the fire behind the payoff. Next, we will explore the power of process, the final of component that turns your vision and drive into reality.

What will you do today to make this happen?