Every once in a while, I come across a book I think everybody should own, or at least read. Triggers: Creating Behavior That Lasts—Becoming the Person You Want to Be, by Marshall Goldsmith, is such a book. It’s taught me a lot, and I highly recommend it to you. Here’s why.
A couple of things about Goldsmith. First, he followed me to Rose Tech in Terre Haute, Indiana, arriving a year after I did. He was probably only the second person to graduate from that esteemed engineering school with a liberal arts degree (the other was in my class). (By the way, I did not graduate from there…matriculated at Indiana State University down Wabash Avenue.) Goldsmith went on to receive his PhD from UCLA’s Anderson School of Management.
The second thing about Goldsmith is that he is a prolific author, speaker, and executive coach who I’ve had the pleasure of meeting. Brilliant and generous with his genius, he tells anyone who listens that they can have and use all of his material as they see fit. I’ve taken advantage of that offer over the years.
I first met Goldsmith when his book What Got You Here Won’t Get You There was rocketing up the New York Times best seller list. That book was pivotal in how I approached some of my client teams to get them to want to make changes…great stuff. I highly recommend it.
There have been several books in between What Got You Here Won’t Get You There and Triggers. Triggers, in my opinion, is a complete game changer when it comes to helping people who want to change something about themselves get the job done.
We’ve all been there. “I’m going to diet and exercise effective January 1 in order to reach my goal weight of _______. I’m going to run a sub-30-minute 5K. I’m going to stop drinking / smoking / beating my wife.”
We make these assertions with the greatest ambition and energy, and we expect to accomplish our goal. And then something happens to knock us off track.
This isn’t an accident. My training helps me understand the dynamics of why we get derailed. In the past, however, I’ve had difficulty getting my clients to understand how it happens so they can get in the way of what gets in the way.
Goldsmith lists 15 key “triggers” that pop out of the dark at the most inopportune times to grab you and put you back in the behavior you so desperately want to rid yourself of.
Do any of these sound familiar? Are any/all of these in your self-talk when you set out to change something?
- If I understand, I will do.
- I have willpower and won’t give in to temptation.
- Today is a special day.
- I won’t get distracted, and nothing unexpected will occur.
- My elimination of old problems will not bring on new problems.
- …and more…get the book!
These are the saboteurs of my change efforts…yes, I do it to myself. That piece of me that will go to any lengths to keep me in my comfort zone is the author of these triggers. And each is set to explode based on what’s going on in my environment.
Goldsmith goes on to give the reader tips for staying on top of these triggers, helping you when they are in play and explaining how to set them aside.
If you’re serious about changing your Knower/Judger to get out of a rut, improve a relationship, or develop a skill, you need to expose yourself to Marshall Goldsmith’s Triggers. Go buy a copy (and no, I do not have an associate agreement with Mr. Goldsmith—I’m just a huge fan).