Correct Actions are like Blisters

By Greg Martin

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This article is the fourth in a series of articles for business leaders and entrepreneurs focused on achieving personal and business success.

Ever had a blister?

Sure you have, and probably more than one. Cast your mind back to that moment when you developed a blister.

What were you doing?

I imagine that for most of us, we developed blisters when we took on a new activity (or possibly a familiar activity we hadn’t done for some time), with a heightened sense of urgency and possibly with an increased intensity, duration, and frequency, or a combination of all of the above.

The blister was the result of pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone, and to that place beyond your physical tolerance; which then manifested as a blister.

In our previous article we identified that taking any action was the result and the combination of our desire and our risk tolerance (desire for an outcome over the risk of experiencing pain). We also considered that it is wise, before taking action, to understand at a detailed level the critical criteria required to establish and identify which correct action or best actions to take.

As I was planning to move our discussion into game theory and performance measurement with this article, I developed a painful blister from running. I was reminded of the importance of taking action… specifically, action that takes place in the zone of discomfort (and at times pain).

The discomfort that you feel in that moment of action provides an opportunity for learning via feedback and helps build our capacity to adjust and take on increased action. It is this continual action that ultimately moves us towards our goals.

Action is required to realize your vision goals, and when you are up to something that is compelling and bigger than you, these actions will most likely take you far outside your comfort zone and into that zone of discomfort. This is the first requirement in using game theory. You need to get out of the bleachers and into the game! The true “Call-to-Action.”

And here is a “critical” reality…
It is only when you are in action that you have the opportunity to measure cause and effect. It is when you’re in motion, as a result of the actions that you are taking, that you can truly measure your performance and whether or not you’re moving closer to your goal.

Creating a causal loop through action is where you begin to identify the “correct actions.” It is where you begin to understand at a granular level the correct frequency, duration, and intensity of each action, and how it will affect the performance outcome you want to achieve.

If you are not taking correct action, with the right intensity, duration, and frequency, chances are you are not moving toward your goal, and you are certainly not building your capacity to reach your goal.
Blisters are evidence of your body building capacity. Think of it as a “break-down” that results in a “break-through” or a learning moment that has the potential to make you both physically and mentally stronger.

This learning allows you to make the necessary course corrections with your actions to achieve a better result.
Blisters form when you take on something new, something outside your comfort zone. They happen when you take on a risk or you step into a place of uncertainty. It is when you take action with intensity and for a duration where you break down barriers and expose weaknesses. This provides the learning that, when realized and applied to future actions, becomes a wisdom.

You may have realized now that “blisters” can be a metaphor for all forms of pain, physical and/or emotional.

I continually remind myself, in times of my own struggle or pain, of the Winston Churchill quote, “When you’re going through hell (i.e. pain), keep going!” In other words, keep taking action, don’t stay stuck in one place. The only time that you should delay your efforts, is to recover so that you can continue to move forward. The magic here is for you to continue taking action until you find that place where you enter into the loop of growth, where you experience discomfort and potentially pain, and you continue to adjust your actions so that you maintain the right level of discomfort to increasingly build the capacity that moves you towards your goal.

So… “Get in the GAME!!”

This is the first step in game theory. The second step is to recognize that you can only measure performance when you are playing in the game; and by playing I mean taking action and having fun.

Our next article will consider the claim that what gets measured, gets done…and whether this is a truism or not.
This series of articles for business leaders and entrepreneurs that are focused on achieving personal and business success, is written exclusively for Senior Living Magazine by Greg Martin the Chief Performance Officer at Where The Head Goes… Performance Systems

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