What’s the Secret to Conquering Chaos?

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It was strange to hear the same question from three people in less than 24 hours.

“So… what did you and (Mark) talk about?”

This turned out to be a major point of interest in the family since, apparently, my 19-year-old nephew doesn’t tend to talk to almost anyone lately.

Like many college freshmen, he’s unsure about whether he’s in the right place – whether he picked the right school, the right major, or whether college itself was even the right decision.

And, just as unsurprisingly, he has heard many strong opinions from other people (who truly love him and want the best for him) about what they think he should do.

So when we all got together over the weekend, I didn’t offer another.

Instead, when there was a quiet moment, I just asked what would make him happy. 

And when the answer was a shrug and an ambiguous, “It’s just not what I thought it would be like,” I dug a little more, appealing to his engineering-student analytical side.

“I hear you,” I nodded. “Just for fun, let’s operationalize some of those variables in a way that’s measurable. Let’s break it down for starters into two buckets: academic and social. Academically speaking, what did you expect, what’s good so far, and what’s disappointing? And then let’s do the same for social.”

We talked for a while, exploring possible pros and cons of different options, trade-offs, and sharing some examples of people we know who took very different paths in life, what’s working for them and challenges they face in the balance.

As it was starting to get late, I said, “I should probably get going soon; I hope I haven’t talked your ear off!”

He shook his head. “No, it was actually helpful to think through it. Thanks.”

Although we didn’t reach any decisions, it turns out what he really needed in the moment was help making sense of all the seemingly conflicting thoughts, feelings, expectations, desires, and frustrations – both his own and everyone else’s – swirling around in his head.

 

In other words, he needed help “conquering chaos.”

 

At least, that’s what Clate MaskCEO of Keap, this week’s guest on the Speaking to Influence podcast might have said.

 

 

Keap’s focus is on business automation, creating systems to help entrepreneurs “conquer chaos” for healthy, profitable growth.

Chaos, by definition, is the absence of order and clarity  — whether financial, interpersonal, mental, emotional or otherwise.

Sometimes our biggest challenge is making sense out of all the noise in our own heads. In those times, what we need most is simply someone to help us untangle it all.

Other times, the chaos we experience is because we only have our own experience to go on, and there are too many missing pieces to be able to make sense of it all, so we need  someone else’s perspective to fill in some blanks.

In that vein, Clate levied an interesting challenge: “have a (second) conversation where you repeat (your message) but you come at it from a little different perspective … and look at it from their angle.

Clate and I also discussed:

 

  • How he had to get permission from the board to run the company again when he was frustrated with the direction it was going.
  • the importance (and challenge) of approaching conversations objectively and focusing on what’s in everyone’s best interest.
  • How he had individual conversations with team members to gather feedback and create a safe environment for open discussion, and
  • His recommendation of Patrick Lencioni’s book, “Five Dysfunctions of a Team.

Listen to the full conversation here or watch it on YouTube here.

Another place we often need to make order out of chaos is figuring out how to take all the experience in our brains and the passion in our hearts and sharing all that we have to offer with the world.

It’s something I love doing with you here each week, in the newsletter and the podcast, as well as at conferences, events and many other platforms.

That’s why I want to share the biggest lessons I’ve learned over the years about how to find the audience that wants to hear exactly what you want to teach, and how to keep them coming back for more!

If you’re an expert in your field, and want to share your knowledge and experience with others on podcasts, conference stages, panels and more but don’t know where to start, join me this afternoon at 5pm ET for the final FREE webinar:

8 Keys to Establishing Your Brand as a Go-To Thought Leader.”

Click the above link for more info and to register.

And one last place in which I want to AVOID any possible chaos and keep things nice and orderly is in the exciting, impending change, as Vocal Impact Productions sheds its old skin and prepares for a brand new look!

In preparation for the big reveal on January 1, please whitelist the address “laura@laurasicola.com” and the domain laurasicola.com overall. 

More to come next week.

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