In this episode you’ll learn about the power of situational blueprinting. You can use this tool to create a plan for an event, challenge or change and decide in advance how you want to react when it happens. It helps us prepare for the future scenario, by having a clear idea of what we are or aren’t going to do. So, get out of your head, into your heart and let’s talk about situational blueprinting.
Hey, it’s Julie and welcome to the Corporate Yogi podcast. How is this new year treating you? Are you implementing new Beliefs, habits and behaviours that bring you joy? I hope so. Today I want to talk about an important tool that will help you fast track your success as a leader, especially if you’re committed to growth. It’s called situational blueprinting, and it helps us prepare in advance to deal with something by deciding how we’re going to respond, either physically or emotionally. You see many people prepare in advance for the future by worrying about it – specifically worrying about all the things that can go wrong. Now I confess, I used to do this too, I’d say in my 20s I was a worry-aholic – and I truly thought that worrying gave me some sort of comfort bc whatever happened, I was prepared for it – I would think through all the permutations of what could go wrong, and worry in advance about each of them. I was committed, loyal and committed to worrying as a life strategy. It’s kind of embarrassing to admit, but its true. However, I’ve realized the error of my ways, and I no longer invest in worrying as a strategy. In fact, I now believe that, Worrying is like praying for the things you don’t want to happen. Again, Worrying is like praying for the things you don’t want to happen. And it’s so true, isn’t it? If you understand the law of attraction, you know that what you focus on expands, so it logically follows that if you spend 90% of your time worrying about what could go wrong, you are creating problems for yourself, you are manifesting things to worry about. I have a new strategy now – I create a situational blueprint for how I want things to go. Trust me, it’s a much more efficient use of my time and my energy, and to be honest – it just feels better. Think about it – who would you prefer to be – like Eeyore, who mopes around a complains about all the reasons why you shouldn’t ask for a raise, they likely won’t give it to you, there probably isn’t budget, they said no last time, your boss doesn’t really like you that much and you haven’t really done anything mind-blowing lately. Or would you rather be like Tigger who is fully convinced down to his bones that he is going to get a raise, and has a specific number in mind, and has visualized what that is going to feel like and has planned out his budget of what to do with the extra Our mindset is everything, you know this, right? If we don’t believe that something can happen, how can we create and bring this into our reality?
So here’s a look at what you’re going to learn today:
1) First, I’m going to explain what situational blueprinting is
2) In the 2nd segment I’ll share a few scenarios of where you might use one
3) In the 3rd segment I’ll explain how it specifically benefits you
So get out of your head and into your heart and let’s dive right in shall we?
I wanted to talk about Situational Blueprinting today because it was something that came up in a client session recently, and I had a massive and very humbling ah-ha moment. You see she was going through her 2021 reflection and listing out some of the highlights of the year and things that were really memorable for her and she listed her top thing as situational blueprinting that we did one day in a session for something going on in her personal life. It wasn’t even work or leadership related And this situational blueprint that her and I created together was the most memorable thing from last year. My mind was blown, I was self-managing like crazy and as she was reflecting on it – and I was reminded at how powerful this tool really is. The reason I was surprised it that it’s so simple, and so easy. And her and I had tackled some really important topics and rich themes throughout the year, with her team and some terminations she had to make, and also navigating a lot of big challenges with her boss. We went through and did her life design and personal brand and belief design. And the ego part of my coaching brain wanted one of those, complex and fancy tools that we used to be the one thing that was a game changer for her…. But it wasn’t. And clearly in her own words, it was the Situational Blueprinting we did one day, that was completely unplanned, it was just kind of a fluke for us to go through it. It’s a great reminder for me, as a coach to never ever get attached to the results my clients have, I have zero control over what is going to have the biggest impact on them and I am here to support them no matter what they need. That is my role. It was a great reminder though of how powerful this tool is, which is exactly why I wanted to go through it with you today!
