How to connect all your strengths into one

You may have adopted a “thumbs up” attitude, and you may be pointing your index finger straight at success, but if you are still using each individual finger and not combining them into a formidable fist, you have not achieved maximum power. Apply the strength of the fist against your challenges, and you will successfully conquer them!

Let’s get back to ACE and explain what Achieving Combined Excellence means as a whole. To understand this concept better, we need to know the difference between synergy and fragmentation.

Fragmentation is when a very motivated person jumps up (impulse driven), and like an exploding grenade, seems to fly all over the place. This person is everywhere fast, but nowhere for very long; I call this type of person, Mr. Fragmentation, the human grenade.

He’s that unique individual who wants to do this, that, and the other, all the while forgetting to do this, that, and the other from yesterday. He rarely sees any venture or project to its conclusion; he’s off on something new. You may have encountered Mr. Fragmentation as a business partner. It probably did not work out well for you. He may be a warrior lacking the skills of a cultivator. The problem with Mr. Fragmentation’s actions is that each one has no real connection to the other. This, that, and the other are not related, and eventually, he ends up in pieces. So do his family members and business partners. Consider how ineffective your fingers would be if they were all disconnected from your hand. Would they be able to grip? Could they hold on to success or finish a task? Not likely. They are just individual, disjointed fingers, each able to do only what they are capable of doing alone, which is not much.

Then there is “Mr. Synergy,” the person who finds links with each action he takes and associates them so they support each other; he focuses on making the fist. He asks how he can add new goals without drawing power from other objectives. His fingers are all connected to the palm, the center of power.

A “handy” strategy

For me, synergy is very important since my life is very much based on my career. Before I take on a new challenge, I review it in depth to see if it meshes well with other projects I am doing. Will this new goal add to my current needs or will it add stress and keep me from giving the needed focus on other goals? The fingers on your hand work together. If you are putting together a team of specialists to handle a job, you will want a team that supports each other for the project. You don’t want someone who is a distraction or skilled in something that does not add value to your project.

I am a martial arts instructor, but I also love to spend time in the outdoors, so my martial art programs all combine the outdoors as part of the training. I love to rock climb, hike, and travel. So I have included all of these elements into travel and training adventure tours. I don’t need to take time out from my programs to go rock climbing. I can simply take my students on a rock climbing trip and accomplish two goals at once. When something you want to add to your life or business complements another part of your life or business, that is synergy. It stands a much better chance of success than if you decided to embark upon some disconnected venture that had no relationship to the other “fingers” of your life.

There’s no “I” in “Team”

One of the secrets to successful management is getting the people to work well as a team. Many companies hire a martial arts instructor so their employees can exercise together to build team spirit and get more joy out of work while producing better results, both for the company and for themselves. Finding or creating a team of success-driven individuals is a big step toward success. Your team must be built with people who are success-conscious individuals, each with their own specific benefits to the team. This does not mean that the individual becomes less important. Individual talent and effort are what makes the team successful, each individual making a unique contribution to the team, which together accomplishes the stated goal.

Sometimes we have to do something we don’t really enjoy, yet it is essential for our growth. What we can do is stop focusing on the dilemmas of our condition and start focusing on the strength it adds to other areas of our lives.

The number one question for Mr. Synergy: “What’s the synergy in this?”

Synergy test

Hold out the index finger of your right hand. Now hold your left hand in front of you, palm open and the fingers pointing up. Pretend your left hand is a board. Strike your finger against the imaginary board and imagine what it would feel like if you were trying to break this board with your finger. Finger against board, finger against board, finger against board. What we have is a finger smashing into a board. Wouldn’t that hurt? It does hurt; stop doing it.

Some of us just keep on striking with that “Someday I’ll break that board” attitude. Now combine your fingers together to form a fist and strike your other hand. Feel the difference? This is Achieving Combined Excellence. Take all of these separate strategies and combine them into one whole and you have a lot of positive personal power.

Winjitsu Work Out

Are you fragmented?

Make a list of all your projects and goals. Think of all the energy you spend each day and where you allocate your time. What do all these activities have in common and how are they in some way connected to support each other? Those projects in your life that don’t seem to support your “big picture” needs might have to be trimmed in order to strengthen the hand you are playing.

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