leaders navigating change

Shift happens. These days lots of shift is hitting our plans.

We don’t choose what changes may hit us, but we choose how to respond. When I catch myself whining or taking a trip to Pity City, I often think of W Mitchell. In his highly inspiring book, It’s Not What Happens to You, It’s What You Do About It, he writes, “Nothing, absolutely nothing is absolute…your life is entirely what you decide it is…The universe starts in your head and spreads out into the world. Change what happens in your head, and the universe changes.”

I first met W Mitchell at a professional speakers conference. He doesn’t just deliver a powerful message; he is his message. Mitchell is an outstanding example of someone who refuses to be a victim, despite being victimized — not by just one horrible accident, but two. The first left him burned over 65% of his body, including his face, arms, and hands. A plane crash four years later left him paralyzed from the waist down, putting him permanently in a wheelchair. Thriving despite these setbacks, Mitchell is a very compelling speaker on taking responsibility for our choices in life — on what it takes to be a leader.

Mitchell’s keynote presentation typically begins with an introduction, after which he rolls out on stage in his wheelchair, looks out over the audience, and asks if anyone has ever been in prison. Silence. He then declares that he’s been in prison and it was horrible…. Mitchell then goes on to talk about self-imposed “mental wheelchairs” that hold so many people back from enjoying life and being highly effective leaders. Today especially, we need to do a prison-check. Are we locking ourselves in a mental prison?

I recently gave a webinar on Navigating Change: Leading in Turbulent Times to Leadership Waterloo Region, a local organization providing community-focused leadership. It’s a mission near to our hearts, especially during this unprecedented crisis.

Here’s some of what I covered

Lead, Follow, or Wallow: Critical Change Choices When the Shift Hits the Plan

  • Leadership is an action, not a position – it’s our behavior and not our role that determines leadership.
  • Don’t P Yourself – avoiding the Three Ps that undermine effectiveness
  • Uplift: The Resilience Track to Bounce Back from a Set Back
  • Choosing Our Framework – applying powerful new research from the rapidly emerging field of Positive Psychology to build resilience and agility
  • From Groaning to Growing – recognizing when we’re leading, following, or wallowing
  • Leader Shift – helping ourselves and our colleagues take the lead and avoid Pity City
  • Rewiring Our World – how the coronavirus could reboot and reenergize our organizations

Click here to view the webinar and links to resources to help you steer a successful course through these turbulent times.

Another highly inspiring author was Viktor Frankl who survived the horrors of the holocaust. In his book, Man’s Search for Meaning: Experiences in the Concentration Camp he writes,

“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way. And there were always choices to make. Every day, every hour, offered the opportunity to make a decision, a decision which determined whether you would or would not submit to those powers which threatened to rob you of your very self, your inner freedom; which determined whether or not you would become the plaything of circumstance, renouncing freedom and dignity to become molded into the form of the typical inmate.”