Leading Edge: Limitless Transformation – Overcoming Being Extra

Limitless Transformation from Aegis Learning and Tim Schneider

To cure being extra, begin:

1. Be More Direct
Consciously and mindfully use less language especially the language that is unimportant and does not add legitimate value. Pay close attention to the amount of qualifier words you use such as feel, believe, seems, and think. These words distract from any importance and credibility of your message and are unnecessary fillers. Also watch for hyperbole in your communication and avoid expressions like “absolute very best”, “most excellent”, “super-fantastic” and the like. These have no value and again, reduce overall communication credibility.

A more direct communication approach will also be achieved by maintaining the focus on the purpose of your communication. Stick solely to what you are trying to convey and avoid taking the wild left and right-hand turns that become impossible to follow and comprehend. Save your storytelling for the campfire, Uncle Bob’s birthday party, and mentoring your successor.

2. Just Say Thank You
Stop adding your two cents worth when not invited or when that two cents will cause much more devaluation. Validate the work and ideas of others with the simple appreciation of a sincerely delivered “thank you”. Stay away from any suggestions, any redirections of what else they could add or think about, and any reference to how you would have done it. Just thank you. Nothing more and nothing less.

3. Ask Permission
Before you tell the neighbor that she is mowing the grass wrong or tell the certified mechanic how to work on your car, ask permission to provide feedback or guidance. Now if they greenlight your input, share away, but if you detect hesitancy or they say any form of no, keep your commentary to yourself, no matter how helpful it may seem.

Even when coaching team members in a working environment and especially with peer level people, always engage this as a best practice. This also will aid the flow of communication in coaching events and give you guidance on the receptiveness of other people to your suggestions.

Likewise, if you have some ideas or comments on someone else’s ideas or innovation, use this same approach. Never just jump in with a “you should try” statement. Ask first to participate in their creativity.

4. Seek Feedback
As indicated previously, most extra people don’t have a clue that they are being extra or the impact of their “extraness”. To see if you are one of the extra providers, ask people around you. There will be more about seeking feedback in Section III of this book, but simply learn to ask if you are being extra and validate any feedback with the simple thank you described above. You may not always love the feedback, but it is solid gold to your growth and improvement.

5. Limit Emotional Expressions
Emotional expression is necessary and important, but this can be overdone quickly. Limit how much emotionalism you include in all modalities of communication. Does one heart emoticon express love? Do you need to add four of them? Probably not.

6. Take Your Hands Off the Keyboard
You do not need to validate every response that comes to your inbox or in your message folder. Say thank you when needed but stop redundant replies or echoing other people’s replies of a similar, or same nature.

Being Extra Frequency:
Often __________
Occasionally __________
Never __________

Being Extra Impact:
High ____________________
Moderate ____________________
Low ____________________

Leading Edge: Limitless Transformation – Being Extra

Limitless Transformation from Aegis Learning and Tim Schneider

Being Extra

Extra ice cream. Free refills. Extra innings. Upgrades to business class. Yes, please. Every time, every day.

The same with extra kindness, extra nice, extra polite, and extra patient. All valuable extras.

Extra, unnecessary words and explanations, unsolicited advice, suggestions that don’t really add any true value, hyper-emotionalism in interactions, passive-aggressive bragging are all forms of limiting and defeating extras.

But sometimes people become extra and there is no value to their extra-ness, and it serves to rebuff people and push them away. The interesting part of this phenomenon is that people being overly extra rarely know they are doing it and never know the impact of their actions. One of the more important damages to consider is that extra people do not invite future interactions but rather people will tend to avoid them. In any circumstance this can be very limiting and defeating.

I absolutely love the Urban Dictionary’s definition of being extra. They define it as being over the top, excessive, dramatic behavior, and my favorite piece, doing the absolute damn most for no reason. Being extra is going to cover a broad swath of behaviors and habits, many of which are unknown to the doer, but painfully clear to those around them.

Here again, the credit for breaking the ground goes to Marshall Goldsmith and the self-defeating behavior he identified, Adding Value. Dr. Goldsmith uses multiple examples of leaders providing suggestions to team member’s ideas thusly depreciating the value of the idea and sucking the morale out of that team member. This piece of being extra also reduces the likelihood that the team member will ever share another idea. Devastating self-defeat and rarely known to the person doing it.

Some people mask this behavior under the heading of “trying to be helpful” and they truly believe that, but what they don’t see is the impact of those actions on others. Consider a couple of examples:

Terri proudly shares the results of her detailed analysis with her boss Thomas. Thomas acknowledges the good work but then, without taking as much as a pausing breath, proceeds to share with Terri some suggestions on font size, column spacing, and tab colors. None of those items impact the overall value of the analysis and associated reports and most are simply Thomas’ preferences or the way he would have done it.

