by Linda Wawrzyniak, author of “Million Dollar Adjustments: The Power of Small Changes on Performance, Productivity, and Peace“
“How did I do?”, he asked me. Dave had just taken the signature PAR test I’d developed to analyze behavior patterns that impact work and performance. He was very interested in knowing how it turned out, especially compared to other people.
“You did great”, I assured him. Then I continued, “I see that when you are unsure about your next move, you tend to get a little caught up in the moment and you doubt yourself. I would venture to say you tend to overthink the outcome a little, am I right?” Dave immediately agreed and validated this with examples. Then the question that I always get came next. “What can I do about this in order to get better?”
Having tested thousands of high performers over many years, I have learned that so often they don’t really know what their own success process looks like until I show them the results of their test. Then it becomes almost an instant “ah ha” moment.
A success process is made up of hundreds of adjustments. Success is rarely a straight line. If what you are doing goes well, great. If not, you have to modify a bit and try again. The adjustments that you make are unique to you and Dave’s process will look different from yours. In the analysis of many of tests, I have found that the difference comes down to five basic things. These are; Beliefs, Strategic actions, Internal timing, Information synthesis and knowledge. The PAR test looks at where a person falls in each category and provides a roadmap as to where to go next. If you want to learn more about your own success process, my book, Million Dollar Adjustments, includes an Adjustment Awareness Audit (AAA) that will give you information about your key tendencies.
Your unique success process will undoubtedly include the need to have skills in some area. With better skills you will see more success. When you experience more success, you are willing to refine those skills and continue to build new ones as well. This cycle is the reason for adjustments. The better adjustments are made, the sooner you see success.
In order to get started in building an impactful success process, three things are necessary. First, define the top skills that matter in your work. Second, define your timeline in acquiring those skills and, third, use the five elements of adjustment to get you there.
For example, Stacey is an entrepreneur. She knows that selling is a top skill needed and gives herself a three-month window of time to improve it. Selling doesn’t come easy to Stacey so she decides to investigate her adjustment pattern first, which is smart. The reason is that once she learns about various selling strategies, she will have to pick some and try them. In those trials, there will be uncertainty and possible failure. If she doesn’t know ahead of time how she makes adjustments, she could resign herself to doubt and stall out on her skill development. But if she knows her adjustment patterns, then she will know what to do next.
While the AAA or the Signature PAR test (found at www.majorleagueconsulting.com) can tell you more specifically about your unique pattern, there are some things that you can do right now with three of the five elements that will improve upon almost any adjustment pattern.
1. Use One Simple Word.
The word, “adjustment”, is one that you should write down on post-it notes and put all over your workspace. This word tells us that it’s ok not to have it all figured out at once and that we can learn and improve as we go. This should allow us to breathe a little, right? When we adopt the idea of adjustment, we allow ourselves a chance to develop a healthy success process, rather than a stress-filled, negative one. Use this word when you realize you have an improvement to make, rather than spending negative energy beating yourself up.
2. Identify Your Timing.
Emotions, as well as other things, control the speed at which we accomplish goals. Pay attention to the way you slow down or speed up in situations that create tension in your life. If you find that you are not reaching your goals in a reasonable amount of time, you may need to tweak your internal timing. One simple way to increase or decrease the rhythm in your head is to have an audible rhythm in the background in your office or home. This rhythm should be set to a pace that you want to work at and should be loud enough to hear. It should be realistic and used for the most important tasks or during the skills you’re trying to learn.
3. Go on the Offense.
How proactive are you when facing your work? Do you jump right in or take a laid-back approach? In order to see your goals come to reality faster, you may need to go on the offense. This may mean doing more or it could mean better planning. It could also mean reaching out to new people or established relationships more often. Offense simply means that you are acting first rather than responding to someone else’s actions. While there are 2 basic offensive strategies, direct and preemptive. When you need to get something done quickly, go with a direct offense, meaning that you will spend more time and energy up front to “attack” the skill learning more aggressively. This will help you see progress more quickly and build confidence. Higher confidence does wonders for motivation and positive mindset!
Everyone wants to hit more home runs in life. After I tested Dave and we reviewed his adjustment pattern, we worked to optimize it. Within a month he was hitting more home runs in his life, feeling less anxious and reaching goals. Whether your homerun is in sports, business or life, when you learn about and use your unique adjustment pattern to your advantage, you will score big and experience more success.
Linda Wawrzyniak is an international human development and transformation consultant to high-performance professional sports & Fortune 500 organizations. In 2019 founded Major League Consulting, LLC where she uses the highly successful Performance Adjustment Test (PAR) to speed up the development process for high performers in effective and non-stressful ways. She is author of “Million Dollar Adjustments: The Power of Small Changes on Performance, Productivity, and Peace“.