Challenging our opinion or conclusions about something can be hard. Why? Because conjectures form on the basis of incomplete information — our best guess. They are primarily based on personal experience and tend to have a greater emotional connection to them, which make them harder to let go of. Sound familiar?
Herbie Hancock, the legionary jazz keyboard artist and composer, said to me 20 years ago, “Take off the blinders, Mark. There are so many possibilities flying past you that you can’t see because you think your only way to success is by accomplishing just this one thing.” He was absolutely right. I needed to take off those blinders.
We can open ourselves up to unlimited possibilities by becoming aware of what we may think is true, and questioning our expectation of things working out a certain way only because they have done so in the past. Only when we allow ourselves to say, “No, I’m not sure it will happen that way again” can we fully take advantage of our opportunities. Shortly after my dialogue with Mr. Hancock, I found Talent Plus.
Like a lantern lighting up a place that has been dark for a thousand years, this mind shift has the power to transform what we sense is true to what is actually the truth.
After trying thousands of materials in search of a filament for the light bulb, Thomas Edison’s assistant complained, “All our work is in vain. We have learned nothing.” When asked by a reporter, “How did it feel to fail 10,000 times?” Edison said, I didn’t fail 10,0000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 10,000 steps. I have not failed 10,000 times—I’ve successfully found 10,000 ways that will not work.”
Here’s an exercise I learned during my professional coach certification with Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC):
- Create a “Things I Haven’t Achieved Yet” list. Study which items on the list may be due to pessimistic conclusions you’ve made about yourself. Use this question, “Just because it happened in the past, am I sure it will happen like that again?” to challenge those narrow judgments and see if there may be opportunities flying by you as they were for me. How would your leadership performance be different without those energy-draining negative conclusions?
Note: Examining and challenging these ideas can require faith in the process, conscious awareness, and time until you gain the proof that opposes your previous experiences. Engaging in disciplines and trusting the process will take you further down the road. To where? That’s up to where you want to go and who you want to be.
Mark is the Management Consultant Director at Talent Plus where he aligns The Science of Potentiality ® to each client’s unique needs and support their growth. He brings potential to life through the practical application of our science and enables employees to prosper and organizations to succeed.
“There is nothing more satisfying than witnessing the exponential growth of an employee when they discover and express their talent.”
Talents: Ego Drive, Focus, Individualized Approach, Persuasion, Relationship