Terri’s initial reaction of pride in her work is immediately deflated but she says nothing. Thomas thinks he is being helpful.

Or another example:

Kelley delivers a great four-hour training class. She asks her boss Tim how she did, and Tim expresses some praise but follows it immediately with what he would have done or said. Again, with the camouflage of helpfulness, Tim deflates Kelley, and she completely feels deflated.

(Hmmmm. I wonder where this example is from?)

And one final example of extra to consider:

You are seeing Brenda for the first time in a very long time. She gushes to the point of tears about how great it is and how much she loves, loves, loves, and loves even more the interaction and time together. She then follows that up with a series of Facebook Messenger notes reiterating the same. Over-the-top? Absolutely and uncomfortably so.

You can probably provide dozens of examples of these things happening to you and maybe even some in which you did it to another person. This phenomenon is not limited to the working world, we also do it to our kids, also under the guise of being helpful.

There are some other types of being extra to consider as well. Being extra can come in the form of someone who uses way too many words in all interactions. Some people are naturally wordier and more verbose than others but the truly extra take this to an artform. They will absolutely drone a conversation and make it, unintentionally, very one-sided. A simple word count will yield at least a 2 to 1 ratio of words and in some cases, 3 to 1, 4 to 1, or 5 to 1. This happens in person and in email and text exchanges.

Extra people also show themselves in over-the-top emotionalism. They will lavish and heap praise and other mush when simpler, and more concise phrases will have more impact. The extra folk also seem addicted to emoticons to add even more extra. I had the displeasure of having a fringe in law a few years ago that could not write a single sentence and one without the dripping of emotion that would make most soap opera characters uncomfortable. Five thank yous, six loves, four omgs, and three smiley faces would compose her typical Facebook message. Absolutely unreadable and totally credibility destroying. Yes, she was wordier than most, but this was extra beyond wordy. There wasn’t a social media post that didn’t have a response from her withing 3 seconds of posting. Extra squared.

Over-the-top extraness is not limited to the hyperbole of positive situations. People can also be extra when faced with obstacles, challenges, and setbacks. This Chicken Little phenomenon of the sky falling at every minor road bump is a very difficult one to be around. They will tend to highly exaggerate the impact of failure and the impact of things like budget cuts, a new boss showing up, or any other relatively common change.

Being extra also shows up in people that love to show off how smart they are and everything they know. For trivia night at the neighborhood tavern, this is awesome, and this person needs to be on your team. For all other settings, this can create significant disconnects and harm the desire of people to interact with you moving forward. You will hear phrases like “in my previous job”, “based on my experience”, or “my research tells me” that are about to lead into someone about to share way too much extra about how smart they are. No one likes a know-it-all. This type of extra will also show itself with million-dollar vocabulary words, again designed to show intelligence without regard to potential disconnects with others. We know you’re smart, you don’t need to remind us constantly.

Another type of extra is found in people who just can’t help but provide leading explanations. So instead of saying “please move your truck”, they launch into a lengthy diatribe about all the reasons for moving the truck, the lack of prior knowledge of the need to move the truck, and the consequences of not moving the truck. All of that is highly unnecessary and convolutes the needed action of moving the truck. These types of people need to trust that if someone has questions about their directive or inquiry, they will ask. Frontloaded explanations will confuse people greatly and even lose a big chunk of listeners.

If you’ve ever heard someone leading into a conversation with “if you don’t mind me saying”, you’re about to be extra’d in another way. Unsolicited feedback and advice are common forms of being extra. This type of extra can become especially annoying and lead to some damaged relationships and overall avoidance. Please remember, unless you are invited to provide feedback, just don’t.

A final indicator of being extra is the need to always have the final word. They say goodbye, you say goodbye, and then they must add a see you soon. Even in email, you say thank you and you get a note back moments later that says “no, thank you.” Just being extra for extras sake.

Leading Edge: Limitless Transformation – Defeating Procrastination

Limitless Transformation from Aegis Learning and Tim Schneider

To eliminate procrastination, begin (as in now, not next week) to do the following:

1. Set and Adhere to Deadlines
Please refer to the Overthinking Section for more on creating and working with deadlines.

The only additional consideration for procrastinators to is move deadlines forward from the actual deadline. So, if the report is due on Friday, create and document a Wednesday deadline for yourself. If your friend needs to hear about the dinner plans by Monday, create and document a Saturday (the prior one, not the later one) deadline.

2. Create Increments
Because we often work with large tasks and projects, it is often necessary, and extremely helpful for procrastinators, to break them down into smaller incremental pieces. If budget projections are due at the end of the month, break each category like income, payroll, fixed expenses, variable expenses, and miscellaneous items into individual tasks and spread them out weekly. At the end of the month, the sum of the incremental tasks is the budget is done and on time.

