Shake Regularly

Excerpt from my soon to be published book, Just One Step: The Journey to Your Unstoppable You

I love snow globes, especially the metaphor they offer us regarding leadership and life. No matter how long or how often you shake a snow globe, things quickly go back to normal, and I’ve learned that this is a typical form of settling for many of us. Because snow globes are designed to look good even without the magic of shaking, after a minute or so they quickly settleinto being just a nice-looking display piece. And when you shake things up in your life, your leadership, or your team or organization, you feel the magic, but it’s fleeting—things quickly go back to the way they were before. In other words, they settleback into what’s comfortable. 

We all know that it’s easy to live comfortably in every aspect of our lives, and it’s also easy to quickly revert back to the old normal (our comfort zones) after a brief shake-up. Perhaps you’ve read a book and been filled with new approaches and ideas. You might even have tried out some of these new actions (for a brief time), but you quickly fell back to your old and comfortable ways. Perhaps you attended some training program and left it feeling on fire and ready to change the world, but then came everyday life, everyday demands and everyday distractions, and you ended up almost where you were before the shakeup. This is why regularly shaking your life and leadership snow globe is so essential – to help you sustain and expand the momentum so that you can achieve real change in thinking, actions and outcomes.

Not only is it critical for you to regularly shake up your snow globe, but shaking your own snow globe is a fantastic act of modeling for everyone around you. Whether it’s your partner, your family or your team, your act of shaking encourages and invites others to do the same. In addition, in any role where you can have a leadership impact, you can encourage others to shake their snow globes. In fact, you can even shake their snow globes for them in many ways. 

One of the best ways to shake up the snow globes of the people you care about (whether it’s your family, a partner or your team members) is to ask questions. High quality and authentic questions serve us well in shaking our own snow globes and those of the people around us. Questions invite self-assessment, grow self-awareness, encourage personal responsibility and empower others to self-shake, self-shift and self-accelerate. While it’s ultimately up to another person whether they actually change (yes, it’s true – you can’t change someone else), we all have the opportunity to shake other people’s snow globes in various aspects of their lives. While there’s always risk associated with the shaking – whether you’re shaking your own snow globe or someone else’s – that’s the nature of personal and professional leadership. Nobody said it was easy or risk free.

My final thought on regular snow globe and life shaking is this – if you don’t regularly shake your own snow globe, other people, situations and life itself will shake it for you. That’s the thing about snow globes – they’re meant to be shaken, and your life is just the same. If you don’t shake your own snow globe, you’ll experience life as being out of control, as if someone or something else is shaking things up—and that’s true. When you fail to shake things up on your own, then situations, experiences and people will create a shaken-up experience for you because you’ve given up control of your snow globe to other people and to situations. In other words, you’ve become a victim of shaking rather than the victor of your own snow globe, life and leadership shaking experiences. Even James Bond provides us guidance for this lesson, since he always ordered his martinis “shaken, not stirred,” and we all know that James Bond was a man of action and impact.

The first step is to shake your personal life and leadership snow globe, and don’t stop with one or just an occasional shaking. Once you shake your snow globe, keep regularly shaking it, and pay close attention to what you see when your shaking creates a new perspective on whatever situation, challenge or opportunity is in front of you.

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