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Friday, June 5, 2009

Four Stages

Hello friends,

The other day I was reminded about a talk I heard years ago given by a leader in our industry. He spoke about the Four Stages of life. He said that at any given point in time everyone is always in one of these stages.

The stages are:

1-Building
2-Managing
3-Excusing
4-Blaming

Interestingly enough each stage easily leads into the the next stage unless disciplined action is taken. Only the first stage produces happiness and productivity. When we are "Building" we are in a state of advancement and that brings us the good things of life but more importantly it brings us deep personal satisfaction. During the "Building" stage we may be working like crazy and under all kinds of pressure but we don't find it unpleasant or unhealthy. In fact most people say that when they look back on their life it is the memories of those seasons when they were "Building" that bring them the most happiness.

The other three stages are a slippery slope leading to misery and disaster. When we slide from "Building" to "Managing" we are choosing to leave the role of leader and builder and become the person who says "Do what I say, not what I do." When we are honest with ourselves we know that example is more important than words and we go back to "Building" and set the proper example for others to follow.

If we don't break out of the slide and get back to "Building" we soon move from "Managing " to "Excusing". This is a miserable place. The person who is in this stage has an excuse for everything that goes wrong in his or her life. People in the "Excusing" stage are really unproductive because they spend so much of their time coming up with reasons why they are unproductive.

When a person is in the "Excusing" stage it is very hard to avoid the slide to the "Blaming" stage. That move is actually pretty short. It doesn't take much time to move from coming up with excuses for your failure to actually putting a name with the excuse or even as the excuse. When a person reaches the "Blaming" stage he or she is really at rock bottom. They have given up all personal accountability for their situation. As a result of choosing to blame others they no longer have confidence in their own ability to make things happen--it is always someone else's fault.

The good news is that any and all of us can decide in a split second to leave the "Managing", "Excusing" or even the "Blaming" stage and get back to "Building". We all have the ability to take response-ability for what happens to us and be a "Builder". At Unicity this choice carries huge implications because we are in the leadership business. What we do is what others will do. If we are "Managing" or "Excusing" or "Blaming" we will have many people in our organizations doing the exact same thing. But if we get back to "Building", and stay there, we will find the people in our organizations building too and that is what we call leverage.

People have asked me if it is possible to always stay in the "Building" stage and the answer is YES!!! In fact it is essential that you stay there, at least if you want to be happy and successful. So keep "Building", build new skills, build new habits and most of all build new leaders. You will feel great as you do!

All the best,
Stewart

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