I’ve worked with a lot of business owners, professionals, and teams. I’ve seen an epidemic culture time and time again. I call it the Unicorn Syndrome.
A Unicorn is a magical creature that appears out of nowhere to issue miracles and goodwill to all who are lucky enough to be in it’s presence. Unicorn Syndrome is when results are related to as luck. Magical instances of awesomeness that appear out of nowhere.
Unicorn results can’t be counted on. They just show up. They happen to an organization. Nobody in particular is the cause of them.
You may be wondering why this is an epidemic. It’s because they can’t be counted on. Business is about systems and processes that cause results such as production and sales. If anyone is waiting for results to just show up, the business is doomed.
Now, imagine a situation where people relate to themselves as the one who either makes or breaks the end result. This causes people to take ownership of their roles and the results they produce. It’s empowering and adds velocity to any project.
It also provides for a more enjoyable experience of work and life in general. Think about it for a moment. Would you feel better about yourself if you got lucky or if you knew without a shadow of a doubt that you were the one who created the awesome result you have?
If you’re anything like me, the latter would make you feel better and would be more empowering every time. “Hey! Nice job getting lucky on that big deal you landed!” ….would make me feel proud of myself ….said nobody. Ever.
Whether you’re a leader and want to shift the Unicorn Syndrome culture on your team, or you simply want to see yourself as a producer, you’re going to need to do some things differently. These things are simple, but not always easy. Be prepared to practice. And that means being prepared to fail.
Change What You Think, Say & Do
You want to say goodbye to the Unicorn and hello to the power of big results on purpose. You’re going to have to change what you think, say and do.
Many people have good things happen and they quickly become fearful that those good things will never happen again. They think they better enjoy it while it lasts because this is temporary. They lack trust in themselves and the people around them.
These people need to change the way they think about themselves and their results. Instead of thinking I’m lucky I encourage them to think I’m the source. This practice has them change the message their brain sends to all the cells in their body.
When we talk to ourselves, our bodies respond to it. That’s what thoughts are. Talking to ourselves. If we think we’re lucky, our bodies tend to actively wait. That may sound weird. I’m asserting that taking no action is actually taking an action.
The results we get from that place are few and far between. As such they occur as miracles or magic. They occur as Unicorns.
If people are having a hard time realizing they’re actually the source of their results, I recommend they go back and track them. If they pay attention they’ll see that every result they’ve ever experienced was because of something they thought, said or did. Guaranteed.
Next people need to begin speaking in a way that aligns with them being the source of their results. It’s a practice of taking ownership of their ability to do what they said they would. Practice saying I did that or that happened because I said or did X.
When praised or acknowledged for a particular result practice saying thank you. Practice talking about yourself and your results as if you were the one who created them. Because you did.
Lastly practice noticing that every move you make is contributing to the results you have. Consider the process of producing results. Every call, every meeting, every no is part of the process of generating the end result.
A successful farmer doesn’t relate to his crop as a magical thing that happened. He knows he has to sow a bunch of seeds and then some of those seeds are going to end up being his crop. This is no Unicorn, it’s the process of producing a bountiful harvest.
Another thing for people to practice is celebrating wins. All of them. As if you created them. Because you did. In my work I have people reward themselves for reaching milestones and for crossing the finish line. This is a brand new action to take for most of my clients.
All of these new practices of thinking, speaking and doing, will support people in their pursuit of shifting from Unicorn Syndrome to being the source of all of their results. It’s exciting to see when this occurs in people’s lives and businesses. These people change in a once-and-for-all kind of way.
Don’t take my word for it. There’s plenty of evidence on this out there, and let one of my clients tell you in his own words what he experienced when he took this on for himself.
This guy’s a professional musician who was very scared for a long time about becoming one of those starving artists. He was making decent money when we started working together, but he related to his results as Unicorns.
He thought he was getting lucky and wanted help making sure he could hold onto what he had let alone produce results that were even better. He’s got a great work ethic so it wasn’t for lack of trying. He just believed he was doing anything, that results were just falling into his lap.
Here’s what he said after working together for a few months:
“In my business, I have set, approached, and reached, unimagined goals. I have started a new business, owned myself as a business and a business owner, and just about doubled my average monthly income. Most important, I know myself to be the source of these results, and so my relationship to them is not that I was lucky and must hope they happen again, but that I caused them and can cause them again. When fears and thoughts get in the way of this, I am more and more practiced at recognizing these for what they are, and that they are not the truth, and acting in ways that serve my commitments and goals, not my fears or limiting beliefs.”
When he sent this to me it was music to my ears. I knew I had done my job. And yes, I celebrated this as a win he and I co-created. I listened for what he needed, and he did the work.
This can happen for anyone. Even you and the members of your team. It just takes starting and some practice to become the source of unprecedented results.
Results = Normal. This is the equation that causes the death of Unicorn Syndrome once and for all. I’d love to hear about how it works for you.