A Tale of Two Mind(sets)

In leadership, your perspective is as important as your knowledge and experience. You have a choice between two minds (mindsets). Are you choosing your mindset or are your emotions controlling you?

Meet Sarah and Jane. Both women are experienced professionals facing extra challenges in recent months. One is thriving while the other spirals out of control.

They are both faced with the complexity of moving an entire office, and it’s people, to a new location. Each faces different obstacles in the process, but both are managing this new project along with their existing work.

Sure there’s stress. Of course things don’t go exactly as planned. Without a doubt there are people who are unhappy with the change.

So why does Sarah take this in stride and Jane fall to pieces? It comes down to two things: keeping perspective and taking responsibility.

Jane continually focuses on the things that are going wrong. She complains to whomever will listen about what everyone is doing wrong and how she is suffering. The blame is outside of herself. No one wants to be around her and therefore no one offers suggestions or lends a helping hand. This response causes Jane to feel unappreciated and misunderstood. She views her problems as insurmountable and continues to spiral toward more negative thoughts. She is often heard saying “ will never work.”

Sarah separates the problem from the people, including herself. She recognizes that nothing will go perfectly and doesn’t blame anyone for doing or not doing what she expects. She takes responsibility for her own actions and for empathizing with others through the stressful move. She often takes time to stop recognize the problems she faces can be overcome. She is grateful to live in a first world economy with first world problems. She is often heard saying “what’s next.”

Though a simple change in perspective and taking ownership of what you can do in situations won’t solve all of your problems, it will make working through them easier. When you find yourself facing what seems to be an insurmountable problem, stop and ask yourself two questions:

What am I contributing (either to the problem or to the solution)?
What’s the next step to move forward and who can help me take it?