It’s not over until you’re in the shower

Want a simple technique for more self control?

Because in today’s world, we have a lot of options. And that means decisions. 

Factor in emotion and we’re likely to spend a lot of mental energy in FOMO, going back and forth or around in circles, feeling frustrated, confused, fearful —  thinking about making a decision but not taking action. (And remember, all that mental energy is not free.)

In the military, they instill discipline and vigilance with the mantra: “It ain’t over until you’re in the shower.”

Former Navy SEAL Mack Machowicz explains: “There were times I was so dog-tired after a 24-hour day in the field, I had to fight the call of sleep during that final half hour it would take to clean my M14. It was a chore that I would have loved to have blown off were it not for being trained that a professional doesn’t quit until every task is complete. To keep myself awake and on track I’d ask myself, ‘Are you in the shower?’”

Basically, he’d cut through the mental gymnastics with a simple binary question. If he looked around and he wasn’t in the shower, then he wasn’t done yet. 

You can do the same. 

First, create a rule with clear boundaries (our brain loves certainty!). 

Second, turn it into a yes/no question (our brain loves questions!).

Then you simply stick to the plan, no debate required. Here’s how my clients have adapted this:

An entrepreneur who’s developing an innovative new technology created the rule: “I won’t question our direction until we’ve failed 100 times.” Now, when she’s feeling doubt, all she has to do is ask: “Have we failed 100 times?” 

The start-up founder who feels like giving up because he can’t get funding asks: “Have I been rejected 150 times?”

A sales VP who’s frustrated with her team’s lack of enthusiasm asks: “Have I acknowledged each team member today?”

The ultra-fit executive who decided he wouldn’t criticize his partner about her health habits for the month of January checks the calendar, “Is it January?” If it is, he knows what that means.

The working mother who scheduled 3:00 – 3:15 pm as her designated time for worrying knows if it’s 10:30 am, it’s not the time to worry.

Left to its own devices, human nature will default to survival instincts and instant gratification. If we want clarity, creativity and inspired action, it’s our job to manage our thinking.

p.s. This is what participants learn in the Influence Mastery Accelerator, my 60-day group coaching program to help maverick leaders show up more boldly, bounce back quicker and activate their influence. 

If you’d like to see if it’s a good fit for you, click here to schedule a time for us to speak.