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Get Outside the Box

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The people who are having the greatest impact upon the world challenge the box itself.

In fact, you began life challenging the box. Children, including YOU, are born without a box. Children color outside the lines and look at everything completely differently than we do. We point to children as great examples of sheer creativity and awesomeness. There is so much we can re-learn from children.

However, children are not achieving the kinds of results adults require. They have no structure, bills, timelines or ‘deliverables’. They do not have to worry about results. There is a freedom in this that adults do not have.

Wouldn’t it be great to have the abilities of a child to do more than ‘think outside the box’ and actually challenge the box to achieve results?

Let me clear up any doubt – this is not only possible but it has been done for ages. Let’s look at some famous examples:

  • Maya Angelou challenged the ‘humble beginnings’ box.
  • Gandhi challenged the protest and resistance box, creating incredible change and launching a new form of protest/revolt.
  • Warren Buffet continues to challenge the ‘investment’ box, which is how he stays ahead of the rest of the investment world.
  • Steve Jobs challenged box after box after box in different industries.
  • Nelson Mandela challenged the ‘apartheid’ box and another box, ‘forgiveness’.
  • Richard Branson challenged the ‘brand’ box and what a single brand can be.

Not only did they challenge the current thinking, prevailing wisdom and the societal training that comes with ‘growing up’, they took action based upon what they saw and what resonated with their core beliefs.

Relax – you don’t have to be famous to achieve these results!

In fact, I spent some time interviewing LOTS of ‘normal’ legendary people who are challenging the box. Here are 10 ‘normal’ legendary people you may have just passed on the street.

Rediscover the mindset of a legend.
In every single case of people achieving legendary results, these people share something – a common mindset. Leaders who have this mindset create legendary teams, departments and organizations.

Through our 10 years of research and experience, we have found three specific areas of mindset that are present in a legendary leader, and through them, legendary organizations. These three areas are:

Awareness – continually examining and growing your awareness. What do you see in the world? Is that what you want to see?
Beliefs – challenging and creating a power belief structure, beginning with becoming aware of your core beliefs. What are your core, unshakable beliefs?
Courage – taking continual action based upon your beliefs and the opportunities right in front of you. Where do you take risks?

Most of the people we identified as ‘legendary’ intuitively have the mindset of a legend. However, this can also be rediscovered . Remember, you were born with it.

Look at our little mascot, the snail. The snail cannot see the box, the shell, while still within the shell itself. Only by sticking its neck out (Awareness), believing that leaving the shell is possible and having the courage to leave it behind will you ever be able to see the full size and scope of the shell.

This is your story and it is mine. We have a thick shell (SHELL = BOX!), that is protecting us, but is also heavy and holding us back. It is time to leave the shell behind. The legendary people, and specifically leaders, who have left their shells are the ones who are inspiring us and modeling what can be done when you leave that weight behind.

Want to challenge your box/shell? Start here.
Watch the 60-second video below:

There have been entire books written about the phenomenon in the video. Your shell, or ‘box’, is just like this – you do not see it until someone points it out!

Go watch it again and try NOT to see it. It is impossible. This is also what your shell/box is like – once you see, you can never ‘unsee’ it.

Use the ABC’s as a launch point and catalyst for ’seeing’ your shell/box. This will work for personal or business. You can substitute ‘box’ for anything you feel might be holding you back or slowing you down. For example, box = team building.

Here are some simple basic questions:
Awareness – What is the box? What do I think the box may be?
Beliefs – What are my beliefs about the box? What behaviors do I see surrounding the box and how might that
Courage – Am I going to take a different action than in the past?

*MOST IMPORTANT* – write it down. You connect thoughts, events and ideas by looking back at them and can ‘see’ the bigger picture – the BOX!

Once you start to see the box/your shell for what it is, courage becomes extremely important. Will you have the courage to take action? Will you challenge the box?

Challenging the box can be dangerous. You are directly challenging the status quo, shaking up the system and ‘rocking the boat’. Nelson Mandela and Gandhi both spent years in prison because they didn’t just challenge their personal ‘box’, they challenged societies ‘box’.

These are people who have left their shell and are trying to help you see your own. However, the reality is everyone’s shell is different. Just because they have found their freedom does not mean it is the pathway for you to do the same.

For example, there are many posts and discussion around ‘following your passion’, quitting your job, doing what you love and finding inspiration. Here is a post with some serious visceral reactions: Five Lies That Could Be Ruining Your Career (and your Life).

Challenging the box in the workplace.
A visceral reaction is what you may face when you begin challenging the ‘box’ in your workplace:

“We have ALWAYS done it this way!”
“You are just a trouble maker trying to stir the pot.”
“Why do you always have to be so difficult?”
“You always question everything!”

, by Kim and Mauborgne creates a great format to begin learning how to challenge the box. Combining a book like this with the ABC questions above will help begin the conversation and keep it positive without the negative side effects. Using an outside facilitator can be extremely helpful to keep the conversation and ideas flowing while minimizing any ‘bitch session’.

*BEWARE*
There are a number of people who bend and twist this idea, challenging the box, not for good, but to simply cause trouble. Make absolutely sure your intentions and actions are aligned with your core beliefs before you begin challenging a box that is not your own. Make sure you are challenging for good, not simply to challenge.

While challenging the box in the workplace requires some strategy, right now – TODAY – is the perfect time to begin challenging your own box/shell.

Great book for work and personal challenge of the box!
A highly recommended book about ‘getting out of the box’ is Leadership and Self-Deception, written by The Arbinger Institute. It is a story-based book and the main character, Tom Callum, seems to be reflection of just about everyone who reads it – not in position, but in behavior. Best of all, while it is a book centered around a company, the entire life of Tom and shows how his ‘box’ is impacting his family.

Challenging the box is something every legendary person, famous or not, has done in their life. Perhaps your time has come to challenge the box. If not now, when?

 

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