Likewise, if you need to clean the garage by the end of the month, separate the elements out like yard equipment, tools, storage items, and attack each weekly until the garage is clean. Eat the elephant one bite at a time.

3. Create Priorities
Procrastinators must learn to devote their time and energy to where it has the highest impact and importance. The first step in creating and adhering to a priority-based system is to inventory what you must do, what you have going on. Often a procrastinator will use a last-in, first-out methodology in dealing with tasks and projects. So, no matter how important or unimportant something is, if it is the first on the stack (or top of the email inbox), it gets the attention. This approach is fatally flawed and will continue with the cycle of missed opportunities.

We always advocate for a simple, but elegant, prioritization system. After you have identified everything you need to do, assign a priority of either one, two, or three. Anything much more complicated than this will end up being more bother than utility. Priority one should be if it impacts a customer or makes or saves money. Priority two is if it is a team member’s need or issue and finally, priority three is anything else of organizational value.

From a personal perspective, priority one would be if it is for your spouse, significant other, or kids. Priority two would be for another family member or friend and priority three would be the general good of the household.

This priority system begs a question about what is not a one, two, or three. This will test both the procrastinators and the perfectionists. So, if it is not categorized as a priority, the short answer is it should get none of your time and attention and should be removed from any inbox or task list. That’s right. Gone. Bye. Kaput. For leaders, they will always have the option of delegating these types of things to others but that should only be done after analysis of legitimate value to someone or the organization. For everyone else, we need to let go and consciously note that we have no regret or second thought about doing them.

Another challenge of a priority system is what to do with those things we like to do but are not high priorities or no priority at all. I enjoy mowing the yard but comparing that to other priorities, it is meaningless especially when I have the option of outsourcing that chore. Simply said, if it is no priority, you have no business devoting time to it, even if you like it.

One, two, three, or no priority and no action. That simple.

The final part of using a prioritization system is using it. That means devoting the plurality of your time and energy to the high priorities (ones) while taking care of the twos and threes as time allows and never in conflict with a higher priority. Never.

4. Develop Risk Tolerance
A shared characteristic of perfectionists and procrastinators is a lack of risk tolerance. This must be developed if you are going to leave the self-defeat of procrastination.

Everyday when you hop on the freeway, you are taking a risk. You risk the behavior and consideration of other drivers. You risk the design quality of the road engineers. You risk a lot. There are those people that are paralyzed by this proposition but most of us willing jump into our cars and make the needed trek.

What separates this risk from others that we face at work or home is the degree of scrutiny from others. When we push a decision or action quickly, we risk the critique from others. When we procrastinate the same decision or action, some of that is mitigated. For people who share overthinking and procrastination, this phenomenon is especially true.

Use a simple little bit of math to help yourself with risk tolerance. Look at what the real chances are of a negative event. And please note that on unknow events, the chances are exactly equal of a positive outcome and a negative outcome.

5. Time and Task Planning
One of the reasons that procrastinators procrastinate or proclaim failure with all tries to stop procrastination is that they have poor time management skills and practices.

To reduce procrastination, you must balance your “to dos” with the available time that you have and avoid dumping everything going on into one giant task list. Consider listing seven tasks needed today and your calendar is packed from the start of the day to the end of the day. You have no chance of accomplishing those and it is discouraging folly to even list them for the day.

A more thoughtful approach and one with a significantly higher chance of success is to spread your tasks out based on available capacity. Look at your calendar and see where you have the capacity and map out your tasks where the time allows. Also avoid a master task list (or honey do list) at all costs. These can become discouraging based on the shear volume of items and so overwhelming to the procrastinator that nothing gets done or even started.

6. Prioritize the Unpleasant
One of the most frequently procrastinated items are those things that are unpleasant or that we don’t want to do. Ugly stuff. That difficult conversation. Reconciling the account that you’ve ignored for three years. Cleaning the hall closet. Whatever your unpleasant is, make it an early priority during the day, absolutely first thing. Using this approach, you are devoting the highest energy you have to a difficult or undesired task and thus getting it done quicker but the greatest benefit is in that it will be out of the way early and pave the way for a great rest of the day.

7. Use the 25 – 5 Rule
This may be more of a productivity enhancer, but it will help procrastinators break up larger projects that they are delaying or otherwise ignoring. Work on a task or project for 25 minutes, take five minutes off to clear your mind, get fresh coffee or whatever. Then shift to another task or project for 25 minutes with the five-minute break repeated and then move back to the first project and repeat until completed. This keeps your mind fresh and gives you a break to avoid the diminishing returns of trying to power through a four-hour project or task. Give this a try and you will be amazed at the spike in productivity and the loss of drag from working on one thing for a long period of time.

