In Part 1 we identified our simple piece of advice. What is the common misconception about getting through a challenging task or activity and what most people don’t try but perhaps should? As a refresher the piece of advice we gave when you hit that brick wall was…

Study your past success, then find ways to replicate it.

First: Identify your past success.

To start, you need to look into the past to identify those nuggets of golden goodness. That might be last week or last month, for some, it could even be thinking back two years or more! From my experience, the longer you have to think back the harder it is but also, the more rewarding this exercise will be. To make it easier, here are a few things you should look for as signs of successful behavior in your past (courtesy of Gallup, Inc).

  1. Yearning — What is it that you are naturally drawn to? This could also help you think of past situations when you have followed this longing.
  2. Rapid Learning — Think of a time when you picked up a new activity quickly.
  3. Flow — What activities have you automatically picked up without any guidance. You automatically know the steps to be taken. You might also find you lose track of time during this task.
  4. Glimpses of Excellence — This is that surprising moment when you catch yourself doing something with excellence, “How did I do that?”
  5. Satisfaction — Finally, think of when you got a kick out of doing a certain task or completing it. It leaves you wanting to do the thing again and again.

These all point towards behaviours you have used when you have been successful. If the example you think of has some of these traits, make sure you take note. See if it starts to bring other similar memories back into the front of your mind. As soon as you identify these elements, things can only get easier. It’s also helpful to ask others who know you well, what it is they think you do better than anyone else.

Second: “Find ways to replicate your success.”

Now you have identified these previous behaviours; you’re going to want to attack your metaphorical brick wall with them. There is a good chance you already intuitively know what you need to do. But either way, here are a few suggestions.

Discuss it with your boss, manager, or best friend at work.
It’s always a good idea to speak with a colleague before trying something like this. Be open with them, let them know you’ve been struggling with a certain task and that you’d like to try to approach it in a new way. Sometimes brainstorming this approach with others is helpful. It might be that they identify your examples as strengths and encourage you by reinforcing those behaviours. They might even have ideas about how you can re apply those past behaviours to the challenge you currently face.

What do you need to replicate these same patterns with today’s challenge?
Is there anything preventing you from replicating these behaviours? It could be that you need a partner with complementary talents. Maybe you need your manager to give you more autonomy and more freedom with the task you’re trying to complete. It might be something practical like more budget or access to some new software.

These are some ideas to get you started, so see what happens. You might find your own unique way to start replicating your most natural behaviours. Feel free to share what works and what doesn’t by using the comments below.

Image by Shoot N’ Design