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How Arguments Can Move a Business Forward

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My thoughts about productivity sometimes come out of virtually anywhere -- even from the movie The Bourne Ultimatum. 

Two weeks ago I watched this movie sitting in seat 6D on an American Airlines flight from New York City to Los Angeles. Early in the movie, Jason Bourne is being chased by Russian police officers. When Bourne turns the tables on one of his pursuants, the officer says, "Please don't kill me."

Bourne replies, "My argument is not with you."

I pressed the pause button, took out my journal and started writing. That's how powerful the quote seemed at that moment. 

Related: The Art of Having a Productive Argument

Reflecting on it, I started to reconsider the arguments (really discussions) that I have had over the last month. I started to think about the true focus of those arguments.

For example, a month ago I met with a mentor, the CEO of an investment bank in New York City, to strategize about how to grow my business in the next two years. She said sagely if you want to grow the business, you're going to have to do things differently.

She spent the next 40 minutes questioning my need for certain daily routines and workflow habits. I argued for keeping the routines I'd become comfortable with over the last several years of running my business, traveling the world and offering workshops.

She told me that my achievements thus far had resulted from habits I had developed from experiments years ago. She said that if I wanted to experience new levels of success and business growth in the coming months, I'd have to start doing something different.

I continued to argue for keeping my current routines, keeping myself in my comfort zone. These activities had led me to results. There must be benefits to working comfortably, after all.

Yet, in the end I finally agreed with her. She asked, How are you going to connect more deeply with the people you already have connections with?

Around that same time a mentor of mine, Marshall Goldsmith, also suggested that I should adopt new routines. He said, “What got you here, won’t get you there.” 

Related: Feel Dumb Asking for Advice? You'll Actually Appear More Competent.

I am seeing that the arguments of an entrepreneur can help shape his dream, his reality, how much he gets done and where he takes his company. Everything depends on having the best, most focused, most productive conversations (or arguments) possible. It’s obvious to me that my next big project of mine (a new client, contract or product) will require that I look at things differently or do things differently. 

As a result of these arguments-discussions with my mentors, for over a month now I’ve been switching up one routine at a time. I experiment with a new habit for five days.

Here are my two most recent five-day experiments:

1. Write a thank you card the first thing in the morning when I arrive at my desk.

2. Read a minimum of one chapter of a book (any one) before I fall asleep.

I now realize from all my recent arguments that the real argument here is the one I've been having with myself. I'm now mulling this: Am I willing to revise what I used to think I wanted so I can dream even bigger?

My most important role as a CEO, a co-founder, a husband and a community member is to identify my own raison d’être and live my “why?” to my fullest potential. It’s my job to clarify the most current version of the best vision of my life. What I'm experiencing right now is the result of only the last vision I had created.

Jason Bourne was beat up, bloodied and sleep deprived but knew very clearly the person his argument was not with. In order to do that, he had to do the premeditation necessary. He had a vision of what he wanted to be true and took massive action after massive action to make it so.

How about you? Are you ready to argue and create a life of purposeful engagement?

Related: How Fortune 500 Leaders Spend Every Minute of the Day (Infographic)

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