Please note that in some cases, procrastination can be caused by underlying psychological problems such as depression or anxiety. If you believe that may be the case, please contact a counselling or therapy professional.

Procrastination Frequency:
Often __________
Occasionally __________
Never __________

Procrastination Impact:

High ____________________
Moderate ____________________
Low ____________________

Leading Edge: Limitless Transformation – Procrastination

Limitless Transformation from Aegis Learning and Tim Schneider


The accepted and classic definition for procrastination is delaying, postponing, or deferring something until later. Later is a word that the procrastinator uses a lot. Later, as in I’ll finish reading this later.

Procrastination is closely related to perfectionism in that it causes missed opportunities both in a working environment and for us personally. The cost of procrastination is missed opportunity. Consider the poor person who had great dreams and plans for the Pear Computer and associated operating system. It was an elegant dream with great design concepts and an even cooler logo (a pear with a bite out of the right side). But rather than jump and act, this soul sat around and worked on other things, overthought the process, and never really got going. Sad, and certainly exaggerated, but it occurs every day.

The classic procrastinator uses a variety of self-created excuses for continued procrastination. The most often cited excuse is a lack of time. This hollow excuse is really about a lack of prioritization (see below) and a lack of commitment to do what is needed.

When faced with a deadline, the procrastinator pushes the envelope all the way to the point of being late and often rushes the deliverable. Quality suffers, and thought is non-existent in this kind of waiting followed by frantic chaos. Without a deadline, the procrastinator will kick something down the road indefinitely until the point the task or project no longer has value.

The busy addiction often afflicts the classic procrastinator. To look at them, they appear to be busy, in some cases overwhelmed by stuff but there is no regard for what they are busy at. It is not nearly enough to be busy or even really, really busy but you must know what the targets and priorities are.

As much as the procrastinator misses opportunities in a working environment, they also miss out in their personal lives as well. Failure to respond to invitations lead to unavailable reservations for dinner. Non-responsiveness leads to future invitations not being extended.

Some causative factors that make people procrastinators include an intolerance for any degree of risk, lack of any type of organizational and time management skills, the inability to distinguish priorities, and a1 fear of being first (yes, that is a real thing and it’s why some people can never be on time to a party or meeting). Sometimes procrastinators come from a long line of procrastinators passing this defeating behavior from generation to generation.

Leading Edge: Limitless Transformation – Conquering Perfectionism

Limitless Transformation from Aegis Learning and Tim Schneider

To cure the perfection behavior, begin to do the following:

1. Reconcile to the Good
This is the most important step for perfectionists to embrace and challenge themselves. Realize that good or great quality, especially if that is defined by your organization, is exactly the stopping point. No additional work is needed from you or others.

2. Diminishing Returns
The perfectionist must also recognize the costs and diminishing returns associated with continuing beyond good or great while pursuing perfection. Does it make sense to spend ten additional hours working on a good spreadsheet when the total value of the additional effort is nominal or stylistic? Does it make sense to work on very good designs for an extra fifty hours when the pricing does not change?

3. Reducing Judgement
Humans are judgmental creatures by our very DNA and composition. Perfectionists have perfected judgementalism and are constantly judging situations and people compared to their standard and vision of perfect. Not only is this grossly unfair but it is unhealthy when it becomes continuous. This action must be taken mindfully and purposefully with a solid intention to reduce negative judgements and to be more generous and appreciative.

4. Say Thank You, And Nothing Else
Actively practice just saying the simple, and sincere, “thank you” when someone provides you something. Don’t criticize, don’t add value to it, don’t even think about how you could have done it better. Just say “thank you”.

This is about acceptance of work and efforts from people where they are at. They are at and not where you think they should be. This is not about accepting substandard or poor quality in any way, shape, or form but it is about acknowledging the good when it meets the needed standard, not your personal standard.

Thank you.

5. Reduce Criticality
Openly and mindfully look for the good in situations, people, and work product. Stop instantly seeing the room for improvement or the flaws. Actively practice seeking out the good that others do and the imperfect good that exists all around us. Note these and keep a journal of those items compared to how many times you see something wrong or something that could be done better. In about ten days you will find the notations and observations of the good taking a more prevalent and dominant role compared to the criticality.

Another target of your criticality is you. As a perfectionist you demand perfection from others and yourself. Reducing criticality needs to start and end with how hard you are on yourself. You are a perfect creation exactly as is, flaws and all. Be more accepting and gentler with yourself especially when you have made a mistake (gasp) or didn’t deliver something with perfect quality. Take it easy on yourself.

