Leading Blog






11.05.15

What Gear Are You In Right Now?

5 Gears

“Wherever you are, be all there!” Jim Elliot’s advice offers a difficult challenge. “You’re here but your mind is somewhere else” is a common refrain.

5 Gears
Jeremie Kubicek and Steve Cockram, authors of 5 Gears: How to Be Present and Productive When There Is Never Enough Time, write “Every day, millions of people are negatively impacted by the inability of a person to connect appropriately and to be present.” So much drama is created when we don’t know how to shift gears and become present.

5 Gears offers an extremely valuable metaphor for identifying which gear you are in and finding the right gear at the right time in order to connect fully with others. The model is a relationship-driven approach. It is values-driven and helps to counteract self-absorption.
The majority of people are not aware of their social awkwardness and give little time to thinking about what gear the other person is in while they are talking.

When a person’s agenda is the driving force of their life, then they are going to run over people most of the time unless they learn to use their brakes and downshift.
What I like most about the 5 Gears model is first, it gives you language to communicate which gear you are in to yourself and others, and to understand where others are at so that you can be more fully present. Second, it helps you plan what gear you need to be in as you move through your day. And third, it helps to be more self-aware and other-aware.

5 Gears Model


Like shifting gears in a car, there is a right order and a right time for each gear. Life goes more smoothly when you are shifting through the gears at the right time—and avoiding getting stuck in any one gear.

Here are the 5 Gears:

5th Gear5th Gear: Learn to Get "In the Zone"

5th Gear is focus mode that allows us to “get in the zone” without interruption. It takes discipline to shut the door, turn off your email, and let people know that you are shifting into 5th gear, but it makes it possible to cruise at a sustained speed for a period of time. The caution is that when you get stuck in 5th gear you miss out on relationships, opportunities to add value, and events in life that matter in the long term.

4th Gear4th Gear: Leading in a Task World

4th Gear is the task gear that allows us to work hard while also multitasking. Most of the time we operate in 4th Gear so we need to learn to use it well. Waking up in 4th Gear is not the best strategy for your life. Our tasks can begin to control our lives. (Do you normally check your e-mail when you first wake up?) We need to learn how to shift into it and how to shift out of it. They relate the observation of Elizabeth Paul as an example. How many of us are like this:
The personal story for me was realizing that as a woman I have “work” 4th and 5th gear and “domestic” 4th and 5th gear. I thought that because I was being disciplined about putting my devices away during the golden family window of 5 to 8 P.M. I wasn’t in 4th or 5th gear, when in reality I was just putting on a different task hat. When my eyes were opened to that, I realized that I actually have little to no 3rd or 1st gear in my life at all. That was shocking.
In other words, the other gears are not just another 4th Gear task. Each Gear requires a different mindset or approach to your time. If we learn to implement the other gears in our life we will find that our everyday, multitasking 4th gear will become more productive.

3rd Gear3rd Gear: Why Being Social Matters

3rd Gear is the social gear. 3rd gear is a mindset. It is the space between task-driven, hyper focused work and the no-work, relational connection of being with your family, spouse, or close friend. Type-As need to remember that business happens in 3rd gear—in relationships. If you are too important for small talk, you might want to study the chapter on 3rd Gear. Of course you can get stuck in 3rd gear and overdo it. At the same time if you try to control social space it actually becomes a 4th Gear activity for you.

2nd Gear2nd Gear: Connecting Deeply

2nd Gear represents connecting with family, friends, or colleagues. Whether work colleagues, family, or friends, it is time geared toward relationship building without an agenda or pressure to be productive. Some of us have never really learned how to connect. It can’t be forced. It requires making time and learning to truly give of yourself to others.

2nd Gear is a difficult gear to be in because we live in a 4th Gear world. Kubicek writes that while writing this book consumed a lot of time, energy and mental thought, “it is still my responsibility to be the leader worth following in my home. Even with the pressure of a deadline, I still have to practice shifting.” He has found that being present in 2nd Gear leads to healthy relationships that bring peace to your mind and heart, fruitful growth between people, better conversations, likeability and trust, reestablished priorities, less drama and more security, social awareness and emotional intelligence.

1st Gear1st Gear: Learn How To Recharge

1st Gear represents being fully recharged. Do you know how to recharge? “If you figure out what 1st Gear feels like for you and discipline yourself to spend more time there, more power will flow through you. If you live and lead out of 20 percent battery life then you will never experience what you hope to experience.” The recharging gear if different for all of us. What works for one may not work for another. But we need to find what works for us. Think about this statement: “Working from your rest, not rest from your work, is the goal.” Note to self: “Crashing is not resting; it is actually just crashing.” It is simply stalling out. Truly healthy rest restores you.

Reverse GearReverse: Learn How to Apologize

Reverse is the responsive gear. It is used when we need to back up and start again or apologize. Unfortunately, too many people operate without a reverse gear.
There are two types of people—responsive and resistant. You hire responsive ones and fire the resistant. Responsive people are self-aware and have a consciousness that is not steeped in victim mentality, but rather responsibility. They understand that they are responsible for their actions and will make amends when they have clearly overstepped their bounds. Responsive people are the best employees, and spouses, and children.

Resistant people, on the other hand, are exhausting. Resistance is basically pride. Resistance will fight rather than resolve, blame rather than admit, and run away rather than run toward reconciliation.
Are there any relationships you need to restore?

Making the 5 Gears Work For You

After explaining the 5 gears, Kubicek and Cockram ask us to find our go-to gear. Where do we like to spend most of our time and what gear is the hardest for us to be in? Learning how to improve on your hardest gears hold the keys to improving your influence in the lives of others.

Next you need to find the right time for each gear as you go through your day. There is a natural time for gears. Your mornings should not start in 4th Gear. Really! When we are in the wrong gear at the wrong time we create disconnects. Shifting well is both an art and a science. 5 Gears offers some practical examples of leading your life intentionally and in the right gear at the right time.

I know this post is getting long, but let me leave you with an example of integrating the 5 Gears into your daily schedule:
6A.M.—Wake Time: 1st Gear
7A.M.—Drive Time: 1st or 4th Gear
8A.M.—Work Time: 4th or 5th Gear
12 Noon—Lunchtime: 3rd or 1st Gear
1P.M.—Work Time: 4th or 5th Gear
5P.M.—Drive Time: 4th or 1st Gear
6P.M.—Dinner Time: 2nd or 3rd Gear
8P.M.—Social Time: 3rd or 2nd or 1st Gear
10P.M.—Bedtime: 1st Gear

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Posted by Michael McKinney at 11:28 AM
| Comments (0) | This post is about Human Resources , Personal Development



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