Have you ever met someone who as soon as you meet them realize they are a used car salesman? Every time you mention something that you may be doing in business they have a "product" or "scheme" that somehow magically "solves" your problem or ties itself "perfectly" to your business? Not sure how it happened, but I slowly became one of those guys. I was actually given a name as well, I had officially become a Deal Junkie.
As of late, I would consider myself a recovering Deal Junkie, because I am not totally free of my past habits.
So what happened for me to realize I was a Deal Junkie? How did I "get sober"? What am I continuing to do in order to "stay sober"? What else do I need to learn?
It all started with having a friend who has the courage to tell me the truth without even being promoted. He did this because he cares deeply about me and my success as a human being first, and as a business owner second. Once I was aware of my problem, I initiated my recovery by following the 5 step process below:
- Meaning Management leading to
- Telling Stories that initiate the
- Displacing of Habits and then create the proper
- Mental Models to get and to stay in the
- Learning Mode
This process is not something I created or formed. This is a learned process that has come from the diligent work through my executive learning group HP3, as well as my reading, studying, and writing of the work of Dr. Lee Thayer. The quotes below are being pulled from the current book I am reading The Competent Organization (TCO).
"The leader's task, and opportunity is to manipulate their own and other's interpretations in such a way that they move the organization forward in the direction it needs to go."
My first task was to manipulate my own interpretation in order to move myself forward in the direction I needed to go. How did I change my meaning of people to initiate the "sobering" process?
I changed my meaning that people were not deals. People are more than an opportunity for me to make a connection to initiate business. The new meaning I assigned to people was that they are children of God put on this earth for union and relationship. In other words, they are my brothers and sisters. By this subtle change in my meaning I assigned to people, I was able to initiate the second step of the process.
"Meanings are supported by the stories that are made up to support them. Make certain that the stories you tell, and that others' tell, support the needs and interests of the organization and not some other purpose. Plausible stories are created to support how people think, or would like to think. Or, how people believe. Change the story, change the meaning of things."
So what story did I need to tell myself in order to put my new meaning into action in order to see the fruits of my meaning management?
If I truly wanted to be free from my addiction of using people for deals, I needed a convincing story to initiate the displacing of my current habits. I will be honest, the story didn't really come from me. I had to surrender my faults and ask for God to rewrite the story for me. The story that He and I wrote together was one of peace and freedom. A peace and freedom that initiated from a union and relationship that could only come from Him. My new story was one that used me as an instrument to build relationships to initiate in other people the same peace and freedom I felt. This would only be done through genuine relationship as treating people as brothers and sisters.
"Thus what always needs fixing is people's habits. You cannot directly influence habits. You can only change them by displacing them with other habits. When you do this for yourself, you will have all the insight you need into how to go about changing others' habits."
So what habits were displaced by this story telling and what new habits took their place?
My habit was to only meet with people that could help me further my business or make me money. My new story I was telling myself convinced me to meet with people with no regards to how they could help me but instead on how I could help them. My new intentions on meeting have nothing to do with business but instead to see if I can create another brother or sister. I am looking for people to "Do Life" with instead of doing business.
"Closely related here are 'mental models.' Our Experiences create our minds. And minds create mental models, that is routine ways of thinking about things, understanding things, or doing somethings about them. They are like theories. We see the world in terms of theories we have for seeing the world."
How am I creating the proper mental model in order to stay "sober"?
Mental models are not something you can just change by willing it or striving for it. They are deeply rooted, or in other words they are the ruts of our thinking. We are stuck in the ruts of our own mental models that have been developed through our daily habits. Without changing our meanings which allows for a different story to be told in order to displace our current habits, we will never create the proper mental models that get us where we need to go.
My current mental model that is being developed is that I now view people for who they really are, as well as who they ought to be in order to fulfill God's purpose for their life. This mental model is being created through the constant pulling of my newly developed habits. This is the only way it can be created. This process should never stop. The only way to sustain this process is by fully embracing Step 5.
"This will happen to you if you ever fall out of the 'learning mode.' Treat your own mental models as no more than hypotheses about the world. They are thus always subject to change as circumstances change. Approach every situation as if you have never encountered it before. Learn how to deal with it. Then forget it, to deal with the next situation afresh."
Step 5 may be the toughest step to adhere to. As humans, we are creatures of habits. We actually don't "have" habits, our habits "have" us. So how do we know if the right habits are controlling our lives? The only way is to stay in the Learning Mode, which means to be insanely curious about everything. Constantly challenging our own mental models by approaching them with a fresh set of eyes everyday.
The easiest way to accomplish this is to ask questions. First question yourself, then question others about your own mental models and habits. Be vulnerable enough to expose some mental models and habits you are not so proud of. Without the vulnerability of asking my friend his view on my habits I would still be the "junkie" I used to be.