Perfectionism Frequency:
Often __________
Occasionally __________
Never __________

Perfectionism Impact:

High ____________________
Moderate ____________________
Low ____________________

Leading Edge: Limitless Transformation – Perfectionism

Limitless Transformation from Aegis Learning and Tim Schneider

Almost as pervasive and frequently seen as overthinking, perfectionism can have severely limiting, if not completely defeating, consequences.

Perfectionism is the pursuit of perfection, and sadly, perfect does not exist in anything touched by mere mortals. To a perfectionist, perfection is attainable with more work, more effort, more time, and just one more look at it.

The pursuit of and delivery of quality is noble and all of us should work to produce quality outcomes, interactions, services, and products. There is no real substitute for quality and quality should be a standard and not a goal. But quality is not without flaws. Perfectionism is the pursuit of a quality without flaws, a totally seamless experience, or the fairytale relationship.

The greatest impact of perfectionism is lost opportunity. When good, or even great, would have carried the day, the wasted time trying to be perfect loses out on the opportunity. That could come in the form of a sale, a hiring decision, or going out to dinner. Perfectionists also are very self-critical when it comes to their own perfection, or lack thereof. This can create significant consequences for needed confidence and self-esteem. Perfectionists also alienate the people around them because others believe they can never meet the standards of a perfectionist.

Perfectionists can also come across as aloof or arrogant to others. This stems from their judging of other people, situations, and places as not being perfect. The mind of the perfectionist creates a standard and nothing and no one will live up to that standard. Smug they are (Yoda voice engaged).

We have a customer that we have worked with extensively, (training, coaching, and some consulting) that produces the most stunning customized homes. They are eye-popping and the designs are groundbreaking, never-before-seen product. Words alone can never do their homes justice. Their good is amazing dream homes. When they meet their design standards, their customers drop their jaws. But the perfectionism rub comes in that some of their design team spends extra time shooting for absolute perfection. On the surface this sounds noble but with each delayed design is delayed construction and delayed closing of the home sale. There is no regard for the commercial reasonableness in this pursuit of perfection and the extra time taken has diminishing returns to the company. Their good is awesome but the pursuit of perfection creates unnecessary delays and costs.

Another customer who is a Chief Financial Officer struggles with some members of her team that will use dozens of hours reconciling accounts with discrepancies under a dollar. They want it to be perfect but fail to see the unreasonableness of the additional expenditure in time chasing perfection.

One other characteristic of perfectionists is the failure to accept mistakes or issues from others. When they see a typo in an email, they stop reading it. They completely dismiss a body of work because of a mistake or two. They assume that everything should have the perfection that they seek to provide.

In any leadership role, working for a perfectionist is highly distressing for team members. Perfectionist leaders do not acknowledge the company standard for any product or deliverable, they utilize how well they would do something as the standard. They will withhold praise and appreciation until someone produces the same quality, or perfection, that they would, even on items that really add no material value (think font size, column width, color scheme). This grossly unfair approach to leadership will destroy the morale in any team and make that leader despised for perfectionism.

Perfectionists also like to “add value”. This is a phrase that Marshall Goldsmith uses in his previously acknowledged work “What Got You Here Will Not Get You There”. Dr. Goldsmith describes a scenario where someone provides an idea, and the other person suggests minor changes and edits that really don’t impact the quality of the idea. They added value for no reason but their own ego and sense of their need to achieve perfection. He goes on to identify the impact this has on the person with the idea and their desire to ever present an idea again.

That same scenario plays out with perfectionists all the time, at home, at work, in social settings. The perfectionist cannot leave a great idea alone without the interjection of added value designed to make it perfect. Unfortunately, what the perfectionist does not understand is the alienation of relationships and disenfranchising this causes.

Leading Edge: Limitless Transformation – Overcoming Overthinking

Limitless Transformation from Aegis Learning and Tim Schneider

To cure the overthinking behavior, begin to do the following:

1. Deadlines
Add deadlines to all your decisions and choices. Set a date and time when you will decide and make sure that deadline aligns with the needs of others. It makes no sense to set a deadline of tomorrow to decide on the dinner location tonight. This discipline of internal deadlines will be very helpful, and you may have to write them down or add them to your task list as a reminder.

2. Proportionality and Scope
Another important strategy for overthinkers is the ability to ascertain the difference between a ten-cent problem and a million-dollar issue. As indicated earlier, overthinkers will often put the same thought and analysis into both. Save your superpower analysis for the big issues and let go of or ignore the inconsequential. This will take significant discipline from the overthinker and a very purposeful and mindful approach to identify issues as either important or unimportant. The key mantra of overthinkers is that everything is important and that must be unwired and removed from conscious thought.