So let’s start with a definition of Situational Blueprinting. A situational blueprint is when you create a plan for an event, challenge or change and decide in advance how you want to react when it happens. It helps us prepare for the future scenario, by having a clear idea of what we are or aren’t going to do. Situational blueprints can be created in the short-term for your current role, for your long-term career goals and also, just like my client, they can be used in your personal life for major milestones and building relationships. A situational blueprint gives you confidence and clarity and also saves you time and energy. It’s about putting a stake in the ground and saying I have a dream, a specific vision of what I want and I am going to commit to making it happen. It takes the “Optional” out of a dream, it makes it a reality. It’s says, this is going to happen and THIS is how I’m going to deal with it, when it does. In a way, our 5 core values that we set each year can be thought of as a situational blueprint. If we have a core value of Progress, or Success and that is the most important thing for us, if we were faced with the opportunity to take a month off with friends and travel the world, we would likely say NO thanks for right now, that doesn’t align with my top value of progress right now. But, if your number 1 core value was Adventure, you would likely say YES to that opportunity and take the trip. Our core values are like a guiding North Start that help us make decisions. If you said NO to the trip, it doesn’t mean that you don’t like to travel, or that you won’t want to take that trip someday, no, it simply means that for right now, the top priority is your career and that has to come before anything else. So, if you can name off your 5 core values, you have essentially already created your first situational blueprint for what you want to prioritize in life. Well done, see you’re an expert already.
Now let’s talk about a few examples of different situational blueprints you can create. Let’s start with the scenario of getting a pay raise or a big bonus. This is an important one, bc a lot of people mismanage their money or misunderstand how little of an impact a pay raise will actually make in their take-home pay each cycle. There’s something called lifestyle creep, you might have heard of it, but it happens when our costs and expenses increase relative to the amount of increased money we’re making, and as a result we don’t have any extra money left over in our hands even though we’ve just received a huge raise. For example, we might enjoy more dinners out than before, lease a more expensive car, uplevel our wardrobe or taste in clothes. It doesn’t take much, just a few key decisions to reward ourselves for our hard work, and poof… all that extra money is gone. For this reason, I always encourage people to decide in advance what they’re going to do with the extra money. Maybe after years of dealing with debt you’re in the mood for a little lifestyle creep and want to have nicer things, that’s great, just make sure that you’re doing it consciously and know how much and where it is going. It really depends here what life stage you’re at. For some people travel and adventure are high on their list, I can definitely relate to that. I think my entire 30s were dedicated to travel, adventure and experiences, and if that is your priority, then go for it. I’m not here to dictate any one decision as better than another, I simply want you to consciously make the decision in advance, rather than have your head in the sand and after six months start to wonder where all that extra money went. Right?
OK scenario 2 – You create a situational blueprint on how to deal with an underperformer, or a mediocre employee. Based on last week’s episodes you now know all about this and understand how important it is to take action because when you don’t, you’re risking your high performers. This scenario is something all leaders will have to face at some point in their career. It’s not easy, its simply inevitable. And I recently heard of a study from senior execs nearing the end of their career and reflecting back on all they’d done, they were asked, What they would have done differently? And do you know what was the top thing they said? They said they wished they had dealt with underperformers more quickly. Seriously, they all got around to handling it, we usually do, but these are seasoned career execs, and they all struggled with it too. Trust me, there is always major resistance to dealing with underperformers, I get it. It’s not something fun. And I think that there it has something to do with us questioning our own ability as leaders. But you need to accept the sunk costs, cut your losses and move forward. Because in reality the only thing worse than having an underperformer on your team is NOT DEALING with an underperformer on your team.
There are so many other scenarios of how you’ll create a situational blueprint in the workplace, here’s a handful of different things you will likely face:
1. Being offered a promotion or new role that you don’t really want.
2. Growing out your team, or becoming a 2nd tier leader, a leader of leaders, how will you handle it, what kind of leader will you be?
3. Another common one is making partner in your firm. Let’s say you have a 2 year plan, and you get passed over yet again, and are met with some really mediocre excuses. Will you tolerate it and let it slide? Will you make a move to go to another firm? Or will you have a series of candid conversations and find out what really happened? Yes, these are all tough scenarios, but trust me, it’s also tough to see a 2 year promise, get dragged out over 6 or more years, and then someone still doesn’t get what they want. Not cool. So a situational blueprint is really about making a commitment to yourself of how you will respond and what you will tolerate. It’s a commitment from you to you.
So now that you have an idea of different scenarios where you’ll create a SB, what does it actually look like in practice to create a situational blueprint? Well it needs to be more than you just dreaming up the scenario and visualizing how it will go down. You need some sort of accountability to make it real, so I suggest capturing it in a document, and sharing it with your coach, mentor, colleague or partner.
