When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.
Wow. This is a very powerful sentence.
Please take a moment and read the sentence again out loud this time: “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.”
From a rational perspective it makes perfect sense. It’s the practical perspective that is the challenging one.
If this makes so much sense, why is it that we as leaders have such difficulty with the art of looking at things differently, most especially the things we want to change so badly?
What prevents us from changing the way we look at things?
Have you ever been in a situation in which you were absolutely sure you were right and it was the only way to go about it and no other possible alternative was available or more suitable than yours? Probably. And no doubt you’ve come across others who have felt exactly the same!
Because of the unifocal attention on the knowing what we know as a leader, we automatically exclude the field of opportunities that lie in the knowing what we don’t know and the even bigger field of not knowing what we don’t know…
What has this to do with changing the way you look at things? Everything.
In fact, the power of the sentence “when we change the way we look at things, the things we look at change” only gets released if we are able, as leaders, to step into the field of not knowing.
As a leader, when you are able to hold your hand up and express that you do not know, you open up a huge window of opportunity to change the way you look at things. This admission allows you and your colleagues and employees to embrace the not-knowing, and come up with loads of different perspectives – you will not be held back by your “knowing” and your beliefs that have been built up over the years of experience as a leader and even further back as a child or teenager.
Easier said than done!
Stepping into that vulnerable space of admitting “I do not know” takes some getting used to. Many people have a fear of not being in control, and this would be a prime example of feeling that loss of control.
“Not knowing” requires practice and even when you have begun to practice, you will always have that little moment, that split second of anxiety when you speak these words out loud.
That’s because before we step into practice, we need to increase our consciousness as a leader. Recognising that we are holding tight to a belief (or limiting belief) that shifts us into a “know-it-all-mindset”. A mindset from which active listening is completely shut down and replaced by a raised voice, by wanting to be right and by speaking in opinions only. Have you encountered a “know-it-all mindset” lately? How about when you look in the mirror?
We all slip into this ineffective mindset now and then. It is the art of shifting towards more effective mindsets that makes a leader flourish and open up our power to change the way we look at things, so that the things we look at change.
Imagine for a moment what this could do for you, and your organisation.
We at Parrhesian have come across many examples of unlocking this full human potential through the manifestation of this powerful sentence and the willingness of the leader to step through fear into vulnerability. If you want to hear more about mindsets, stories or cases and examples or if you want to unlock the power of this sentence for yourself and your organisation, please contact us
(Photo by Marc-Olivier Jodoin on Unsplash)