3. Limit the “What Ifs”
Set a self-imposed limit of the number of “what if” scenarios that you will consider, process, and analyze. A great starting point would be three of them. After you have thought through those, it is time to decide and move.

4. Apply Some Probability
Many of the “what ifs” that overthinkers process and lose time with have as much chance of occurring as you purchasing a nice blue raspberry snow cone in the depth of Hades. We have all heard those queries, usually near the end of a meeting, from an overthinker that starts with “have you thought about” followed by the extremely remote event that only the overthinker could imagine. As you think about a “what if” and determine the genuine likelihood of it occurring. Has it happened to you before? Does it happen often? What would have to come together to make it happen? Will Halley’s Comet return prior to this “what if” happening? If the likelihood or probability of occurrence is less than 40% in a reasonable period, move on and make the choice now.

5. Benefits of Action Shift
Using a very purposeful approach, shift your thinking from what could go wrong to the benefits or results of the action. Focus on the benefits, value, and internal satisfaction points that would be generated from a decision or action. Look for the good and not the “what ifs”.

6. Limit Input
A common behavior among overthinkers is to solicit input from others, often many other people. This “shopping for an answer” is designed to minimize the believed risk and validate the “what ifs” discovered by the overthinker. Limit your input to one or two trusted and honest people that will give you a true perspective of the issue and not just what you want to hear.

7. Now is the Perfect Time
The use of a self-imposed and assertively uncomfortable deadline will cure a bit part of this, but it is also necessary to make a shift in mindset. Openly acknowledge that there is no such thing as the perfect time, there is only time and the now. This strategy will reappear a bit later.

Overthinking Frequency:
Often __________
Occasionally __________
Never __________

Overthinking Impact:

High ____________________
Moderate ____________________
Low ____________________

Leading Edge: Limitless Transformation – Overthinking

Limitless Transformation from Aegis Learning and Tim Schneider

Never play Uno or Yahtzee with an overthinker.

This is the most common of the limiting and defeating behaviors and is most often responsible for missed opportunities in every segment of life.

Just a day ago, I fretted endlessly about asking a friend to coffee. What if she says no? What if she misreads my intention? What if she doesn’t like coffee? Wasted a good 45 minutes of my life overthinking something with no risk. We’re having coffee this coming Thursday. Similarly, I have offered a great little business opportunity to three of the Aegis Learning team members early this week. After two days, none of them have responded to this nominal risk and high-return potential chance.

Overthinking is the dwelling on and, often returning to thinking about the same thing. It is also a playing of “what ifs” that are focused on negative consequences and rarely about the positive potential of a situation or stimuli. Overthinkers will also devote undue amounts of time thinking about small and inconsequential issues and do not differentiate between a big thing and a little thing. To them all issues are worthy of the same degree of thought and analysis.

When unchecked and not managed, overthinking can lead to significant paralysis in action and loss of opportunity. In leadership and entrepreneurial roles this can be devastating. An overthinking leader or manager will drive his or her team absolutely nuts by sitting on the most fundamental and straightforward decisions. To anyone who leads, you must remind yourself that delay caused by overthinking risks your credibility as the sand falls from the hourglass. Each grain of sand is your leadership credibility falling away with your delay.

Overthinkers will also tend to over-gather information and data about a particular issue or subject. Way more data than is reasonably needed and many times, that data gathering creates more “what ifs” and is truly not helpful.

The classic overthinker also processes thoughts about timing. They will look for and seek the “perfect” time. That time does not exist, and it will never exist. The result of this delay will be lost opportunity. Overthinkers will also avoid seeking out their needs such as asking for a raise, requesting consideration for a promotion, or asking someone out for a social occasion.

As a behavior, overthinking can be caused by risk avoidance, anxiety, and even depression. In a working environment, it can also be caused by a lack of feedback for good decisions combined with hyper-scrutiny when an error occurred.

The evil twin of overthinking is underthinking. Underthinking is the process of committing no thought to an issue or stimulus and making a rash and arbitrary decision. This is also not a desired outcome as all decisions, with the exceptions of using the restroom, trying the ice cream, and stopping at the red light should have some thought. If you are an overthinker, underthinking is not your target.

Overthinkers should always examine some driving attitudes as well as attacking the behavior itself. It is highly likely that several of the attitudes and beliefs in Section 3 will resonate with the classic overthinkers and need to have some time an attention.

Leading Edge: Limitless Transformation – Frequency and Encouragement

Limitless Transformation from Aegis Learning and Tim Schneider

Frequency and Intensity

Now before anyone goes sprinting towards the cliff in despair, or at the very least, second guessing all their behaviors and itemizing dozens of things that you must work on, please read this section. Maybe twice.

First, we have all limiting and self-defeating behaviors. All of us.

