Are you on Autopilot?
Updated: Jun 16
When asked that question, I froze. Why? There are so many things that motivate me off autopilot because I love variety, I love to plan ahead and get excited, and I love to expand my network by meeting new and interesting people. But I froze because I knew in my gut, my answer was a hard YES. Ugh!
But wait. Was this a bad thing? In some ways, no. Our bodies thrive on consistent exercise, scheduled fuel, and sleep. It’s the other ways I had become on autopilot that made me wake up.
Here are a few examples:
I found myself turning down invitations for nighttime events because it messed with my evening routine - why? Because I enjoyed having dinner and spending the evening with my husband - but I spend every evening with him so how would this even matter? Good question.
I found myself doubting the value of a new assessment before even exploring its application to my clients - why? Because I am inundated with assessment recommendations and sometimes, I’m just tired of another one coming down the pipeline. Good reason but being uninformed doesn’t serve my clients. New research brings forth new information and my complacency isn’t a good habit.
I turned down an invitation to join a networking group. It was an inconvenient time, it had a cost that didn’t prove an obvious value exchange, and my business thrives off deepening my relationships, not just who you meet. Decent decision and I kept the group’s information for when it might be a good fit.
I found myself spending more time writing, practicing a new keynote speech, and working in my business rather than carving out time to reach out and talk on the phone or virtually to deepen my relationships with clients, fellow coaches, and potential organization contacts. Ah - this is the downsize of autopilot. I recognized the feelings associated with whom I missed talking to when reflecting on this and knew I had done everyone I know disfavor. This needed to stop, and I needed to redirect my time to where it matters most. So, if you see me calling and going to your voicemail, you know why. I miss you and want to catch up so I know how to support you down the road or whenever you have a challenge to handle.
I also found myself putting off starting new Peer groups because I got stuck in perfectionism - worst autopilot ever!!!! I’ve since cured that - new peer groups are forming and the first one is starting 1 Feb 2023!! I’ve never been more excited! (See announcement below)
Where are you on Autopilot?
Where are your autopilot habits getting in the way of the real rewards you seek? For example:
Are you having conversations with your direct reports as regularly as you know they want?
Are you procrastinating the performance reviews because you think they won’t like what they hear?
Are you tired of trying to hire people simply because the last few hires haven’t worked out?
Are you taking care of your health?
Are you too busy being busy to be the most effective leader you need to be for those who are still working for you?
Are you in the habit of working and missing kids’ activities?
You can’t get time back.
You can’t get your health back once it’s gone.
You can’t recreate the experience of you as a great leader if you don’t do it when it’s needed.
You can’t make up for experiences your team needs with you at a more convenient time.
To get off autopilot you need a hard conversation with yourself about what matters most today for a more successful tomorrow. Keep in mind, it’s OK to break the mold of what you think you’re supposed to do and do what you feel matters most for those who matter most.
Wake up! Get off Autopilot!
And yes, it can feel hard, especially if you don’t know how your behaviors and habits keep you on autopilot. To help you recognize a way forward, I offer several services (1:1 coaching, Peer groups (NEW), retreats (NEW), and assessments (and yes there are NEW ones here too). I’m also recommending a podcast and a book.
Podcast recommendation: I love listening to Dr. Peter Attia on Optimizing Life for Maximum Fulfillment as he reveals interesting ways to look at our health in new ways that bust old myths, new scientific ways we can apply to increase our energy, and things we can control as we all look to the future of living longer. We are all living longer. We need to think differently about what we do with that life too. He interviewed Bill Perkins as he authored one of 3 books that Attia found to be life-changing for him in 2022. I dived in to explore Perkins’s book ‘Die with Zero’ and wow - had to offer this recommendation too.
Bill Perkins found himself on autopilot, saving money and living frugally until he asked himself “why?” After understanding stocks, investment returns, and life expectancies he did a 180 and changed how he viewed everything. In Die with Zero he now offers that the only things you can control are your time, your health, and your experiences, and how you manage those determines how you leave this world too. I resonated with his idea about giving money to those you love while you are still living and can experience their joy and how they use those funds to propel themselves forward. Especially when they can make the big decisions with the highest returns. For example, as we live longer and longer, leaving a large inheritance to kids who are now in their own 50s and 60s has very little impact. It’s when they were in the home buying, college paying, or prime investing years when that money would have had the biggest impact. What Perkins offers now is instead of leaving money behind to kids late in life, use those funds to go on trips together - with your kids or with those you want to share experiences with, set up funds for college for those young grandkids, or sit down and help those you love to make investments now that will set them up for their futures so you can see them thrive. Yes, I know there are a lot of emotions tied up in money. I encourage you to read this book and decide for yourself how to celebrate all your hard work with those you love. He packs a punch for thought. I’ll be very interested to hear what decisions get made.