A final and to-the-point finish to this talk: a “can do” attitude goes a long way.
Whatever your issue is, a “can do” attitude is determined to find a way through. No problem is too big for resolution; no struggle is too hard to persevere through; no lie is to powerful to overcome.
A “can do” attitude not only addresses your immediate concerns but also the bigger-picture outcomes. What’s the dream? What are you trying to achieve? What are you aiming at? When you clarify these things, you can set your targets, and align your attitude to meet them.
This is pure optimism, and it is not just for dreamers: “There is a way. I can do it. This is not too big. We’re gonna get there.”
Set your sights, set your attitude, and Find-a-Way.
Adapted from the “Reversing the Death Spiral of a Leader” talk by Dr. Henry Cloud at the Global Leadership Summit 2013. Part 5.
Here is an approach to reverse the damage caused by “The Three P’s“. It helps first to write down the problems.
1. Dispute the Negative Stuff With Truth: Identify the lie, and say “that’s absolutely wrong.” Put it into perspective, look at the good stuff… be objective! It’s all to easy to take mistakes too personally when you’re stuck in the mud.
Every great movie has crises scenes… and life can be a bit similar sometimes. Look for a way to launch off the crises into a new, stronger place.
2. Control: Can vs. Can’t: I’ve found this particularly helpful. What can I do? What can’t I do? What’s my problem to sort out? What isn’t?
Your brain can turn into a cesspool of stress by focusing on things out of your control. That doesn’t sound good, so don’t go there! In times of high pressure, when things seem to be getting out of control, this Can/Can’t exercise can be a good one. See Matthew 6:25-34 to be challenged about worry or anxiety.
3. We Must Connect: Surround yourself with people. We are made for relationships. Don’t be an isolationist… call people, get together for lunch, put energy into growing a mutually enriching network of relationships. And don’t be afraid to ask for help!
Dr. Cloud tells a story of a monkey in cage to illustrate this point. In a study, a particular monkey’s stress level dropped 50% simply by having a buddy. Humans need a buddy too!
Adapted from the “Reversing the Death Spiral of a Leader” talk by Dr. Henry Cloud at the Global Leadership Summit 2013. Part 4.
These three things initiate the Downward Spiral that leaders can find themselves in:
1. Personal: “I’m no good; why did I think I could _______?” Dr Cloud tells a story to illustrate that although we all make mistakes, those of us who are naive, oblivious or cheerful enough will survive these critical times by refusing to take our failings personally.
2. Pervasive: An issue spreads broadly and appears much larger than it really is. “It’s not one person, it’s all of them; they all think that. Everything has gone bad. My whole life sucks.”
3. Permanent: “It will always be this way. This isn’t going to change.” Another lie.
Even the best performers can find themselves spiralling. Our brains change, something switches, and so it begins. Do you need to eliminate any of these three errors of thought?
Adapted from the “Reversing the Death Spiral of a Leader” talk by Dr. Henry Cloud at the Global Leadership Summit 2013. Part 3.
Some time during the hard-work of leading, it starts to happen. What does? The downward spiral. If you haven’t experienced it yet, just keep succeeding… it will come!
Leaders start Here and move on towards There… and somewhere along that path, the surrounding circumstances cause them to go Out of Control. It’s a kind of learned-helplessness. When what you used to do doesn’t work, the spiral begins.
The leaders that don’t start on the downward spiral (or those who make their way out of it) have something different in their favour. Belief. This can make all the difference. Believing you can, even if you can’t… this is good. Believing you can’t, when you actually can… definitely not good.
Leaders who resist and survive the death-spiral think, feel and behave differently than others. Are you in control of your thinking? Are you feeding your emotions in a healthy way? Are you aware of the situations you’re in and acting appropriately?
Adapted from the “Reversing the Death Spiral of a Leader” talk by Dr. Henry Cloud at the Global Leadership Summit 2013. Part 2.
Dr. Henry Cloud starts his talk on Reversing the Death Spiral of a Leader with a story of a family business, involving a father-boss and a son-employee. Unfortunately, at some point the son makes a momentous stuff up, and his dad fires him. Or at least his boss does. Immediately afterwards, dad changes tack: “I hear you lost your job today son. Can I help you?”
It’s funny. You can feel for the father who obviously has had a tough choice to make… but he seems to have dealt with it well enough! It is also a demonstration of the post title, being “ridiculously in charge”, which of course the father-boss is, firing-and-hiring in the same breath.
This serves simply as a fun warm-up that precedes an important starting point: leaders are in charge of themselves. To lead means to take action, to accept responsibility, to exert energy for the sake of others.
Are you taking action? Are you taking responsibility? Are you exerting your energy in the best way?
Adapted from the “Reversing the Death Spiral of a Leader” talk by Dr. Henry Cloud at the Global Leadership Summit 2013. Part 1.