Secondly, but equally important, is that we will work on these in a programmatic and mostly linear method. We are not going to tackle ten poorly serving behaviors and six negative attitudes at one time. We are going to eat this elephant one bit at a time.

To secure a starting point and craft an action plan, we must gauge the severity and frequency of each. It is highly likely that you will find several limiting and self-defeating behaviors that impact your success and happiness. It is also likely, upon going through the list of them again, you will find many that creep in from time to time.

At the end of each behavior and attitude description is a brief scoring guide that is designed to help you understand the impact that each one has on your life and to triage where to begin to work on improvement. There is also a consolidated grid at the end of this book.

The scoring is simple and straightforward. The two criteria are frequency and estimated impact.


Often – Does the behavior or attitude appear often or daily?

Occasionally – Does the behavior or attitude show up periodically or infrequently?

Never – You never display the behavior or attitude.

This will take some thought and reflection to see the true frequency that you display a particular attitude or behavior. We will often tend to underestimate this, and this is a great area to seek some honest feedback from someone close to us. Their view may vary quite a bit from our own view but is more likely to be accurate than our self-view.

Estimated Impact:

High – The behavior or attitude causes significant loss of opportunity, happiness, and success. You can look back and see how the behavior or attitude has had a big impact on your career, key relationships, or caused you anxiety and unneeded work.

Moderate – The attitude or behavior has caused you loss, but it was not severe. You regret the setback, but it was not significant.

Low – The consequences of the behavior or attitude have had very little impact or effect on you.

Looking at impact forces us to examine the cost of our actions and poorly managed attitudes. This is not particularly pleasant and often will dredge up some painful memory points. This analysis is not designed to send you to regression therapy, but it is important to clearly see the impact of these behaviors and attitudes and use this data to avoid future loss situations.

Impact of One

One of the easy temptations of reviewing self-limiting and self-defeating behaviors and associated beliefs and attitudes is to dismiss them quickly because they don’t happen much.

I had the opportunity to recently talk with a long-term customer and friend about some feedback he received about his facial expressions. He had received some feedback from one of his team members that his facial expression made him unapproachable.

But this was just from one team member out of a large group that he leads. Not significant and easy to dismiss. Not worth even a second thought.

Or is it?

First, for every piece of evidence that you are aware of, there are many more in which you are not aware. Simply meaning that for everyone that brings something to your attention, there are at least two or three more that have noticed it but chosen to not say anything. Maybe because your facial expressions made you appear unapproachable.

And if it impacts one person, is it worth the effort to change or modify the behavior? In all relationships and leadership roles the answer must be yes. If it becomes a potential disconnect with one other person, it will become limiting or defeating to you. The impact on one person is certainly worth a little extra reflection and thought.

Final Opening Thought and Encouragement

As with all human behavior changes, these movements will take time. Some will take a lot of time. Allow that and be gentle on yourself during the journey to changing yourself.

You will have setbacks. You will use some old, self-limiting habits, and you will scold yourself. Be as kind to yourself as you would to anyone else who is actively working on themselves. The setbacks are part of the process and improvement. Learn, try, succeed, fail, succeed again, fail less often. That is the adult human learning cycle.

Leading Edge: Limitless Transformation – The Target

Limitless Transformation from Aegis Learning and Tim Schneider

The Target

Ultimately, what we are targeting and shooting for is for you to be happy. And perhaps happier than you have ever been.

What drives individual happiness is, well, very individual. Some will look for more money. Others will look for promotions or a particular job title. And still others will look towards things like location, jumping into entrepreneurialism, better relationships with others, or being a more admired leader. Maybe a winery is Napa is your thing. Perhaps your dreams center around travel.

The exact target doesn’t matter but what is important is to achieve an improved state or condition. To be better tomorrow than you were today. To have more happiness moving forward without the stress you are currently feeling.

If you were hoping for a formula to create a million dollars in the next 90 days, I’m sorry. It’s not here. Can you create and execute that formula after removing your obstacles and limitations? Absolutely you can.


Our definition of behavior differs slightly from the classical definition. Typically, behavior is defined as how someone acts, especially towards others.

For the context here, a behavior is an outwardly observable action. Something that can be seen or sensed by others.

Some easy examples of behavior include your body language and facial expressions, tone of your voice, fidgeting with your hands, praising others, friendliness, assertiveness, listening abilities, and walking pace. All observable and all actions.

Many of our behaviors are quite useful for us and some can become limiting or defeating. A few behaviors appear to be valuable but are masking a limiting or defeating behavior.

In the short term, behaviors can be very easy to change. If I tell you to smile, you will and probably will for the duration of our interaction. Long term behavioral change will require more work and examination of deeper elements of why the behavior exists.


