Look Upstream

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In this episode, we discuss how we need to look at problems from a distance because rarely the issues that we’re facing are caused by what is immediately nearby.

Full Transcript

Hi Everyone, welcome to the You’re Daily Cup of Joe Podcast, with your host Joe Bautista. In this podcast, my goal is to give you quick lessons that you can reflect on in your journal so you can grow yourself physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually and have a better career, better relationships, and better personal finances while you enjoy your morning cup of coffee.
I’m also the author of the book “More You Know, More You Grow: How to Get Better Every Day”. In this book, I wrote down over 30 tips to help you grow in those four cornerstones. I’m also the founder of Grow With Joe, where I combine self-development coaching and financial planning for Latino Professionals.
At the end of today’s podcast episode, I’m going to give you a prompt question to reflect on in your journal. The idea is to take one to five minutes to reflect on today’s lesson and write a minimum of one paragraph on how you can apply the lesson in your life. You can use an actual journal, a word document like on Google Drive, or your note-taking app like Evernote. The idea is that you’re actually thinking about how to process the information to help you improve your life.
In today’s episode, we’re are going to talk about the need to look upstream. Even though I’m doing financial planning, life coaching, and social media marketing right now for my businesses, I say one valuable thing that I did was that I took public health in college. I thought I was going to be a physical therapist or a health care manager, but those things didn’t work out.
I did gain a valuable experience though that has helped me make better decisions and show more empathy by getting that degree. And one of the best lessons that I learned in class is the value of looking upstream. What you see is in front of you, is probably not the root cause of the issue.
To illustrate this, they would tell us that one day there were two fishermen on a bank enjoying their day when all of a sudden they see a baby floating down the river. They save the baby, but then another one comes down the river, then they save that one, and now two babies are floating down the river. This sequence happens just one more time before the fisherman that is a public health person, says hold my rod, I’m going upstream to see what the problem is. And apparently upstream, there is a bridge with a crack in it, that is causing all these babies to fall through.
So when I see something in front of me, I try to ask myself, what else is required to make this thing successful or a failure. I was a personal trainer and I was fascinated by the fact that body issues are usually caused by something else. If you have shoulder pain and you didn’t really do anything, it might be because you have weak scapula blades because you sit hunched back in front of a desk all day and now your shoulder muscles have to do twice the amount of work. Then one day, you blow out your shoulder.
This is one of the reasons why I thought a business that combined life coaching/business/development coaching with financial planning would be such a good idea. To do financial planning, you need to have money, and if order to have money, you have to have a good job, and in order to have a good job, then you need to be a competent individual, and the way you’re a competent individual is that you work on yourself physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. This will help you earn your money, keep your money, and grow your money.
If you don’t look upstream, then you’re just going to constantly fix the same problem over and over again. This can be exhausting. It’s best just to go upstream and fix the problem or just get away from the problem if you go upstream and can’t fix the problem. If you ever heard the term follow the money, then the same concept applies. If someone in congress is proposing something, then it’s probably because someone is paying them money in some way to get that bill passed. That congressperson might really believe in that thing but they had an extra incentive to get the bill passed. They could have also had a family member that is affected by that law. So it doesn’t always have to be money. It could be something emotional.
You also can’t assume things either. You can ask questions about why something is. That will make things clearer for you and most likely the other person. After living with my mom and dad as an adult, I got to see why they are who they are by the stories they would share with me about growing up. So when I would get frustrated by somethings, I would just remind myself that people don’t rise to their expectations, they fall to the level of their training. I love my parents and I don’t have any mal intent, but I just want to say that I understand more.
When I think upstream, then it gives me more peace because it gives me an idea of what the situation is really all about. When you understand why people ask the way they are, then you really can’t get mad at them and now you have tools for how to interact with them. Once I realized that I can’t change this person because this and this happened to them, then I just focus on what I can control in the situation. This is really all you can do if you don’t want to stress yourself out. Focus on what you can control and by looking upstream, it can give you a clearer picture of what you can control.
That’s it for today’s episode, to summarize it, look upstream if you want to have a better understanding of the world and your situation. A big theme of this podcast is self-reflection. Understand the different parts of the entire organization so that you can make better decisions for yourself. I realized that a traditional career path was not for me because I started to look upstream in the future. I realized that I would have these types of responsibilities and I didn’t want those things so I choose to go into business for myself and I love it. So this approach can work for past and future situations and can be really beneficial. I like thinking about the future a lot. I ask myself if I do this, then this can happen, and then this can happen. And if I do this exercise and it’s not giving me the life that I want, then something has to change in my life. This doesn’t have to take long to do, like a minute but it can be a very valuable exercise to do that will help you live the life that you want.
So in your journal, ask yourself, what is a problem or issue in your life, and what are some of the upstream issues that could cause this downstream issue that you’re facing right now? Then once you identify the issue upstream, what are some solutions to make things better downstream for yourself. The problem might not be fixed right away, but if you take an active approach in fixing the upstream issue instead of the downstream issue, then you’re going to live a much better life. So take this time to reflect and you should be doing this exercise on a routine basis. Reflection is going to help you change your situation but the action afterward is going to make better.
Thanks for listening today! To get a free copy of my book “More You Know, More You Grow: How to get better every day” just go to my website growwithjoe.me/book and just pay for shipping and handling.
I have a quiz on my website that grades your inner circle, so if you want to find out if your inner circle is an A, B, C, D, or F, you can take that quiz at growwithjoe.me/quiz
I’m also trying to do a feedback Friday episode, so if you have a question that you would like to have my answer on the air, just e-mail me at [email protected]
I’m also on Instagram at Grow With Joe and Facebook just look up Grow With Joe
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Thanks for joining me today and remember if you go with Joe, you can grow with Joe, cause Joe knows Dough.
*Music outro

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