$@#& happens at work. Labeling it as “bad” may be a waste of time.
Many who rise triumphantly never label what they go through as bad and lament over it. They simply take it as a given as if they were a civil engineer surveying the landscape through which a road is being built. In this view, a swamp is not a bad thing. It is merely something that has to be addressed in the construction plan. This is quote from Srikumar S. Rao, Ph.D and the author of Are You Ready to Succeed and Happiness at Work. His class, taught to MBA students, on Creativity and Personal Mastery is literally world renowned.
Here is what I know as a leader of organizations and observing people who thrive at work. When adversity hits them, they do not focus on bad. They quickly realize that it is a waste of their energy. In fact they seem to understand that they really are often not in a position to know if it is good or bad (although it feels bad). As an example, how many people have been demoted or worse, only to realize that it was the classic “blessing in disguise”? They also see these situations as great opportunities for personal growth and development.
This may sound like “mushy happy” talk to skeptics but I’ve observed the benefits of people applying positive resilience over and over again. At the same time I’ve seen people wallow in the world of bad. They mentally give up or shrink and often mope around for extended periods of time looking like Eeyore in Winnie the Pooh.
Abundant thinking is a mind set and belief that we have the right and ability to choose happiness. When we’re in the swamp, that means accepting the situation and finding an alternative to move forward. Our best choice is to find the good. It is there if we look hard enough.
In previous blogs, I’ve written about the importance of having the right mind set as a foundation to practicing the three elements of the Character Triangle. In her book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, Stanford Professor Carol Dweck outlines two distinct mindsets people tend to have about their basic personal qualities:
Fixed Mindset: People believe that one’s talent, skills, and capabilities are mostly fixed and finite.
Growth Mindset: People believe qualities are a starting point and learning, effort, and persistence will expand skills, talent, and capabilities.
In a recent HBR blog, John Hagel III and John Seely Browne refer to this in describing the mindset paradox: the greatest threat to success is avoiding failure! People with a fixed mindset tend to be protective by avoiding or rationalizing failures. Those with a growth mind set, focus on learning and development. They actively pursue activities that will likely result in both failures and learning.
If we want to excel and succeed at work and apply the Character Triangle as a personal value guide, we have to have a growth mindset. Then of course we have to relentlessly practice with purpose and serious intent.
What is your mindset? …really? What are you waiting for then?
It is about practice, sweat, and purposeful effort… with few shortcuts.
I sometimes wish it could be different. The myth of what drives success can be a convenient excuse. But as Peter Orszag of the New York Times notes in the September 8th commentary we just have to sweat our way to success. Orszag refers to the research and writing of Matthew Syed and his recently published book Bounce. By focusing on the science of success, Syed shatters the “talent myth”, that top performers are born not built.
Syed introduces and reinforces concepts like chunking and purposeful effort. The nature and intensity of practice makes a huge difference.
I am going to be writing more on this because while the Character Triangle is a foundation, we all need more tools and skills to help us on the journey.
What do you and I practice with intensity and purpose? Hey… self accountability is looking in the mirror. It doesn’t mean we will like the answers to our questions but it does mean taking action; one small forward step at a time.
The constant in Lorne’s diverse career is his ability to successfully lead organizations through significant change. At US West, where he served as a Vice President / Company Officer, Lorne was one of only seven direct reports ... Read more about Lorne Rubis
Also available at all Hudson News Bookstores in major U.S. airports.
Our character is exclusively ours. We define it by how we think and what we do. I believe that acting with Character is driven by what I call the Character Triangle.
What, exactly, is the Character Triangle (CT)?
The CT describes and emphasizes three distinct but interdependent values:
Be Accountable: first person action to make things better, avoiding blame. Be Respectful: being present, listening, looking again, focusing on the process. Be Abundant: generous in spirit, moving forward, minimizing the lack of.