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Eagle Eye Interim Report 2024

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Blog #4: Making Every Day Your Masterpiece

Blog #4: Making Every Day Your Masterpiece

Making Every Day Your Masterpiece

At the end of our last blog, we introduced John Wooden, the legendary UCLA Bruins basketball coach; a man who lived and breathed the Golden Rule. Both on and off the court, Wooden urged his teams to "make every day your masterpiece", encouraging them to focus on the here and now, always performing to the best of their ability. To me, this concept is a more aspirational version of my mother's "as long as you do your best, darling", which helped a somewhat scholastically challenged child remain reasonably cheerful and confident.

Wooden's message to his young athletes was clear: don't wait for tomorrow to give your all, because tomorrow is built on the foundation of today's efforts. This resonates far beyond the basketball court—it's a philosophy for life.

At Eagle Eye, we ask our teams to do exceptional things every day and have set the standard that we will all treat the people we interact with - fellow employees, customers, partners - the way they would like to be treated. But following the Golden Rule requires individuals to be their best selves, and so we’ve put a strategy in place to set our teams up for success.

Consider the range of human behavior, from moments of brilliance to times of struggle. We can all think of examples of people, including ourselves, at their best and their worst. The example that I tend to use is Tiger Woods, thinking about some of his best days on the golf course; "In your life have you ever seen anything like that?!" versus the grainy dash cam footage of him walking the line under suspicion of a DUI in Florida. The lesson? Our actions matter, both in our professional and personal lives.

Tiger Woods plays a iron from the 17th fairway in his fourth round at the Emirates Australian Open at The Lakes golf course

In the workplace, we think it is broadly agreed that your manager’s behavior is the single most important contributor to job satisfaction. A manager who flits between being open, nurturing, and generous with advice to one who is short-tempered, sarcastic, and offhand will have a huge impact on how an employee feels, performs, and how long they stick around.

Recognizing this more than 20 years ago, I worked with my colleagues to develop a programme which was designed to teach managers how to follow the Golden Rule when it came to their employees. It was a huge success, and so when I joined Eagle Eye, one of the first things I did was to implement something similar, something we call Life Skills. Initially, it was offered just to our management team, but has subsequently been rolled out as universal training for every existing and new employee because those managers told us how much it helped them not only at work but in their personal lives.

Much of our Life Skills programme is rooted in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, something which, in my view, should become part of the general curriculum. I don’t have any influence on that, but at least I can share our thinking here. So here goes…

Life Skills constitutes three overriding principles:

  1. Be your best self. Approach every situation and interaction with the intention of doing your very best to make it a masterpiece. You know what your good looks like, no one knows better than you, so strive for it every day.
  2. Master your mind. Don’t get hijacked by your emotions or your circumstances, don’t let them dictate your actions. Above all, don’t become a victim. Remember the words of the poem "Invictus" - "you are the master of your fate; you are the captain of your soul" - words which are said to have sustained Nelson Mandela during his incarceration on Robben Island.
  3. Cultivate a "Wise Mind". Find balance between logic and emotion. The middle ground is where the pendulum hangs true, where intelligence and feeling are balanced.

There are three behaviors which can help achieve these principles:

  1. Live in the Now. The past is the past and is gone, the future is uncertain and the present is all there truly is. Don’t be a victim of your past or a hostage to your future. When you are carrying the past and imagining the future you spread yourself very thin. Far better to put all your energy into what will be most effective now; it’s what you do now that improves tomorrow.
  2. Seek the truth. Challenge your assumptions and uncover the reality of each situation. All too often we don’t do this and allow mind talk to create scenarios that are totally fictitious but drive behaviors that will be sub-optimal at best and destructive at worst.

    Once you know the truth, what is the outcome you desire?

    What is the most effective way of getting there?

    Osho the Indian philosopher said, "Problems don’t exist only situations exist", which is right up there with "making every day your masterpiece" as a reality-altering thought. His point is that situations are real and should be managed but problems are the product of analysis, interpretation, and mind talk so manage situations and don’t allow your mind to make them problems.
  3. Resist the pressure. Don't let external factors dictate your behavior - get yourself "out of The Box" (this will make sense in a minute!). Take a deep breath, centre yourself, and focus on what really matters.

Understanding "The Box" so you can get yourself out of it

On the days when we’re finding it difficult to make our masterpiece, we talk about being in "The Box". "The Box" (also known as 'the Valley of Despair') is part of the Emotional Cycle of Change, a helpful model (from the 1970s) which illustrates how people react in the face of unexpected events. We live in a VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous) world, so we know to expect the unexpected and our Life Skills programme provides everyone at Eagle Eye with a toolkit to help us get back on track to making our masterpieces.

The emotional cycle of change

Change, however big or small, triggers reactions in all of us. The aim of Life Skills is to equip our teams with the ability to recognize what triggers us to enter "The Box" in order that we can better control our reactions.

What's it like to be in/out the box?

Control can, in some instances, mean just taking a deep breath or two. You’ll be amazed how this conscious pause can re-centre you because, as the famous yogi B.K.S. Iyengar said, "the mind is the king of the senses, and the breath is the king of the mind".

From this calmer state, we suggest you then go on to ask yourself three questions,

  1. What’s the truth?
  2. What outcome do I want?
  3. What will be most effective?

Remember, you are not a victim of circumstance—you are the architect of your destiny. As the Serenity prayer reminds us, embrace the courage to change what you can and the wisdom to accept what you cannot. We hope that some of the things in here work for you and enable you to be your best self more often. This will enable you to treat others the way you'd like to be treated.

Join the revolution

Please continue to participate in the #GoldenRule revolution. Leave your comments and share examples of where you’ve experienced the Golden Rule and masterpiece makers in action. Let's celebrate those who are embracing these principles and making the world a better place, one act of kindness at a time.

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