“Focus on the fundamentals – inspire the team. 
The genius within us asked to shape the still unseen; 
Yet the world continues gasping in a strange collective pause-
Could we use it to embrace the wound and heal the larger cause?  
Reflect. Grieve. Breathe. Rise. 
Allow success to re-emerge with compassion at its side.” 

A New Normal

Life is different these days. As we continue to shelter in place, we’re out of adrenalin, eyes burning and brain numb from online meetings. With pervasive unease, burnout and economies failing, we have a dangerous mix of realities. 

What are we learning that can help us? 

A client recently shared being torn by many strong emotions – grief for the future her son will never have; fear for loved ones who are struggling; and stress for employees the company has to furlough.  As our families and colleagues look to us for guidance and answers, we’re forced to address the difficult question: 

 “How do we define success in today’s environment?”    

Each individual, team and company will develop their unique response to the challenge of success redefined. For those still working on it, three practices have profoundly helped those I coach. They are shared below to help us be deliberate when leading in uncertainty and reshaping our daily, personal success. 

Redefining Success  

1. Focus on What is Certain. 

For many, our brains feel like we’re running in circles. This is our brain seeking certainty; patterns -and keeping us safe. This takes energy and can be exhausting. It rarely allows us to move forward. We can stop the swirl if instead of thinking about all that’s uncertain, we focus on what is certain.

When we choose to focus on what’s known versus unknown, our limbic brain settles down and we get into our cognitive area that can see what is true- and what we can control. These are truths we know and are familiar with – such as the qualities and characteristics of who we are and how our business works. There is plenty of effort in just meeting the demands of now, and focusing on what we know helps us get traction and reduce energy spent on non productive worry.  

This is the place from which we want to lead, so that when we arrive at the frontier named ‘new normal’ we are able and ready to respond.   

When we consider ourselves, our work, or our industry:
What have we learned that’s useful? What will we keep?  
What’s working now we didn’t know before and should keep doing? 
And what’s not working that we need to stop doing?   

The temporary global shutdown has given pause enough to shed light on our areas of resilience and points of failure at many levels. What do we now know about our supply chain? Our processes and systems? Our talent pool and needed skill sets? Our children and their craving for family, friends and- our freedom?  If we can carry the gold of our learning forward, we evolve.  

2. Turn Inside. 

A practice described as “turning inside to turn outside,” is written about by Carol Dweck in her book Mindset. The intentional turning in allows us to observe our situation more objectively and learn from it – then to germinate new ideas, apply them through action, then reflect to progress.

With constant repetition, the turning inward to turn outward becomes our personal revolution against an unintentional life defined by externalities. This sounds a whole lot better than chasing our tails to exhaustion. 

3. Lead by Example.

An outward mindset is one that focuses on others, on what is important to all stakeholders: our employees, customers, manager, family members. An outward mindset means that we genuinely see (and hear and listen) to others.” (The Outward Mindset). 

  1. Go deep inside and understand what you want (sound familiar?) 
  2. Communicate your vision to others, the steps to get there, and why it matters
  3. Set an example by continuing with an outward mindset going forward

Adopting a mindset centered on caring, service, working together and complementing one another allows us to embrace the positive feelings we have within ourselves. Embracing these in turn leads to control, connection and innovation. By using energy in a positive way, we can not only transform how we feel and act, but have an impact on those around us.

“Adopt an outward mindset even when others don’t. Rather than complain, we can make the move we are waiting for the other person to make—we can act the way we want the other person to act. This kind of unilateral change is the essence of true leadership.”

Three steps: Turn inward, focus on what is certain, and seek to serve others.  

Embracing this spirit with confidence energizes us to take action and lead, even in uncertainty. If success is defined by our impact on others, these are the ingredients for the mindset that helps this emerge. 

Here’s to a healthy mindset today and that equips us for the future. 

Exploring a mindset for success? Let’s have a discovery call. 

#executivecoaching #coaching #mindset #leadership

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