Behaviors that are done repetitively often become habits. Neuroscientists have described a three-part habit loop that includes a cue or trigger, the routine of repeating a behavior, and then a reward, usually intrinsic, that supports the use of the habit.

We all understand habits related to smoking or drug use, but we rarely associate common verbal responses, when we look at email, what apps we use on our phones, or other work routines as habits. They are and again, some are great, but some can be quite limiting for us.

Habits typically take 18 to 21 repetitions to become habits and likewise, it will take that many repetitions to establish new and more useful habits.

One of our challenges will be to unlearn the automatic responses of habits. Learning the new is relatively easy. Unlearning old habits, especially if they have served you well previously, can be daunting. Not impossible but a challenge. All of this will start with one changed iteration at a time. One step by one step. Much more on that later.

Attitudes and Beliefs

Attitudes and beliefs are complex sets of thoughts that drive our behaviors.

Please read that again.

Our attitudes and beliefs drive our behaviors.

Have you ever received a compliment about your “good attitude” about something? It is very likely you have. Did that person have a deeply mystical connection into your soul to see your attitude or were they evaluating your behaviors at that moment? Conversely, have you ever had someone inquiry to see if you were in a “bad mood” or had a “bad attitude” about something? Again, there is a high likelihood that you have. Were they able to see your attitude aura or were they measuring and assessing your behaviors projected by that attitude? Even an inquiry into if we are feeling okay can give insight into the power that attitudes have on our behavior.

Consider these two examples:

Juan is dreading a meeting. Historically it has been a waste of time and nothing but updates from other departments and lots of longwinded presentations that don’t interest him. He has created an attitude of negative expectation. This attitude affects his body language, tone, and overall engagement during the meeting. He is sitting with a scowl on his face, arms crossed, and does not offer any input or appreciation for the updates. And everyone in the room sees it. His attitude has driven these behaviors.

Sonya is looking forward to the same meeting and the opportunity to hear from her peers. She has always enjoyed knowing more about other areas of the company and how they contribute to her success and the overall success of the company. She has created an attitude of positive expectation and it shows. Her body language is open, she smiles frequently, interjects, and praises the updates. And everyone sees it.

I know this is too simple but be Sonya and not Juan.

Consider a personal example of the relationship between attitude and behavior:

You and your husband are hosting a dinner party and he has invited a friend of his that you just don’t like. You have been thinking about it all day and created an attitude of expectation of a negative outcome. All during the gathering, you are sullen, non-communicative, and look like you would rather be anywhere else.

An attitude is a set, or settled, way of thinking about a person, thing, or situation. It is a set of thoughts chained together to create judgement about someone or something. Often these are rooted in some past experiences, some are passed from person to person and even generationally, and some are based on irrationally bigoted thoughts. By themselves, attitudes can be limiting because they will often minimize the possibility of experience that an individual can have in any given situation or with any person.

Attitudes are generally classified as:

• Positive
A generally upbeat and optimistic view of a person, situation, or even the world. This attitude set will drive confidence, hope, determination, sincerity, empathy, and serve to be magnetic with people. A positive expectation is a great example of a positive attitude. Consistent holding and projection of a positive attitude will draw other people of the same attitude qualities to you.

• Negative
This set of thoughts drives a dim view of situations and people and can be very energy draining. This attitude type will also produce anger, doubt, frustration, and resignation from activities and people. Consistently possessing and projecting a negative attitude will draw others of the same to you and rebuff people with positive attitude qualities.

• Neutral
This is neither a good nor a bad thing and it is also not a victory for us. Neutral is blah. There is no doubt but there is also no hope. Neutral attitudes often drive disconnection and disinterest. Nothing is either good or bad, it just is.

• Sikken
A constant state of negativity combined with aggressiveness. This attitude will produce not only internal negativity but seek to dismantle the positive or neutral attitudes of all others. This attitude state must be avoided at all costs and can certainly produce some highly undesired behaviors.

So, to have a consistent set of positive, healthy, and connecting behaviors, we must always work to produce a positive attitude. Likewise, to maintain a changed behavior, we must manage our attitude that drives that behavioral change. Without that step, the behavior change will be short-lived.

A belief is a high level of trust and faith in something or someone. If you accept something as true now and, in the future, it becomes a belief. Our predictions of outcomes (i.e., “that will be great” or “that is really going to suck”) is a belief. Connect that belief with an attitude and you have a powerful behavioral driver.

One of the most important steps we must take is to openly and assertively acknowledge that past events and interactions do not predict all future events and interactions. Just because someone treated you poorly yesterday does not mean they will treat you poorly today. Without this step, our history drive beliefs will produce a negative attitude that will drive very counterproductive behaviors.