“How you going to feed that pig?” My grandfather’s question rendered me speechless. I had been saving to buy a pig for months, and when somebody gave me a dollar for my sixth birthday, I had $5 to buy the pig. Then he said: “I have a deal for you. I’ll furnish the feed for your pig, and you can furnish the labor to feed the pigs. Then, when your pig grows up and has pigs of her own, we can split the litter, each of us will get half.”
I got my first memorable lesson about ownership that day. With a few minutes of inspired conversation (which remains etched crystal clear in my memory decades later), he had used my self-interest to get me to do farm chores, and I felt like an actual partner.
In more than 3 decades of professional work with organizations and teams, I have not encountered a better example of building ownership. My grandfather not only got me to willingly participate in the family economic system, but he also made it part of my self-interest. This is the key to developing people’s ownership for a goal or a project, and I have seen it work over and over in communities, organizations, businesses, families, and athletic teams.
As a USA National Team coach for four different sports, I’ve learned the best way to develop a team involves empowering everyone to participate. I have come to realize that the best organizations, communities and even families, benefit from this empowerment process.
So, if you will allow me, I’d like to “pay forward” what I’ve discovered over the years of being an author, publisher, and producer.
What are the 5 Stages of Bringing an Intention into Reality?
Due to my childhood learning disabilities, obesity and joint disease,I was forced to create a deliberate method of skill acquisition and refinement. Those motor learning skills colored my entire life with a kinesthesia prism. “Flow” in movement seeped into the other aspects of my life: social, familial, financial, vocational, mental, and spiritual. Although the physical tools allowed me to step on the world championship mat and sometimes, impossibly, win, it wasn’t until I integrated those discoveries into the rest of my life that they became valuable… for athletics is merely a vehicle, not a destination.
Making the Unconscious Process an Conscious Application
Understand these steps, and you can move beyond the automated process of acquiring a skill that most “normally wired” people undergo. You may say,“why would I want to make conscious what can be done unconsciously?” Well, the answer to that is this: allowing your learning process to be automatic works just fine until you encounter a skill or situation you’re not acquiring or refining efficiently. (For me, swimming upstream from the shallow end of the gene pool, that was just about every skill, even writing and public speaking where my thoughts must be consciously reviewed to ensure that I’m actually communicating intelligently, rather than spewing gibberish.)
However, understand the unconscious process which works automatically on easy skills, and you can consciously apply that process when you encounter a truly challenging skill. For instance, if you’d like to take your financial investments to the next level, map out precisely the necessary steps and started taking action on them; you can’t improve what you don’t systematically track. Or, how about getting that promotion or starting that new venture you’ve been sitting on: sketch out the storyboard, and you bring it to a measurable, knowable reality… which you INTEND. Intention manifests reality, from the quantum level up.
Physical development exactly parallels any of the other aspects of one’s life. The very same process which gave someone of my physical challenges the chance to become a world champion, allowed me to become a published author and public speaker, despite being institutionalized in a children’s psychiatric hospital for my learning disabilities.
I. The Embryonic Stage
With each new challenge, your intention with your trusted confidants. Open-source dialogue allows you to consider the novelty, relevance, and necessity of the potential feedback. Throw everything on the wall to see what sticks.
Flush out an idea, and “think-tank” a new intention with my group for alternate perspectives, and you can grow beyond even your own expectations.
Making your Embryonic Stage aerodynamic requires understanding your purpose, audience, voice, position and organization (of the intention and its execution).
II. The Creeping Stage
Growth can happen with the process of developing the intention. The process may introduce something new, relevant and necessary (in other words, valuable), so prepare to research. Gather all of the information available, and work with your team to critically assess the viability of the intention.
The Creeping Stage ends at the beginning of planning. The planning phase of your intention starts the Crawling Stage.
III. The Crawling Stage
The Creeping Stage overlaps the Crawling Stage because the feedback must continue as the content skeleton begins to unfold. As you sketch out your plan, loopholes appear; and typically, always one major monkey-wrench gets thrown into the cogs of the machine.
Expect these hurdles to happen and mentally prepare for their appearance so you can calmly sail by these “successful failures.” The difference between the successful and the unsuccessful, the be-all and the would-be, is that the former expects these hardships and enthusiastically embraces them as opportunities to strengthen the intention and its execution.
“Nothing gives one person so much advantage over another as to remain always cool and unruffled under all circumstances,” wrote Thomas Jefferson.
By the end of the Creeping Stage, have etch your plan into the calendar, with each little step well-defined. Integrate the schedule with the rest of your life. By scheduling it, you have “found” the time to do it.
IV. The Standing Stage
When an intention proves to be both realistic and feasible, feel secure enough in your risk analysis to take the big jump and “stick your neck out” on it. Now begins your implementation phase, the commitment step of consistent dedication. Before Standing, it’s just a dream, an idea. But when you Stand up and out, you make something real. You give it feet and tell it to start striding forward.
Although you may have had doubts in the prior stages, all that’s over now. It’s like the difference between walking to the mat, and the match starting. That last 15 seconds of walking to the mat after your name is called are the longest in life, but once begun, it’s all business.
When you Stand, you can properly survey the entire scope of your project, because all manner of hazards, obstacles and pitfalls become obvious. From the ground, they’re concealed, but now you know where they are, and know what you need to do. That’s why dedication is so resolute, and why so few people actually complete an intention: they failed to stand and got stuck in planning for everything to be perfect. It’ll never be perfect. But it will be awesome.
When I decide to “stand up” for a project, I’ve already committed myself. Like one of my teachers in Russia told me on the rocky beach of the Black Sea, “you’re only allowed to prepare to compete again, if you win.” He chose his words well. He didn’t tell say, “if you intend to win.”
When you stand up for an intention, follow through. Period. All the contracts are signed. All the steps made. All of the people are prep’ed and ready to roll. Time to go.
V. The Walking Stage
Walking is the daily grind. In this final stage, allow all of your preparation to unfold.
Most people typically ONLY see the Walking Stage of an intention, because it’s most obvious to the observer when a project is being undertaken. Like a swan floating effortlessly across a pond, the onlooker fails to see all of the feverish planning of the kicking feet which propelled the tranquil journey.
As the greatest swordsman who ever lived, Myamoto Musashi, wrote, “you can see the shape by which I am victorious, but you cannot see the form by which I guarantee victory.” Truly courageous people define all of the tedious minutia on the front-end, prime and pool the stamina necessary to endure its execution, and muster the courage to stand-up. Only then do they move forward.
Each day tick off your assignment.
“What first we find impossible, we later deem unlikely, and eventually accept as inevitable.” Bill Bennet, business and author
To thrive deliberately rather than merely survive reactively, make this learning process conscious.
www.breathinggift.com (my free book and video for you)