In practice, here’s what that would look like: If you’re ready to step into a new role as a people manager, and you’ve never managed people before it might look like creating a list of commitments like this:
The new behaviours I’m going to step into:
– I commit to prioritizing consistent 1:1 meetings with my team and NOT cancelling them just because things get busy.
– I will be fully transparent with my team and share as much information as possible, including real-time feedback about positive and negative performance.
– When I make a colossal f-up (bc we always do) in this new leadership role, I will not try to sweep it under the rug, I will admit to this mistake openly and as quickly as possible, bc I know I’m teaching my team a lesson about how to show up.
– I promise to be vulnerable with my team and let them know if I’m overwhelmed or don’t have an answer.
– If someone makes an accusation or questions the ability of my team member, I will take it up with my team member directly, and not throw them under the bus
– I promise to give away all my legos, and not be a control freak
– I will commit to investing in my own personal development and also in developing my team
– I will hold quarterly or annual team development sessions and commit to building relationships on the team.
So, that’s an example of what your situational blueprint might look like, and some of the things you may want to include. It is a very personal thing, and should be customized to include the things YOU think are important. And most importantly you need to share it with someone, so they can hold you accountable.
Now that you know WHAT a situational blueprint is, I want to share a few reasons you need to create one::
1) First, It will serve to mentally prepare for what you’re stepping into, because with many big changes in life there also a requisite mindset shift that needs to happen, and as humans, we only focus on ticking off the logistical action items.
As an example, if you make the move from IC to people manager, this is a big deal, so you have to treat it as such. You have to think about what you’re letting go of, and what you’re stepping into. Who are you going to be now.
2) second reason is, it helps you attract what you want at the metaphysical level. Remember earlier I talked about worrying – and how worrying is like praying for the things you don’t want to happen. Well, a situational blueprint is running interference on that worry and redirecting your energy into consciously creating. When you’re focused on your SB, you don’t have the time or energy to worry. Top performers and elite athletes know this and it’s now becoming mainstream knowledge. I remember years ago watching Michael Jordan talking about how his regime included not only physical training and conditioning, but also the mental conditioning of visualizing his success during a game. Mindset is everything.
3) And the last reason is that it helps to boost your confidence. There is something powerful that happens when you share your vision and dream out loud with others. When you speak something out loud like that it takes a tremendous amount of courage and the universe will always rush in to support you, and reward you for being courageous. Because when we keep something secret to ourselves, the idea is weighed down with self doubt and questioning about whether we can actually do it. But when you say it out loud, you’re making the declaration that you really do want it, you know you’re ready for it and most importantly believe that you deserve it!
So let’s recap those 3 reasons why we create a SB
1 – it helps you mentally prepare for what you’re stepping into
2 – it helps you attract at the metaphysical level
3 – It helps boost your confidence.
Now I want to share a bonus application of SB. Up until now, we’ve talked about you creating one for yourself and what will come up in the future for you, but another great way to use a SB is with Relationship Design and an employee or colleague. In my RD standard agreement, I have included an entire section on what sort of SB you can do with another person, and here’s a few specific scenarios you can design for up front:
– What happens when you’re bored or unchallenged at work?
– What if you get a call from a competitor or headhunter with a job offer?
– What if one of us falls short of a promise we made to each other or doesn’t keep their word?
– What if you’re consistently overwhelmed by too much work on your plate, and you’re worried you may fall short on a deadline or project?
These are a few of the SB questions you can discuss as a leader, and decide in advance how you’re going to handle them.
OK it’s time to wrap up this episode on situational blueprinting
Let’s recap what you are taking way from today
You learned that SB is when A situational blueprint is when you create a plan for an event, challenge or change and decide in advance how you want to react when it happens.
You learned that worrying is a total waste of time, and gives you a false sense of control, worrying is like praying for the things you don’t want to happen.
There are many different scenarios you can use a SB in, work or personal, really any area of your life, it can be done for you – OR in relationship with someone else
You have to make it real by writing it down and sharing it out loud with someone
The advantages are it helps you mentally prepare for what you’re stepping into, it helps you attract at the metaphysical level and it helps boost your confidence.
Thanks for tuning in today. If you enjoyed this episode, I would love to you share it with a friend, via social media, or rate and review the podcast on whichever platform you listen!
I look forward to seeing you next Tuesday for another great episode and remember, that any fear or resistance you hold inside of you, is simply your greatness in disguise.