Have you ever stopped to ask how you think? Not what you think but how you think…
Metacognition means “thinking about thinking.” It’s the ability to observe and reflect on your own cognitive processes.
How aware are you of your own thoughts, strategies, feelings and actions and their effects on others?
Let me break down how I think and then I’ll invite you to do the same…
I’m high in creative intelligence. I like to invent or imagine novel solutions to problems or situations.
I’m a storyteller. I look for the story in every situation. I pay particular attention to the counterintuitive story or the approach that swims against the tide. I tell stories constantly.
I’m a simplifier. I have an ability to see complex relationships and simplify them.
I immediately look for distinctions. I immediately look for comparisons. I naturally distinguish between real problems and presenting problems.
I love language. I listen carefully to people’s words and to the pauses between their words.
I’m an upstream thinker. I think proactively not retroactively. I’m more interested in solving problems before they happen than cleaning up a mess later. I’m a fire marshall, not a firefighter.
If a problem can’t be solved, I naturally move upstream until I can change it into a problem that can be solved. I apply radical common sense and ruthless simplicity.
I have to fight my impulse to be productive. It’s taken me a long time but I’ve realized that productivity and creativity are inherently at odds. I have more impact the less I do. I force myself to become comfortable with having little to do because that is how I foster real creativity.
I need headlines not details. Details overwhelm me. I naturally focus on one task at a time. I like to adapt systems that are in place rather than create new ones.
I’m a visionary and an innovator who takes action fast. Really fast. That’s not always good, so I put systems—and people—in place to slow me down.
When dealing with potential risk and uncertainty, I’m naturally pessimistic. I imagine the worst, so I’m prepared for it. But when the shit hits the fan, I’m naturally optimistic.
When I hear the word ‘impossible’ I get intensely curious. When something feels impossible, I make it a place to come from, rather than a place to get to.
I continually reset my internal compass to point along the fine line between feeling a little scared and a little excited.
I’ve learned to love hearing the word no. I still struggle to say the word no.
My default is to please people. I’ve built the muscle of serving people by challenging them.
I have a low threshold for boredom. I rarely do the same thing more than twice.
When talking to people, I instinctively listen for the default future they are living into. If they seek my guidance, I help them live into a created future.
I use generative language to create the future I desire. And I help others to do the same.
I have to fight my natural propensity to prove myself, be admired, or look for where I’m lacking confidence. When I feel disrespected, that can be crushing.
I unconsciously focus on feeling separate or different. I can feel lonely in the middle of a crowded room.
The voices in my head that are loudest tend to say, “Who are you to _______?”
I’m driven by two secret fears:
- What makes me good enough is achieving things. (I want to look good. I have a fear that mistakes and failures are bad).
- What makes me good enough is having other people think well of me. (I have an old, deep belief that I’m not lovable).
I have to fight my inclination to put everyone else’s needs above my own.
I prefer order over chaos, logic over flow and planning over spontaneity.
I find the most attractive qualities in a woman to be power and confidence. I’m drawn to powerful people. And I have an ability to see where even the most powerful people are secretly holding themselves back.
I’m high in emotional intelligence. I communicate effectively and empathize with others to overcome challenges and defuse conflict. But I sometimes struggle to understand my own emotions. I’ll use busyness to avoid feeling too deeply.
I’m high in interpersonal intelligence. I quickly identify and understand other people’s moods, desires, fears, motivations, and intentions.
I’m high in leadership intelligence. I focus on drawing out other people’s leadership. If you’re on my team, I make it my mission to help you do less and less until you’re doing only what’s in your Zone of Genius—those things no one else but you can do.
I’m high in intrapersonal intelligence. More than most, I understand and have an effective working model of my own desires, fears, and capacities. And I’m human—about 50% of the time I can’t see my own fears, doubts or insecurities. So I’ve learned to surround myself with wise counsel—teachers, mentors, coaches and trusted advisors.
I see quickly how other people think. I can tell somebody in an instant how their thinking is holding them back.
Your turn. How do you think?
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