‘Your input shapes your outlook, your outlook shapes your performance and your performance shapes your results.’ Zig Zigler

Do you consider the context in which you live and work?  Do you, as a leader, consider the working context that has shaped your culture, professional relationships and output?

We don’t actually exist in a bubble, right?

Here’s a challenging thought:  our ability to create results (good or bad) are not achieved independently or innately….the biggest influencer of our results is who we spend our energy, time and focus with.

Let’s consider that.

We are all networked with other human beings. Some by choice, others by circumstance.  Regardless, as we engage with these other human beings we are exchanging resources – talents, energy, knowledge, ideas, behaviours, money and so on…

Not convincing you?  Think about the last time someone joined your team…did you hire them because of what they could BRING?  Did their integration into the team bring about new skills, ideas, networks and growth?  You gained access to that because you brought them into your network.  Therefore, a new branch was formed.

Here’s another thought: your drive, persistence and resilience alone is not enough.  This comes back to context (which relationships form a part of).  

You are what surrounds you.’ Benjamin Hardy

In an everyday context, we could use personal fitness as an example.  What is the likely success rate of being a regular exerciser, healthy eater and proactive individual if you are surrounded by those whose exercise is walking to the mailbox, or to the fridge; or those who are regular indulgers of fast food and high sugar foods; or those who are waiting for that big opportunity to come find them?

In another context, how could you develop the habits and knowledge of a successful entrepreneur or organisational leader if you surround yourself with those who are content 9-5ers?

This isn’t a criticism of 9-5ers.  It is a reality check. 

Despite your determination and resilience, you won’t become ‘boss of the year’ or a triathlete, unless you are spending time with, gaining knowledge from and learning the habits of these very people you hope to become.

These facts underpin the concept of environment design.

Essentially, if you are working toward better and bigger things, you need to build a surrounding environment that will support that.

Some tips:

  • Remove temptations from your reach, don’t burn precious energy having to constantly resist them.
  • Bring the ‘right’ temptations into reach e.g. people, podcasts, books that support your goals.
  • Consider the compound effect – little things become big things.  Be very intentional about what you allow to take seed in your mind/daily habits.
  • Practice intentional ignorance – do you really need to know about the latest war, national disaster, financial crises?
  • Be purposeful in work habits – devote your first 2 hours at work to creative/deep thinking.  Then check your emails.  Schedule your meetings after lunch.
  • Make sure you schedule time every week to get outside of the work mode!  Rejuvenate and re-energise your energy and perspective.

These environmental strategies (and other ideas) are all within your power to design.  Go to work!


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