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Are We Learning Yet?

When I was a teenager out on the farm, a stray dog wandered up and joined our other dogs. We called her Chance.

Chance was a good dog, but he had some issues. One of them was the tractor–

she hated it. Chance would bark incessantly at the tractor while Dad was trying to work one day. She finally got so mad she bit the tractor wheel and held on.

Before Dad could stop, he'd rolled right over her head. Now, fortunately, the ground was soft

where he was working, so it did no permanent damage to her, but man did it get her attention. Chance never barked at tractors ever again. Mama said, “Looks like Chance really learned her lesson.”

That's how “Learn From It” was born. Chance didn't want to blow it a second time.

Last week's challenge was to “Let It Be.” Face the facts. Resist the fix.

This week, we're adding a second L-step we call “Learn From It.” After we Let It Be, and face the facts of a situation without judgment or attachment, the next step is to learn from it.

In our coaching methodology, “Learn from It” does not simply mean increasing

our knowledge of something. For us, it means when you're ready for it,

change. Simply educating someone does not guarantee change. Ask any teacher.

Now, I may be about to step on a lot of people's toes here, but we believe we can

only truly change that which we have control over, and we only have control over three things:

our own thoughts, our own words, and our own actions.

We may have some effect, maybe even some influence, on other things or people but we most certainly have no control. The life tool that we use to help exercise control over our thoughts, words and actions we call the three S's–and yes, we like stuff it all starts with the same letter–but the three s's are Systems, Strategies and Structure.

Systems can be simple. When I was younger, I used to have a problem keeping

up with my car key. It would sometimes cause me to be late for work. I lost time and energy looking for them but mainly it just made me feel stupid.

So, instead of continuing the delusion that someday I was just going to wake up and suddenly be the kind of guy who never loses his keys, I solved the problem with a simple system. The key fob I use can only live in two places: on my belt loop and on the wall in my bedroom. Solved!

Now, strategy is defined as a plan of action. The difference between a system

and a strategy is that we may only use the strategy when faced with certain

circumstances but maybe not in everyday life. We may have a strategy for surviving a

bear attack, but we hope we'll never use it.

Structure is the fixed set of accountabilities. Structure reduces the number of decision

points in our life.

My team fills my day with meetings and appointments. This creates structure for

me. Without it, let's just say I don't get much done.

This week's challenge is to take inventory of the systems strategies and

structure that you already have deployed in your mind. Good luck with the challenge!

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