You hold the power to change your life
In the early stages of my career, my first manager shared with me the power of thinking positively. This opened my eyes to what is possible when we focus on what is good and acknowledge the many opportunities that are present around us. This thinking has shaped my personal and professional life every day since. Not only do I feel happier, but I also live with hope for the future and believe in world of possibility.
However, it is not always easy to spot the positives, particularly when the lens we see reality through is clouded by competition, fear and scarcity. Spotting the positives has become even more difficult in the increasingly tough times we live in.
This is why it’s so important to learn how to celebrate what’s right with the world.
In a powerful TEDx Talk, world-renowned National Geographic photographer, Dewitt Jones, shares how we can build a mindset of abundance rather than scarcity, possibility rather than fear and agility rather than rigidity.
While this is crucial for personal wellbeing, it is equally important in our professional lives – particularly for leaders who provide a lens for how employees think about and experience their jobs.
For example, if leaders display negative mindsets, like encouraging competition over collaboration or withholding recognition, employees take note. And, instead of helping drive success, this mindset creates stress, anxiety and fear of failure. This makes creating the desired mental and behavioural shifts needed for change particularly challenging.
Mindset is, therefore, a critical component of success that can help leaders achieve their goals.
Here are a few key steps for how to adopt a mindset of growth, abundance and success:
1. Reframe your perspective
It’s well known that our mindset controls our perspective and that perspective becomes our reality. As leaders, this is particularly important because the reality you create for your people starts with yourself. Think about the lens you use to see reality. Do you often find yourself looking at what’s wrong with a situation rather than what’s right? Turn this around by challenging your assumptions and reframing them.
For example, do you believe that your team is always resistant to change? Thinking in these absolute terms fosters a negative mindset and focuses only on what’s wrong with the situation. Rather, start looking for exceptions and spotting moments when team members make small shifts of positive change. Importantly, recognise these moments among your team: what you focus on will grow, giving you more opportunities to foster success.
When we can reframe our perspective to focus on what’s working, we will find the energy to fix what’s wrong. It’s not about ignoring the setbacks. Rather, it’s about learning from them and reframing obstacles as opportunities.
2. Be open to possibilities
Even if we reframe our perspective, it won’t matter if we are not open to possibilities. This requires an abundance mindset – the ability to learn and grow from challenges and focus on opportunities rather than limitations.
We may desire to lead with an abundance mindset. However, human nature tends to suck us back into a fear-based scarcity mindset if our thinking is left unchecked. Despite being difficult, we can become champions of finding the best in situations in the same way we become proficient in anything: practice, practice, practice.
To encourage abundance thinking in your team, use “how” instead of “why” or “who”. How opens up a world of possibilities and implies a solution. Another great technique is to ask instead of tell. When you ask appreciative questions and listen, employees are encouraged to come up with innovative and creative solutions to challenges.
3. Practice gratitude
Practicing gratitude is one of the most widely-recognised methods to improve mental and physical wellbeing. It’s hard to feel anxiety and fear when you are feeling grateful at the same time. One way to practice gratitude is to write down five things you are grateful for each day. Include even the simplest things that you might take for granted, like having a garden or breathing fresh air.
Similarly, get into the habit of acknowledging the many contributions of your team. Notice and compliment them for positive behaviours like living the values, thinking ahead and taking initiative. An attitude of gratitude leads to an abundance perspective.
4. Make recognition a part of your weekly conversations
Recognition is the easiest and cheapest tool a leader can use to inspire positivity, engagement and innovation. And yet, it is often the least utilised.
At 2Collaborate, we have identified three of the biggest misconceptions when it comes to recognition: leaders believe their people will become arrogant; many harbour the belief that because they are not celebrated they do not need to celebrate others; and others question the need for when people are paid to do their job.
These responses to recognition inhibit collaboration and growth. Inspiring and effective leaders don't sit back and wait for engagement and performance to improve. Instead, as they walk the floor, they give praise, or write personal notes. In short, they are always trying to catch excellence in action.
A great way to make recognition a habit is to include it in your weekly meetings. Calling attention to and celebrating what’s right fuels energy and engagement and makes employees more accepting of change.
How can we help you be the change you want to see in your team?
Looking at life through the lens of abundance and celebration is a powerful catalyst for energy, engagement and productivity.
At 2Collaborate, we believe that mindset is a key ingredient of high-performance. If people don’t think differently, they won’t do differently.
Explore how our high-impact leadership, engagement and change-readiness approach can help your employees make the mental and behavioural shifts required for high-performance.
About the author: Hennie Brittz, Director and Head of Marketing and Technology at 2Collaborate
Hennie has spent 13 years in business and consulting conceptualising, designing and implementing large-scale performance improvement processes. An entrepreneur at heart, he founded the design and internal communications agency, Elevate, in 2019. Shortly, thereafter he co-founded GameChangers, a business consultancy that brings you the best from the sports field and boardroom.
Get to know more about Hennie on LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/henniebrittz/