[Disclosure: I purchased my copy of Jim’s book on January 2nd, 2014. I am mentioned in the “Acknowledgements” section as encouraging my friend Jim along the way of writing this book.]

What a week to re-read this book on human performance and team dynamics. It’s been “on the list” for me to write this bit of a review, so here you are…

It’s gonna help you to know the “lens” that Jim looks through the world with; he came up with the term: Metaformation, which he writes means, “…developing, mining, and applying metaphors to motivate leaders…”

How about this for a way to start things off? “All the world’s a stage…” and life is a performance; on the job, at home, and you out and about in your community…you’re constantly “on stage,” making a brand out of yourself. When people think about you – when YOU think about you – what do they think of? Jim gets you thinking about this; and, at the end of EVERY chapter, he gives you some discussion questions to get you out of your head, and in to action. (I HIGHLY recommend you answer the questions he gives ya!)

Do you play cards? I don’t play that much; at least I don’t plan for it. From time to time, while on vacation or more recently when a power line went down in our town and the lights were out one day, Jodi will talk me in to playing Gin or some other game. When we do play, I’m reminded of this: “We’ve got the hand we were dealt.”

…so, that means that your job, my job, and our job is to take what we have and move things forward. Or, as we say at GetMomentum.co … “Onward.”

Spend a little time in THIS chapter of the book, and you may just come up with some of the metaphors in your own life that describe/explain HOW you look at WHAT you have, and WHY you do that. That is, you’ll clarify the “lens” through which you see your world.

Where are you about now in your life? Personally, I’m at an interesting point: Mid 40s, running two small companies, traveling the world speaking on my books. Recently, we’ve had some deaths in the family, an accident that has changed the life of another family member, and changes in our communities that have tested our resolve. How about you? Think about where you were, and where you’ll be… And, look at this: In the early days, you had a vision of how things could be. Where did that vision come from? Talking with other people. Watching other people. Thinking…simply letting yourself have the time to pause long enough to think, “…what if…???”

Here’s an interesting question to ask yourself, “What has changed since you first came to work for the organization / since you first started your own company?”

Heres a list of attributes, put an X next to the ones you’d use to describe your organization:

lethargic
energetic
unfocused
focused
too big
right size
too small
not motivating
inspiring
no joy
fun
indecisive
willing to take risks
safe
resilient

What limits us from achieving our more? There are two things you’ll learn about while reading this book: (1) limiting beliefs, and (2) limiting behaviors.

The foundation of both of this is unconscious; it’s at the core of what we do. Depending on who’ve you’ve studied, psychologists estimate that “most” of our actions are the result of our habits – actions repeated over years or even decades – that create the perspective and response to what shows up in front of us.

Making a change for the #better – whether it’s a personal OR professional change you’re attempting – is much less about deciding what to do, and much more a matter of “installing the mental software” to make the upgrade.

How you do THAT…it’s not a mystery, but it’s not free either!

A mentor of mine – Pip Coburn, author of The Change Function – asks, “What is the lens through which you’re seeing this situation?” It is indeed a powerful question, as it (1) requires we think for a moment about the perspective from which we’re seeing things, and (2) allows us to pause and think about how we think about what we’re thinking about. (Yeah, that’s a lot of thinking.)

There’s a lot to learn from this book, so let me just share some of the highlights I walked away with, and already know I’ll incorporate in to the work we’re doing at www. TimeToGetMomentum .com …

1) We continue to influence – and are influenced by – our biases.
What you see “out there” is really what you’re ready to see “in there.” It’s so easy to see, experience and live what we expect to come about. “I bet there will be traffic,” and you’ll probably be right. “People always show up late to meetings,” yup, you’ll see that happen again tomorrow or next week. Change doesn’t always just come about by wishing things were different. The best, most significant, changes happen when we program ourselves, our environment and our community to expect something different. As a teacher of mine, Lorraine Monroe, said many years ago, “You get what you expect.”

2) There are “rules” to the game. You need to learn them.
Personally, I love how bluntly Jim puts it: “When you lack vision follow your instincts.” Now, in all transparency, I read that sentence a bit differently than I think he meant to write it. I read:

“When you lack vision, you follow your instincts.”

Subtle, I know, but different to me. I’ll put it to you to test. Ready? Here’s your challenge (it’s going to take “two commutes home” to test this theory):

Day One:

  1. Set an alarm for when you’re going to leave work.
  2. Set an alarm for 45 minutes before that one.
    (Alarm 2 lets you know you better start gettin’ ready!)
  3. When the alarm to leave rings, get up, and walk out.
  4. Your job is to make it from the office to your home and have a MINIMUM of 2 brand new thoughts; these could be ideas, tasks, projects, possibilities, ANYthing you can think of, just make sure they’re new. (If you do this, and email me via the contact page, I’ll give ya a 7 day membership to GetMomentum.co just for playing!)

Day Two:

  1. Set an alarm for when you’re going to leave work.
  2. Set an alarm for 45 minutes before that one.
    (Alarm 2 lets you know you better start gettin’ ready!)
  3. When the alarm to leave rings, get up, and walk out.
  4. THIS TIME: I need you to go home a way you’ve NEVER gone home before.
    (Take a different train; leave from a different stop; carpool with someone new; get off on a different off-ramp; you get it…)
  5. Your job is to make it from the office to your home and have a MINIMUM of 2 brand new thoughts; these could be ideas, tasks, projects, possibilities, ANYthing you can think of, just make sure they’re new.

You tell me, which day and which way was it easier to come up with something new?

3) Winners see themselves as winners.
Ok, time for a personal story…

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You know I race triathlon, right? Well, years ago, when I was doing really well, I worked with a “mental” coach. I’d gotten good at the physical aspects of racing, but I knew there was something missing. So, I met with Coach Robert. I will forever remember him saying to me:

“Jason, when you line up with a hundred or so other athletes in your age group, there are only really about 5 of them who truly believe the could win the race. Your first job, before we do anything else, is to convince yourself you’re one of the top 3 in the lineup.”

Top three?

Well, the first time it worked was when I was living a summer in Homer, Alaska. I arrived on-site for the local 5-miler running race. (I know, not a triathlon, but it’s Alaska we’re talkin’ here; that water is COLD!) There were a couple hundred athletes, and I said to myself, “Jason, you can place in the top three.” Well, here’s what happened… I won!

As YOU look toward the next year, where do YOU want experience more success? Pick up this book, review your metaphors, and uplevel them to match NOT where you are, but where you want to be.

Onward.