Debunking the Myths

Do you find that what you've been taught over the years is no longer working for you, or do you keep yourself up to date with the latest benchmarks and trends?


Hi, this is Grant Herbert, Emotional Intelligence Speaker and Trainer of the Year and Sustainable Performance Coach, and today, I want to continue our conversation around leading yourself and others in a VUCA world by going a little bit deeper around one of the topics that we talked about last week, and that is removing the myths of the 20th century.


So over the last few weeks, we've been talking about VUCA shifts. We've been talking about leading yourself, leading process, leading others in this volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous VUCA world that we now operate in. 2020 has been one of those years that will stand out in all of our lives, where it's been even more of those four things on a daily basis.


One of the challenges that we talked about last week was where people continue to navigate today's world with last century's strategies, last century's tactics. And one of those areas that really got a lot of feedback in my social media posts over the last few weeks was where I talked about work-life-balance and time management.


When we, as leaders, both of self, of staff, and of people, try to navigate that using out of date tactics, out of date strategies, it's no wonder that we are more exhausted at the end of the day. It's no wonder why we don't get as much done as we want to get done. It's no wonder that there's so much conflict and stress and things going on because what worked before, what got us to where we are, isn't going to take us to where we need to go.


And it's a pet peeve of mine when people continue to teach stuff that was from before to just continue to get their point across and to get their programs out there or whatever it may be. So, one of the things that I want to make sure that I do is always stay up to date. I'm always teachable. I believe you're either green and growing or you're ripe and rotting, and I'd rather be green and growing any day.


So, I'm continuing to make sure that I test and I measure what it is that I'm being taught. I'm looking at its validity and its relevance right now. And that's for me in my own life and my own journey. I'm a believer of just-in-time learning, rather than just-in-case learning. So, it's not about just getting heaps of information. It's about getting strategies, getting learnings, getting tips for right now that I can implement in my daily life and get results in any area of my life.


The two myths that I talked about that many people related to with are the myths of time management and work-life-balance. Work-life-balance in itself is an oxymoron, and it's no wonder no one ever achieves it.


Let me tell you, lots of books have been written about it. Lots of people have created programs around it. Lots of people who do what I do have taught you how to go after work-life-balance. And it was a number of years that I realised that that was the biggest challenge. It's something that is not achieved.


It's a myth. So, I'm going to do what I can to help you to unlearn that teaching from the past so that you can draw a line in the sand and be ready to be able to go forward with what you need to learn to navigate your life right now.


Work and life are not separate. Work is something that is a part of life. Work is something that you do for a particular part of your life. And I know for a lot of us, that's a big chunk. However, it's not in competition with life. It's actually a part of it. So when we're trying to balance two things that are in essence are one, they're together, no wonder we're not able to do it.


For me, being able to look at my life as the overarching thing, and then to look at the different elements of my life, whether that be with my own self-care, my family, my friendships, my career, my work, whatever it is, it's being able to integrate those in my life with each other.


It's about being able to make sure that I have my priorities in place, like we talked about a few weeks ago. My true priorities, not my priorities that are performance-based lead, making sure that I'm giving enough energy to my priorities, not trying to get it all perfect. Years ago, I read a book called Perfect Balance, and I thought, "This is fantastic. This is what we're looking for." And then I realised that the challenge with that as well is the word "perfect".


When we're trying to take something that's fluid and we're trying to put it into a particular container in a perfect way, we're not going to get the results we want. In fact, it's going to be quite frustrating. Taking a different look at it, having a shift in mindset to realise that it's not work-life-balance we're looking for, it's not perfect balance we're looking for, where we've got one of those wheels that we used to use years ago, and we broke it up into the various parts of our life and we made sure that we had an equal amount of time and energy went into each of those.


No, that doesn't work, and it never really did. When we have that shift and realise that what we've got to do is look at the fact that balance for me is probably different than what balance looks like for you.  Even the word "balance", let's shake that up a little bit. Balance is like, "Whoa, I'm on the edge. And I'm trying to hold on here. I'm trying to balance. I'm riding on a one wheel unicycle instead of having a tricycle that's going to keep me on the ground." No.


So, it's not about juggling, it's not about balancing. Language is so important. What it's really about is allocation of energy to priorities. And the work that I do around productivity, and we'll talk about time management in a moment, we're going to dispel that myth as well.


But, the area I do in productivity is all about having enough energy, having enough bandwidth, as I like to call it, to get done and be who I need to be in every area of my life. So, the first myth that we want to really leave behind today is the myth of work-life-balance.


So, the second myth, as we've talked about, is this thing called time management. Managing time is not something that is our responsibility or within our control. I don't know whether you've ever tried to turn your clock back an hour and then have the world fall into place with your schedule. It doesn't work.


