Let’s start this final week of the Grow Great podcast – well, the final week for 2018 – by talking about a way of thinking. Mindset, attitude, mentality. Call it whatever you’d prefer, but I’m calling it exactly what it is – a way of thinking. Depending on the topic, we all have a way of thinking about that topic. It’s a combination of our personality, how we’re hardwired, coupled with how life experiences have shaped our outlook. You think the way you think for a reason. It may not be a good or great reason, but it’s not just some random thing.
We’re going to take 5 days to improve our way of thinking. To establish a high growth way of thinking.
Today is Monday, Day 1. The objective today is to come to grips with the truth that no matter how terrific we feel about our current thinking, we can grow it. Improve it. Most of us have vast room for improvement.
Let’s begin by being clear about the terminology. A high growth way of thinking isn’t merely self-confidence. Self-confidence is part of a high growth way of thinking, but it’s not the total of what it is.
Self-confidence can be difficult to truly understand. Some confuse it with bravado. Others think it’s this irrational “I can do it” no matter how strong the evidence may be that it’s impossible. One definition of self-confidence that resonates with how I view it is the belief that you are sufficiently equipped to handle whatever happens. I may not have all the tools or knowledge to handle every single thing, but I can have a quiet resolve that whatever happens to me, I’ll find a way to figure it out. Without that, we’ll be unable to develop a high growth way of thinking.
This isn’t about you having all the answers. None of us do. Mostly, we’re all going through life working hard to find our own way. To figure things out so we can decide the best course of action.
Life can punch us in the gut with something we’ve never seen before, something we didn’t see coming. At that moment, we can crumble and wilt. Or we can suffer the blow, endure some pain and grief (or any other emotions as we process the event), and ultimately resolve that we’re going to find a way through this problem.
Self-confidence isn’t a rosy outlook. It’s more significant than that. Deeper.
Life – professional or personal – will beat you down. For some, it doesn’t take very much. For others, it’s impossible. They can’t be defeated. What’s the difference? Each person sees themselves in different ways. They think differently.
Here we are on day 1 of our 5 days to a high growth way of thinking and already we can see it’s going to start deep inside us. If you were tempted to focus on what’s happening in your life – on the external circumstances of your life – stop it. Got nothing to do with it. And that’s a truth that is going to be harder for some than others.
Bad things happen to all of us.
Have you heard people say that events and circumstances are neutral, that they’re neither good or bad? They’re wrong. There are plenty of bad events that happen. Horrible, vile things can happen. To suppose that in our mind we ascribe meaning to these things is not just ridiculous, but dangerous. There is evil in the world. I’m not going to ignore that or hide from it. Does it mean I have to participate in it, or embrace it, or relish it? Of course not. Does it mean it can’t happen to me if I don’t acknowledge it? No. It means I can choose to be deluded I guess. Right is right. Wrong is wrong.
Self-confidence includes the ability to see the bad for what it is, bad. It’s the resolve to not give in to it. To not allow it to have greater sway in your life than it should.
A knock awakens the house. It’s 3 am. It’s a loud banging knock, clearly intended to wake the house. At the door stand two detectives in cheap suits. After they identify themselves they inquire who you are. You confirm your identity. They’re sad to tell you that there’s been an accident. Somebody in your family has been killed. Don’t tell me that’s a neutral event.
Your knees buckle. Literally. You fall to the floor, crushed at the news. Minutes earlier you were sound asleep, perhaps enjoying a pleasant dream. Your whole world is rocked.
Similar things can happen to us as business owners and CEOs. News hits us out of the blue and suddenly we’re breathless, nauseated at the dilemma.
Time passes. Minutes, hours, maybe days. Over that time something happens. We’re able to get past that initial shock. Everybody has experienced this. Time doesn’t solve it, but time enables us to build up the self-confidence necessary to believe we’ll figure out what to do.
Now you may better understand why I lean so heavily on the phrase, “You’ll figure it out.” I’m working hard to express confidence in your ability to do that. Come on. You own the business. You’re leading the business. You’ve proven able to get this far. Why shouldn’t I think you can go further? Why shouldn’t YOU think that?
Again, this isn’t about you having all the necessary answers. You’ve faced plenty of things for the first time, things that were beyond your experiences. What happened? You figured it out. Some things may have taken you longer than others. Some things may have been much more difficult, but you still figured it out. You got through it.
I want you to look at your past successes. Don’t fret about the failures. They’re there, too. We’re not ignoring them because they’ve taught us valuable lessons, but today let’s concentrate on the bad things – the challenging issues – that have occurred and how we endured them or overcame them. Yes, I said endured. Some things can’t be fixed, they just have to be successfully endured. That 3 am knock at the door? Nobody is going to overcome that. That outcome can’t be changed. It can successfully be dealt with though.
You’ve done this your entire life. Personally and professionally.
As a business owner, you’ve successfully navigated lots of dangerous waters. You’ve also sailed your share of tranquil seas where you could enjoy the sunshine and breeze. Today, dwell on those. Think of the specifics. Meditate on those successes. Dissect them if you’d like. I want you to hold them close today. Leverage them to crowd out any doubt you may have. The game is to ignore that little voice that says, “You won’t be able to figure THIS out.” Yes, you will. Because you always have.
It doesn’t mean your invincible or infallible. You’ll make mistakes. You’ll fail. But those are moments in time, temporary outcomes. Look at the final score. When you do you’ll realize that you have always found a way to figure it out – even if figuring it out meant getting past making the wrong decision initially. Battles are lost in winning wars. You’re a warrior with a winning past. That’ll translate into a winning future, too!
Be well. Do good. Grow great!