Successful Executives Use This Four Letter Word


Getting things done, lots of things, and done well, seems to be one of those holy grail kinds of pursuits. Images of long lists of what needs doing, moving fast, directives, many directives, activity, plans, mind maps, nerve centers, almost a frenzy. There are a massive number of ideas, formulae, books, motivational speakers, all pointed at this one objective.

OK, so this is part of the business picture that many live in. There is pressure to keep going, to even increase pace in any way we can. I do wonder about things like Quality of results, about performing at an eight most of the time, seven often, sometimes at a six. Delivering at a full 10 is not common, especially if we add the word ‘consistently’. Is it any wonder? Decisions made on the fly, in the thick of that manufactured, supposedly desirable frenzy, the basis for the order of action, and, oh yes, which action, well, just not gonna get to a 10 very often.

My four letter word that can be really helpful is the word STOP. To stop, take a look around, verify what I thought was the best way is still so, de-couple from the frantic get it done, get it done, get it… that can be just the ingredient that will get us to that 10. Let us not confuse action with progress. If we have our ladder on the wrong wall, putting more resources into climbing it takes us ever further from the best result we seek. We all know this. Yet, some part of us just wants to impress the pants off of someone by roaring across the finish line, soonest, even though it might be the wrong finish line. It just looks so good to come first and we can wear just the right clothes to look even better for the photo. We get swept up in fast. So fast sometimes, that we don’t notice that we are just being swept up and not being discerning, not making decisions that are well thought out, etc. The momentum and the excitement takes us. It can be intoxicating. We are no longer present to our own wisdom. We become separated from our own wisdom.

Here it is folks. STOP is a four letter word that can give us that moment of  calm within the eye of the hurricane, that bit of stillness and a big exhale, to just ‘be’ and to check in with what has happened since we last took a moment to STOP. Being still (STILL is another great four letter word) opens us to a much broader view. It lets us breathe easier. It subdues stress. STOP permits the option to restart, to make a brilliant tweak that could move that project heading for an outcome at seven, up to a nine, heck, maybe even a 10. Without STOP in our toolbag we are giving the competition a massive advantage.

How long does our STOP need to be? Sometimes 12 seconds does it all. Sometimes it may be a horrifically wasteful 90 seconds. Do it anyway.

Btw, STOP is available to you tax free


Joseph Seiler MCC