At the core of Entrepreneurs' Organization (EO)'s mission is an unwavering commitment to helping entrepreneurs at every stage learn and grow. During Global Entrepreneurship Week, November 18-22, EO is hosting EO24/7, a five-day free virtual learning event aimed at empowering entrepreneurs with skills and strategies to reach new levels of leadership.
Brian Kight is a keynote speaker featured on EO24/7 offering leadership insights. He's also the founder and author of DailyDiscipline.com, which helps people build the discipline they need to get what they want as fast as possible. We asked Brian why understanding the driving beliefs behind both you and your business is key to increasing performance. Here's what he shared.
Of all the factors that drive business performance, none is more powerful and complex than the behavior of people: What they do, what they don't do, and how they do it. Behavior is easy enough to observe, but beliefs are a different story. Uncovering the driving beliefs behind individual behavior is difficult.
We know beliefs drive behavior, but we don't always know what our beliefs are--or where they came from. They prefer to be backstage operators rather than center-stage stars.
To better understand the basis of the beliefs that propel us, let's take a deeper look at nine ways beliefs get formed and integrated into our lives.
1. Chosen or absorbed?
Every belief has a source. You either absorbed it, or you chose it.
Absorbed beliefs come from an outside source like expectations from family, pressure from colleagues, popular trends and persuasive marketing. It's not an overstatement to say that your beliefs are under assault every day. If you don't choose your beliefs, you will absorb them.
Chosen beliefs come from one source: You. Intentionally choose what you believe to drive how you want to live. Build your business on a strong foundation of chosen principles, not a weak foundation of popular trends.
Choosing your beliefs may mean changing deeply held patterns you've never examined. Don't allow any belief to live within you that you have not investigated, tested and chosen for the value it brings to your life and work.
2. Foundational or Situational?
Beliefs you choose are measured by your commitment to them during inconvenient situations. No matter what beliefs you choose, you will face moments where the cost of living them carries a high price. Situational beliefs are easily dropped when they're inconvenient. Foundational beliefs don't waver when the price is high.
Situational beliefs are selectively applied depending on how you feel in the moment. They're based more on popularity than principle, hoping to avoid conflict or rejection.
Foundational beliefs are applied with discipline even when they're difficult. They're based on principle, not popularity.
Situational honesty vs. foundational honesty create drastically different behavior patterns. So do empathy, inclusivity, accountability and collaboration. These things can't be claimed when they're convenient and set aside when they're not.
3. Expressed or Hidden?
As you work to align belief and behavior, in yourself and in the people you lead, that includes expressing the beliefs that drive you. Expressing your beliefs doesn't mean they're right or effective, it means you're putting them on the table for yourself and others to understand.
Hidden beliefs lead to hidden agendas, false assumptions, dysfunction and disconnection. Expressing your beliefs through your attitude, actions and words forces you to articulate and own your internal drive. It creates confidence in your chosen, foundational beliefs and self-awareness of your absorbed, situational beliefs.
4. Improvement or Ego?
Some decisions are improved by limiting options, not by increasing them. This is one of those decisions. What's more important, your ego or your improvement? You have to choose. Not making a choice is choosing your ego.
Choosing ego sacrifices improvement. Choosing improvement sacrifices ego. There are no alternatives. Which one is more valuable?
5. Team or Individual?
There's a conflict at some point on every team between what's best for you and what's best for the group. Countries navigate this on a large scale. Organizations maneuver this on a medium scale. Families face this on a small scale.
Leaders often ask people to work selflessly, thinking of the team and not of themselves. That's a mistake because we all have a sense of self, and we protect our individuality, even on close teams.
Instead, do two things:
- See the team and individual as aligned units, each serving each other willingly, not as competing units.
- Conflict will happen, so choose whether you'll make the team sacrifice to meet your needs, or you'll sacrifice to meet the team's needs.
6. Go Win or Not Lose?
Winning and losing are beliefs first, behaviors second, and results third. Aiming to "not lose" is being controlled by fear of failure. Aiming to "go win" is being compelled by a desire to compete.
It's simple to observe people who want to "go win" compared to those who want to "not lose." One tests themselves in the arena, risking loss, to see if they have what it takes to win. The other avoids arenas that expose them, inventing bigger risks in their minds than reality actually presents.
7. Future or Past?
Efforts to maintain credibility can unintentionally create an anchor to the past. Pride reinforces a sense of achievement in having always done it this way. That pride is misguided. Your past self doesn't want you to remain the same. It wants you to be better than you were.
Your future self will be tested in ways you haven't been. Your future self needs skills you don't have. Your future self wants commitment to who you're becoming, not to who you've been. Your future self wants you to do the work now, so you're ready when you need to be.
8. Simple or Complex?
It seems as if you have to pay attention to more, coming at you faster, and it's getting harder. Even in the most complex environments, simple solutions present themselves all the time.
Complex issues don't require complicated solutions. As surroundings increase in complexity, excel by returning to simplicity.
Simple executes. Simple works. Simple wins.
9. Strength or Comfort?
Strength is built through discomfort. Strength is lost--and weakness grows--through comfort.
Don't misunderstand or abuse this relationship. Not all discomfort creates strength. Not all comfort creates weakness. Use good judgment. Consider scale, intensity and frequency.
But the relationship is reliable. Getting stronger, in anything, has to happen in part by exposing yourself to discomfort. Don't chase comfort. Chase strength and embrace discomfort.
Remember: Your behavior is the true reflection of your beliefs. The depth of your belief is displayed through the discipline of your action.