“People generally see what they look for, and hear what they listen for.” – Harper Lee
One of the most amazing things about people is our minds. There are times when we demonstrate an incredible ability to dream up big dreams. There are also times when we convince ourselves that any dream we might come up with – big or small – is impossible. We can talk ourselves into and out of just about anything. It’s fascinating to watch.
Leaders are no different than anyone else. Sometimes I have conversations with leaders that are optimistic and energizing. Sometimes I have conversations with leaders that are pessimistic and demoralizing. Sometimes the same person goes back and forth from one to the other within the same conversation.
Over the past few years, I’ve heard a lot of leaders talk about how things are bad, challenges seem insurmountable, everything’s scary, etc. Certainly we’ve all faced difficulties that none of us would have thought of back in 2019. But we can’t allow all those negatives and all that uncertainty to dominate our thinking.
It may seem like a fairy tale, but the reality is that in most situations, if you expect good things to happen, you’ll manage to find good things. If you expect bad things to happen, you’ll find bad things. A lot of people don’t like to acknowledge that fact, because then they have some responsibility for what goes on in their lives and their businesses. But it’s true.
Think about your perspective as a leader. Whether it’s pre-COVID, post-COVID, whatever – how do you view your situation? Are you consistently identifying positives that you can build on? Or are you focused entirely on the things that are dragging you down?
In the interest of avoiding angry emails, no, I’m not suggesting that you should ignore things that are unpleasant. You always have to be willing to be brutally honest about your current situation and challenges. However, you can never lose the belief that regardless of that situation and those challenges, you will prevail.
Take some time this week to notice your attitude and focus. What are you looking for? What are your expectations? Be mindful of how that attitude and focus impacts you, your people, and your entire organization. Is that impact positive? If not, you have some changes to make.