“If you’re sick of bad things happening to you, stop putting up with it and demand better.” Sandra Oh – Grey’s Anatomy.
Recently we looked at the first part of the new Ingenius Coaching tag line – Crave More. To ensure we have a good segway here, I would summarise craving more as the deep desire for something real and meaningful – beyond sugar highs of life’s temporal fixes.
So, if craving more is about desiring something meaningful, than demanding better is having the courage to seek and ask for a world that goes beyond what you thought possible – something of greater quality and greater value.
The Oxford dictionary defines demand as “to ask authoritatively”. And where authoritatively means “in a way that is trusted as being accurate or true”
Put them together and demand is a powerful way of asking for something in a way that can be trusted, accurate and true. WOW!!
What do you need to trust in yourself that is accurate and true – for you – yet you have not asked for?
In my nearly 20 years of coaching I have found that one of the most difficult things most leaders have in common is the ability to ask. When I have dug deeper into the issue it seems that to ask for help is a sign of weakness. The implication is that the leader is not capable and will look silly. Dig even deeper and it goes to the leader feeling like a fraud or a phoney.
A recent example I had was a client who, although the CEO of a large Not for Profit in the health area, but not an expert on the disease for which the NFP is vested to support, would avoid important meetings that he was meant to be in or run, for fear of being found out as not knowing the disease. And worse still, he would not ask for help from those who do know. The consequence was the NFP losing funding and him being frustrated, stressed and unable to build a strong team. Ouch.
As leaders if we ask for something in a way that can be trusted, accurate and true (aka demand), we can grow ourselves, our teams and our lives.
When my client realised – because he knew it to be true – that he needed to trust his people, he began to bravely ask for help. And the response he got was amazing.
A little aside, when I ask clients what the most purposeful thing they do or want to do more of in their lives, the top answer (as simple as it sounds) is to help others. When we take this opportunity away from others we are taking away the opportunity for them to live more purposefully. Yet when we ask for help, we are creating the space for more purposeful lives in all those around us. And from Harvard research (Harvard professor – Teresa Amabile) giving people purpose and meaning in their work is more important than almost all other reward-based motivators.
The second word better is defined by the Oxford dictionary as “improve on, be more effective or surpass”.
I am going to be a bit controversial here. My experience says this – most people, although saying they want to improve, instead, through their words and behaviour choose to play it safe. It is in them to see and feel what is possible, but in their world’s, they do little to improve, be more effective or surpass. And the deep frustration builds quietly. Know what I mean?
Why? There is no one answer here, yet here are some examples I have heard from clients (and myself):
- What would I have to give up?
- What if I fail? Look bad?
- I’m doing OK. So why change?
- What will others think?
- I’m too busy. Too exhausted.
- I’ll start tomorrow/next week/next year.
- I’m not (good) enough.
- It’s too hard.
And there is more…
But underpinning all of these fears, excuses and justifications, is the need to be safe. It is a primal thing. No one is immune from this human disease.
Do you want to be safe or could you possibly take the risk to be brave – one action or thought at a time. Do you really want better – for your life, your health, your relationships, your wealth, your career, your leadership, your team.
Demand Better are not just a couple of words I plucked from the sky. They are powerful words I chose carefully after reflection, deep thinking and even some meditation on the road.
Bringing it ALL together (and with some poetic licence), to Crave More and to Demand Better is
The deep desire for something meaningful and true, you can courageously ask for, that surpasses your wildest dreams.
What’s your Crave More? What’s your Demand Better??
[Final note – If you cannot answer the above questions please contact us. Maybe we can help].