Felt Need Definition
Over time, the speed of life creates a mixed bag of erroneous strategic beliefs that combine to produce a list of specific felt needs. Felt needs are the emotions we feel as a result of unresolved questions and challenges. What are those felt needs? There are many, but I believe that essentially two are the most significant. Each of them can be traced to a lack of clarity. Here is a brief discussion of each and why they are caused by a lack of clarity:
1. "There is not enough time to do all I have to do": Anything worth doing should be done – period! When something is worth doing, there are always options available to get it done. For example, I recently met with a CEO client of a billion, dollar company who wanted to develop a new program that would add value for the company's corporate customers. The idea involved his company doing some things it had never done before, and the CEO's perception was that everyone was too busy to take on the new project. He said they just didn't have enough human bandwidth to get it done.
I told the CEO that the problem might not be a lack of bandwidth; instead, the real problem was a probable lack of clarity regarding how the idea would work and what the details of the program would require. The problem seemed like a human bandwidth issue because of the time and effort it would take to turn the strategy into an effective process his people could execute comfortably. His perception (belief) was that it would take too much time for his people to work out the bugs and become effective.
That his people were busy and had packed calendars was a reality, and the feeling of not having enough time was legitimate. However, the problem was not a time problem; it was a clarity deficiency. I pointed out that the new project could be farmed out to a third party to execute and work out the bugs and gain the clarity they needed to make the program work.
Then, when the correct model was factually known and understood, it could be handed off to his people, and they would be able to quickly become effective. This solution required the CEO to change a strategic belief. Again, the problem was not a lack of human bandwidth it was a lack of clarity.
2. "The results I am experiencing are less than I want or expect": It is only when you begin to do things differently that your results will begin to change and improve. Only a small percentage of the things you do are high-leverage activities that can significantly move the results needle. Superior results come from the ability to focus daily on high-leverage activities that have the power to make a real difference. Clarity enables you to identify those high-leverage activities and remain focused on them. For example, after my friend George Burke duplicated himself in others, he suddenly discovered lots of additional time that allowed him to focus on the high leverage activities, which allowed him to double his revenues in eighteen months.
If you relate to the above conditions, it's a fair assumption that you need to adjust one or more of your strategic beliefs.
This is a polite way of saying that you need to develop a new way of thinking about what it takes to really be successful in your professional and personal life. You believe some things to be true that are not, and the probable cause is a lack of clarity. George Burke believed he had reached the ceiling of success for his business, which was not true. He had no clarity about how to break through that ceiling, but he wanted to. Fortunately, he had the most important ingredient: willingness! All George needed was clarity to make it happen.
Do you agree that you may have some things in your belief window you believe to be true that aren't? If you don't think that statement is accurate, I want to challenge you with this little exercise. Take a piece of paper and travel back in your mind about ten years. Try to make a short list of some things you believed ten years ago that you no longer believe. For example:
- Have you changed your spiritual beliefs?
- Have you changed your political persuasion?
- Have you made changes in value judgments about certain people?
You should be able to come up with several things for your list. What are the chances that ten years from today you will be able to do the same exercise and get the same results? I'd say it's somewhere in the vicinity of 100 percent! This means you have things in your belief window today that you will reject as false over the next ten years. This little exercise demonstrates that there is a high probability that you currently believe some things to be true that aren't true – you just haven't yet acquired enough new information that will allow you to change your opinions. However, until you willingly let go of your false beliefs, they will limit all that you do.
Your problem and mine is that we are in a state of not knowing what we believe to be true that is not true. Right now, we think that everything we believe is true. The only way to purge our incorrect beliefs is to expose them – and we need to adopt a process that will help us expose them. Becoming clear about what you really want is a huge step in that direction.
You Can Live in the Problem, or You Can Live in the Solution
The challenges that accompany the speed of life are real, but there are far more opportunities than problems. Every day you make a choice about your attitude, which is shaped by your belief window. If you believe life is just a big pile of problems, you will be less than optimistic about the future.
On the other hand, if you believe life is iust a nonstop joy ride of unending bliss, you are going to get a rude awakening when real problems darken your door. The truth is that life is a combination of problems and blessings, and you are going to experience both from time to time. A far better view of life recognizes both conditions but is committed to the importance of living in solutions rather than problems.
When I conduct strategy sessions with my clients and we begin the process of building clarity, there is frequently a mind-set that has to be overcome about living in the problems. For some reason, the human mind naturally seems to gravitate to all the reasons that something can't be done. It happens over and over again, and it is caused by a belief window that makes it difficult to think in terms of solutions.
When someone casts a vision for something new, the kneejerk response is to immediately think of all the reasons it won't work. The focus is totally on living in the problems and obstacles that will block doing the new thing. When you are not clear about what you really want, your natural tendency will be to emphasize problems rather than solutions.
If you choose to live in solutions, the world eagerly awaits your dreams and provides every tool and opportunity you need to turn them into reality. However, if you choose to live in problems, you will see little opportunity. This is where clarity can make such a huge difference in results. When you lack clarity about what you really want, you will find yourself being pushed toward living in problems. When you have clarity about what you really want, you will be pulled toward living in solutions. Living in solutions allows you to become more effective in all you do. To find out more, you can check out Felt Need Definition.
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