leadership incorporated blog

June 19, 2011

Inspired to Succeed: None So Blind As Those Who Focus on Reality

A vice president in a health care organization sees the problems caused by upper management as unsolvable.

She thinks she is just being realistic. She feels powerless to make any changes and fears that she will lose her job if she speaks the truth. She is paralyzed and feels her only option is to tolerate or leave. She doesn’t even consider the potential opportunities that might become available to her in identifying and addressing these challenges head-on.

The president of a digital marketing company believes that “no one has money to spend right now.”  He can find plenty of evidence to support this reality, in the media and from his own personal experience in reaching out to companies for new business who have said “This is not the time.” This belief combined with his fear of rejection and failure is actually preventing him from being able to find and target companies who are growing and profitable and in need of her services.

The head of a PR agency focuses on the likelihood of losing a client if she asks for fair compensation in today’s recessed economy. Not wanting to fight reality, she charges less than she knows she needs and is struggling to make a living. She doesn’t see the potential of winning the client over by making a strong value proposition.

Every business (and life) situation has BOTH challenge and potential. When we focus exclusively on what’s lacking, what’s not working or what might go wrong, we miss the wealth of opportunities that surround us. When we focus too much on “reality” (meaning fear), we become blind to possibilities that could turn our situation around far faster than we could even imagine.

A critical leadership best practice is while remaining aware of the challenges,  keep your focus on the potential. Form a vision for a better way and let that guide your thinking, decisions and actions. Be a little (or a lot) unrealistic. Dare to believe that things could be much much better. And then put your focus on making it so.

Where are fear, frustration or lack keeping you from seeing the opportunities right in front of you?

Ask yourself if you’re being driven by wanting (it may feel like needing) control, safety, approval, separation or connection. Be brutally honest.

Get coaching support in shifting from reacting to these blinding wants to activating the creativity of what’s possible. Your success depends on it.

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