I recently attended a Mastermind Conference in Toronto in which we discussed our individual Personal Operating System. It’s humorous that the director of the group refers to our Personal Operating System as POS. Not sure about you, but when I hear POS, I first think “piece of ….” and then maybe “point of sale.” Perhaps that is just me. Regardless of how humorous I found the title, what I learned from the session was a game changer for me.
Beliefs, Values & Rules
A good chunk of our time was spent defining our beliefs, values and rules associated with them…among other things. The game changer for me was the rules portion. We considered these ideas in both our personal and professional lives. The personal application spoke to me.
Our group of ~20 financial professionals learned that beliefs and values can be difficult for an individual to change; for many people it’s easier to change our “rules”, which can then prompt a change in values and beliefs.
A rule is basically a belief of what has to happen in order to obtain some value. It is our own definition of what is “fair” and how the world ought to work. For instance, a rule might be, “If someone doesn’t return my call/email, they don’t care about me.” Rules can be incorrect due to faulty perception and they can be in conflict (sleep more vs. workout). The good news is that rules can be changed!
The Game Changer
Many times we create rules, like the example above, that are dependent upon the behavior of another person or circumstance beyond our control. Whenever that happens, we set ourselves up to feel failure, disappointment, regret…all things that feed us with negative energy and can turn any day into a lousy one.
Here is the game changer. We need to create rules that we are in control of, not dependent on anyone else. I started thinking about this in my personal life, and realized that many of my “rules” were dependent on someone else. During the break, I called my wife and asked her how she determines whether she is a successful mom. It came down to how our kids acted – things beyond our control.
I shared with her what I learned, knowing that she has questioned her value as a mother when dealing with sometimes difficult kids. To avoid getting too personal, I will share a broad rule she subsequently created, “I am a successful mom when I teach my children correct principles.”
Creating the right rules impacts our self-identity, mood and ultimately our relationships with others. Upon returning from Toronto, I spent time listing rules that I am in complete control of for some of the most important aspects of my life: A Successful Husband, A Successful Dad, A Good Disciple.
Power of Perspective
The other day I was chatting with a friend. We spoke about life and faith. I shared with him the above experience. Afterwards he said, “you know, my mom thinks she has failed my sister. And my sister lets her know it. But she didn’t fail…” and then he listed all the wonderful qualities and sacrifices his mom made for all of his siblings. He thanked me for the message and said he will share it with his mom.
Sometimes having the right perspective makes all the difference. While it is nice to hear how wonderful other people think we are, it may be even more important to tell it to ourselves…and actually believe it. Having the right rules is a good first step to getting there.
As I am writing this, I am wondering “Am I the only one that sees such power in this message?” Maybe, maybe not. Do me a favor – if you found value in this message or know someone that would, share it with them. Great things are often achieved by insignificant means.