Busy Bodies vs. Achievers

The society I live in, the books I read and the conferences I attend in order to create an outstanding life all stress one thing – taking action. Taking action is praised because it moves us from dreaming to achieving. And for a long time, I was here for that rhetoric. I was always busy DOING something.

But more recently, I’ve realized that the most effective people I've studied focus their energy on only doing the right things. The "right thing" could mean the important action or the action that would reap the best results if executed at this time. I interviewed Myleik this week (our interview will air early next year by the way) and she shared how she doesn’t force herself to execute if something doesn’t feel right. And Jess Lively, who runs the Lively show, says the same thing on her podcast. She consistently listens to her intuition before taking action.

While these women (along with countless other achievers), took the time to assess their actions before executing, many of us spend time doing things that are neither important, nor well-timed. I for example, will often do the easy thing instead of the right thing because I have less resistance towards the easy thing. More specifically, I started Depth & Candor because I wanted to explore success and happiness by interviewing people who are forging a bright path for themselves. But instead of reaching out to potential interviewees, scheduling the interviews, sending them the questions, learning how to become a better story teller, and hiring a video editor, I spent most of 2016 blogging. Why? Because it was the easier option and it made me feel like I was accomplishing something. And while there is nothing wrong with blogging, it wasn't more important than publishing interviews.

We have a little over two months before 2016 is over - and you know I’m obsessed with this timeline if you follow me on snapchat. If you hadn’t set any goals at the beginning of the year, then cool…the rest of this post probably isn’t for you. But if you were like me and realized you hadn’t met some of the goals you set, it might be worth taking a moment and assessing what you spend your time on. Were you just a busy body or were you truly achiever?

Busy bodies do lots of things. Achievers do the right things.

Since I will be focusing on interviews more, I am looking for blog contributors. Are you obsessed with building a great life? Do you want to share it with an audience of like-minded people? If this sounds like you, send me your pitch to Hiwote@depthandcandor.com.

Make the rest of 2016 count, nobody is guaranteed another day.




Drop It Like A Bad Habit

I know I should save my coins but every month, I find myself living paycheck to paycheck because #Shopping.

I know I should cut out sugars from my diet and eat more greens, but I can’t seem to stay on track for more than a couple of days.

 I know contributing my thoughts during meetings would help me get promoted, but I just can’t get myself to speak up when I feel intimidated.

 Why do we do that? We know exactly what we should do but for some reason, we do the exact opposite.

I pulled the third quote from a conversation I had with a very successful friend. When we talked, I gave her suggestions on how to speak up at meetings but I walked away feeling like we didn’t solve the deeper issue. Why didn’t she speak up if she knew it would help her career? And how could we change that moving forward?

I later learned that the decision to not speak up was a habit. At her last job, junior-staff were discouraged from speaking during meetings so she was struggling to break that habit in her new position. I do the same thing when I claim that I’d like to be healthier. I know that I need to cut sugars and eat more greens, but I don’t. As it turns out, that’s a habit too.

According to Dr. Judson Brewer; a psychiatrist and addiction expert, we all have triggers (like being stressed) that motivate a behavior (like eating a cookie), which results in a reward (a little sugar high and a diversion from dealing with the stress). This makes it so that next time we’re stressed, our brains remember that we can ease the stress by eating instead of directly dealing with the issue - and then we learn to repeat the cycle. Eventually, this becomes a habit.

So what’s the solution?

In this Ted Talk, Brewer explains that forcing ourselves to change a habit doesn’t actually work. Instead, he encourages us to get curious and observe our actions in our moments of weakness. This is a mindful approach to dealing with the behaviors we want to change. Getting curious about the cycles we put ourselves in takes us from theoretically knowing that something is bad for us, to changing that behavior for good.

I'll be honest, I first rolled my eyes when I heard about the mindful approach to changing habits (because #PopPsychology) but the more I read more about it, the more curious I became. In one study, twice as many smokers stopped smoking when using a mindfulness approach compared to those using traditional approaches. So in the name of science - and being candid, I am going to try that approach this week and report back on whether mindfulness actually breaks the habit of eating unhealthy foods during moments of stress.

Check back with me on Friday, I’ll give you a run-down on how this worked for me. Until then, this is our little experiment.

If you have a habit you’d like to change, why don’t you try this with me? All you have to do is be curious about your action the next time you decide to spend your last dollar on a sale item or eat the cookie or sit silently in a meeting (or whatever your bad habit is). Instead of getting mad at yourself for your action (or inaction), you simply observe what is happening and how it feels. The idea is that eventually, the behavior simply stops being an appealing response to the trigger because you are operating from a mindful place.

Screw Motivation

Teyana Taylor had millions of us starting at our screens like teenagers with a new crush last night. Her body was on point as the star in Kanye’s new music video for his song, Fade. Suddenly every girl with internet access had new #bodygoals - and for good reason, Teyana’s body looks like a work of art. But here is the thing, the kind of motivation you get from seeing the beauty of the end result (the end result being an incredible body in this case) fades.  The real question is, will you still keep doing the work necessary when the motivation is no longer there?

Most of us set some badass goals for 2016 (ha! Remember those?) and we are now approaching the last quarter of the year. Did your goals go down the drain when the motivation faded? For some goals, my answer to this is yes. I quietly let some goals slip because I just can’t find the motivation. Here is a piece of advice I read a long time ago that is helping me get back on track:

Motivation is fleeting. Your goals cannot depend on it.

If you have a vision for your life that inspires you, you can’t wait on motivation to carry you to the finish line. As a matter of fact, there is a reason we call successful people “driven”, “self-directed” and “self-motivated”. The successful don’t wait for motivation from the world, they create their own momentum by becoming the directors of their lives.  

If you are reading this and you know the only thing standing between you and that bangin’ body/that money/that passion project (etc) is lack of motivation, decide right now to stop waiting for motivation to direct your life. Decide to become self-directed instead.  

Here are some resources to help you (and me) make that happen:

1. In this video, Marie Forleo (an ex-Nike athlete turned millionaire life coach) talks about what to focus on when your motivation starts slipping because you don’t see results. 

2. If you aren’t clear on your life’s (or your 2016) vision, here is a resource from Lewis Howes' School of Greatness.

3. If the true reason you aren’t doing what you need to do is a lack of discipline, listen to this very real podcast from Courtney Sanders, the founder of ThinkAndGrowChick. 

4. If you just want to be a part of this community of go-getters who are trying to make this happen, join our squad so you don’t miss another post and get the insider scoop on all things depth and candor.