If I were to ask you, “Do you live in a box?”  I’m sure your first thought would be “No, of course not.”   

But if I were to ask you, “When is the last time you took a chance, challenged yourself, or reflected on your choices and decisions from a different angle?”  How would you answer?

If you can’t remember the last time you did any of those things, that’s living in a box – an imaginary box that represents your circumstances, choices, and decisions.  It’s easy to get stuck inside a box…we’re creatures of habit!  It’s easier and more comfortable to surround ourselves with the ways we’ve always done things.

And the way we’ve always done things has gotten us this far right?  But on the path to leadership, you have to step out of the box and into possibility.  Accepting possibility as your norm is the only way you will reach beyond this point today to even more success and significance.

In Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office, Dr. Lois Frankel specifically calls out limiting our possibilities as a mistake in the way we think.  We don’t know we’re doing it unless we become aware of the mindset, and choose new habits that continually challenge ourselves to live in possibility.

I’ll share with you a few ways I have worked on the “Box to Possibility” mindset.

  • Create your vision for the future.  Every year in January, I participate in a vision-boarding workshop.  I get to dream of what the future holds, and this dreaming is critical to setting me up with the mindset of possibility.  The end result is this beautiful visual that hangs in my office as a reminder of those dreams.  Another take on this is to write down those dreams and ideas in a journal – having them in front of you makes them more real.
  • Challenge yourself to look at different angles on a decision.  Next time you’re faced with a decision, look at how you approach the process.  Do you get advice from people with a “box mentality” or “possibility mindset?”  Challenge yourself to look at it from a different perspective by changing your physical scenery, brainstorming all outcomes, or asking a trusted friend that can help you look at the possibilities and not just the limitations.
  • Turn off (or at least tone down) the negative self-talk.  When talking yourself through a decision or an opportunity, pay attention to that inner voice.  If the voice is saying things like “I could never” or “I shouldn’t” or “I’m not good enough,” then you’re in the box.  When you catch yourself doing this, first try to figure out why the negative thought is the first thought.  Then work to replace it.  For example, if “I could never” is the thought, replace it with “I can do this because . . .” and list out those reasons.  Look at past successes and experiences for guidance.  This helps you view possibility with a practical eye and not allow negative self-talk to dominate.
  • I ask myself a series of questions.  When I’m faced with a new possibility, I ask myself three key questions to help me in the decision process.  I look for a “Yes” answer to all three.

1. Is it fresh, does it excite me?
2. Does it fit with my leadership path or strategy at this time in my life?
3. Will it help me to grow and does it challenge me?  

I’m a big sports fan, especially for football. I’ll leave you with this quote I recently came across. It’s from Tim Tebow.  Whether or not you’re a Tim Tebow fan, I think this will stick with you because it speaks to getting out of the box and into possibility:

“You want it to be different, then make it different.”

 

Visit http://amyfranko.com for more information about custom training solutions and professional development services offered by Impact Instruction Group.  Amy Franko works with emerging women leaders, teaching concepts from the international best-seller Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office to many national companies and organizations.

© 2013 Impact Instruction Group

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