When Steve Jobs passed away a few months ago, people payed attention to his strategies and approaches to business that really worked. One of these traits was highlighted in a NEW YORKER article called The Tweaker: The Real Genius of Steve Jobs and while the origin of the phrase "tweakers" dates back to England and the start of the Industrial Revolution, the focus of this NYer piece is on Jobs. A little tweak here to a design, a little tweak there to his people management philosophy and the result was APPLE becoming one of the most successful and innovative companies on the planet.
When you're not motivated, when you're having slips, when you're practicing behaviors that bring about consequences you do NOT want, or when you've just about given up on yourself and your dreams, it's tempting to think you need a major, mega overhaul. And, well, maybe you do. I've had times in my life where I made radical changes. When I was 163 pounds (I'm 5'3") in my senior year of college and depressed to the point of wanting to give up entirely on life (good times, good times) through the help of a support program I gave up all sugar, flour and wheat for a year and a half. I lost a ton of weight, had the clarity of mind to power through a 5th year of school, graduate with a great GPA and activate a job search which led to a pretty cool position at New York Magazine.
The radical change led to a major loss of balance, though, not to mention weight. I dropped to about 108 pounds, stopped menstruating, and lived in fear of putting an ounce of ANYTHING into my mouth. I remember going out to dinner with my parents at Cafe Baci on Long Island and crying in the car ride home because I thought my chicken was too oily.
So, rather than go for something so dramatic, sometimes you're in the zone, orbit, area, or arena of what works and you just need a little tweaking. Yet, because you're feeling so shitty from the consequences to your behaviors your EMOTION (frustration, regret, shame, anger) is fueling thoughts like these:
I have to make big changes here! Something, everything has gotta change! I'll quit my job, go to an ashram for a month, stop eating gluten, move to a much warmer climate...!
Hey, that doesn't sound so bad, actually.
For the purpose of THIS post, I am not talking about those kind of radical changes. I am speaking to the value of a GOOD TWEAK here or there will reset the course of your adventure entirely for the better!!
Still not sure what I mean? Well, that's probably bc I haven't given an example yet. That's OK. It's coming. Wait for it.....
A FEW GOOD TWEAKS TO HELP YOU MOTIVATE
1. Make a small but significant dietary change. I recently (3 weeks or so, maybe 4?) stopped drinking diet coke and stopped chewing gum. In this time I haven't been perfect (1/2 a can of diet soda, Jeremy my friend was a witness) but if I don't tell you, this little TWEAK has made a huge difference. I've blogged about it before. My digestive track thanks me every day. So, for you it could be gum, it could be bread, it could be chicken, it could be Mentos, I don't know. Just make one change that UPS your energy and makes you feel GOOD.
2. Reframe your "bad" habit into something a little more encouraging. Some may disagree here but I tend to side with those who think tenderness and compassion bring about change. So, maybe you're consistently doing a habit that is hurting you. At least you have COMMITMENT. You are DEVOTED! That's a GREAT thing. Maybe you're even so familiar with this habit that you can help another avoid it and that's a SERVICE you're uniquely qualified to service. Again, not for everybody, but I like to find the POSITIVE as part of the approach to change.
3. Explore another side of something you know well. People tend to get comfortable and cozy not only in things that aren't working but in things which are working well. It could be to hold onto a feeling of safety or even success. You may think you know something well but have you really explored ALL FACETS of this thing? Probably not. If there is more to glean from something you already think you know so well, start exploring.
4. Give yourself a little dose of nature. I woke up today feeling like if I don't get into a park soon, I may turn into a smokestack. And I don't smoke. I do, however, live in downtown Manhattan and am surrounded many, many buildings. I used to live uptown and went to Central Park at least one morning a week. I swear my first thought is I need a week out of the city, which certainly would be nice and is coming up for me in March (when I go to SXSW, yee haw!) but in the meantime, I can commit to one park outing a week. It's going to happen this Saturday after I teach intenSati, if you want to join me for a meditation. I can't overstate enough how important it is to take in some FRESH AIR and enjoy a few beautiful TREES, SUNSHINE and QUIET. Just a little will do you so good.
5. Join a new team that inspires and believes in you. You didn't think I was going to get through this entire post without mentioning Jeremy Lin again, did you? I am, officially, obsessed with interviewing him for this blog. You just wait. :) SO, in case you did not know, JLin was assigned to the D League and waived by the Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets before being signed by the Knicks. We all know what that lead to...BOO YAH! Now I know he didn't have much of a say in that whole process but you can learn from it, right? He just needed to land with the right group of guys, the right group of coaches and the right group of NY KNICKS fans to experience a monumental jump in his performance and success. Maybe one of your tweaks is to do something similar.
Have a great day and if any of this is working for you, please comment, share it with someone, #inspireitforward or email me at email@example.com to let me know!