I’m not much of a gardener, but I have achieved notable success with my raspberries. Four years ago, I transplanted about a dozen stubby starts, and the plants are now six feet tall! But in gardening, with great success comes great responsibility: when it came time to harvest, I assumed that I needed to collect EVERY ONE of those beautifully ripe berries when they were at the peak of perfection. As a result, harvesting them became quite the ordeal. I had to clear my calendar, rally the reluctant troops (namely, my kids, who hate the resident bees and the tiny thorns), and then deal with a mountain of quickly deteriorating berries. Worst of all, the self-imposed stress turned me into a productivity-focused monster.
When the first ripe berries appeared this year, my excitement quickly succumbed to dread. But I caught myself. Looking at the imposing plants, I realized I could change my mindset. Instead of one do-or-die event, I could rethink harvesting and turn it into a process. So, I adopted an entirely new approach: every day or two, I checked a different plant and gathered some of the best berries. The results?
- The chore transformed into a daily process that benefitted all parties.
- My repeated and highly focused attention helped me to spot problems early and continually improve.
- The new process yielded a bigger outcome – and more joy – than ever before.
Shifting my mindset transformed everything. As leaders, we must be willing to challenge our mindsets. When we question a basic definition or rethink a process, we open up the possibility to shift our entire outlook. What then becomes possible?
Recognize a limiting mindset by paying attention to somatic cues, like the knot in your stomach or the weight on your shoulders.
Get curious about a troublesome detail or a basic definition – start asking yourself questions and see where they lead.
Zoom out to reframe the largest issues, such as purpose or outcomes, in a new context.