It's bad enough when we have daylight savings change here in Australia or other places of the world. And it throws everything out into pandemonium and people turn up on calls an hour late or an hour early or whatever. So, it's not about being able to manage time and manipulate time.


And the three areas that I introduced you to a couple of weeks ago that you can control, that you have some sort of control over, and that you can strategically move towards it is your priority management, your environment management, and your energy management. And I believe that the way that you manage your priorities and your environment affects your energy.


So, let's stop trying to manage time and let's see what we can do to get our priorities in the right place, to get our environment conducive to be able to shift when we need to. So, I'm not talking about an environment that is a utopia. Everything's clean, everything's perfect. I've got my calendar all set out and I can just run that and I know it's going to work. No, because things happen.


What I'm talking about is having an environment that allows us to flow and change without it being a big disruption, to be able to have things set in concrete. I call them my non-negotiables that say, "I need to get these done. I'm going to prioritise these before I do anything else. Because if I get those done, they are moving me towards my bigger picture. Then, I can do other things." So, the second myth that we want to dispel and replace and shift our mindset from is the myth of time management.


So, how do we do this? Let me just give you a few little tips that I've learned from great mentors, from people who I've listened to over the years who I've then gone and implemented what they taught me and has allowed me to get my level of productivity to get my energy management a little bit closer to where I'd like it to be.


And I want us to understand that too that I'm not all it here. I don't have it all together. I'm a work in progress. And I believe that that is one of the keys is we need to realise that things will shift. Things will change. So, it's continuous improvement, not perfection, that I seek.


So, the first area that we want to look at which affects both the whole work-life-balance thing that we want to shift and time management is our priorities. Going back and having a look at, "Okay, what's my purpose? What's my bigger picture? What is it that I'm really wanting to achieve here? What is it that's most important to me and the future direction that I have?"


And then getting clear on that, getting clear on, as I said, from a self-care perspective, not a Performance Trap perspective of pleasing others, what's most important to me? What fits my values? What fits my ethics? What is my overall purpose in life? Why am I here? Why am I on the planet? What was I created for? Getting that big picture in place first, before we learn any skills.


I like to make sure that anything that I put together with my team, for our clients, for the people that we serve, starts at a foundation level. And that's the foundation of who do I need to be. So, who do I need to be in my work today? Who do I need to be at home today? Who do I need to be in my business today? So, getting those things like our priorities, our values, what's most important to us, our "why", however you language it, getting that together first is the most important thing.


And the second thing is then to shift to that next level, and that is the skills. So, learning skills around productivity, leveraging efficiency, whatever it is that you're wanting to increase your capacity in now that we've got the foundation built. And some of those skills that I have been able to learn are contrary to what I'd learned in the past.


Now years ago, for productivity, we would do things like write out long lists. And then what we would do is we would look at that list and go, "Okay, what are the A priorities? What are the B's and what are the C's?" And then we'd go back to the A's and we'd go, "Okay, what's the most important A? Is that I want?"


And then we'd put a two and put a three, and then we systematically go through that list. And before we went to bed that night, we would get that list and we would take the things that we didn't get done, and we'd moved them onto the list for tomorrow. And the next morning we would go through that same process again.


Now, whilst that may have worked back then, the volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous world that we live in right now does not allow that to be a strategy that works anymore because to go through that process in that much detail, something's probably already shifted while you're doing that.


So for me, it's just about having a clear understanding first at a bigger picture level as to who do I need to be to get the things done today that I need to get done so that I can have the results that I want to have.


That whole be-do-have model, which still works today, and then working on those areas of my identity, working on my personal power, making sure that I've got my energy management in place and working on the self-care and those things, rather than tactics for writing out lists or putting things in calendars or those sorts of things, because it's that energy management which is going to help to get more things done.


That's all I wanted to do this week, because a few of you had really related to that post and said, "Hey, I can totally understand that." And I'm really glad that you've done that shift in mindset.


So, what we're going to continue to do moving forward is, now that we've done those shifts in our mindset, we are going to get into some practical strategies around how to navigate the VUCA world, how to get more productive, how to position ourselves for the win, how to have relationships that are collaborative, rather than cause conflict. And those areas in our personal, our project or professional, and our people leadership.


By the way, last week, we finished our Emotional Intelligence Online Summit. It was amazing. We had people from all around the world and if that was you and you were there, I'd really love you to get in touch. Tell us what it was that you learned from that. What decisions did you make at that summit? What shifts did you make in your mindset that's going to change you and allow you to navigate beyond COVID-19?


Those videos are still up for a couple of days. So if you haven't come along or you didn't register for the event and you would love to hear some about that, please go to, and you can get the recordings there. So, I just wanted to say thank you to all the speakers and to our team for making that happen. It was an amazing event.


Well, that's it from me for this week. Join me again next week, where we go deeper and look at more strategies to be able to make the VUCA shift and become the leader that we need to be in this volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous world that we're working in. I'll see you then.

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