Have you ever felt stymied when you wanted to help a colleague, customer or supplier to see a particular situation differently? Do you know someone you would love to motivate to take action, to perform at a higher level? What if you and your leadership team could expand your capacity to produce results and empower others to perform at a higher level? What if you learned a powerful way to spark the people in your organization to become more passionate and engaged? What if you could unleash their creativity?
I met Cindy at a free health clinic. Cindy was a patient, and I was the clinic’s executive director. Through my role, I had the opportunity to meet and interact with all of the clinic’s patients including spending one on one time with them as a part of the process to establish their eligibility for services.
As a result of my training in a disciplined practice, I understood how we each impact others by the way in which we “see” them and then treat them. I see a world filled with self-fulfilling prophecies. We always have the choice to see who people are as a reflection of their past accomplishments, or lack thereof, and hence unintentionally reinforce any limitations which they already perceive. We also have the capacity to see other people in an uncommon way, as a possibility, as a person with greatness hidden within, as someone who would seize the opportunity, if given one, to shine for the rest of the world to see.
When I met Cindy, she was going through the process to establish eligibility for services at the free health clinic. She was one week away from graduating from a residential drug treatment program. Cindy was unemployed and had a felony conviction on her criminal record related to drug issues. While she was in residential treatment to address her addiction issues, she was not allowed to work. As soon as she graduated, she was expected to find employment and be responsible for her living expenses and court fees.
Cindy was both deflated and anxious when we met. She knew that within a week she would be in desperate need of a job. Yet with her felony criminal conviction, she was afraid that no one would hire her. She totally lacked self-confidence as to her ability to find employment.
I invested an extra five or ten minutes coaching Cindy that day. I knew that Cindy’s success hinged upon her mind set, her believing in her capability to persuade an employer through a job interview to give her the chance to prove herself. I coached Cindy that day on the difference between “trying to get a job” and getting one with the intention of shifting her mind set going into her job search.
Thirty days later, I was eating lunch at a local quality restaurant with colleagues from the free clinic. Our waitress had just taken our order and then walked six steps away from our table. Inexplicably, our waitress suddenly turned around and walked back to our table and then directly up to me. She looked me in the eyes and said, “I want you to know what a difference that you made in my life when you taught me the difference between trying to get a job and getting a job. I have already helped two of my adult children learn the difference between trying and doing. I wanted to make sure that you knew what a difference that you made.” To my surprise, Cindy, who I had not recognized, was indeed our waitress.
Through my training in the disciplined practice of constructivist thinking, I knew that we each have the capacity to empower someone. I knew that there is no necessary time interval for an empowering change to take place, that change can happen in any moment and that we each can be a change agent even with a minimal investment of time and effort. In that brief conversation with Cindy, she changed the way in which she looked at her upcoming job search. The shift in her perception led to her successful job search. Now already it was Cindy who was being the change agent: reinforcing the difference that I made so that other patients might benefit like she did and empowering her adult children by teaching them the difference between trying and doing.
By taking an extra few minutes to let me know that I made a difference, Cindy empowered me to continue to invest that extra five to ten minutes whenever I saw an opportunity. She influenced my decision to launch a business with the mission to unleash the power of this disciplined practice into the world. The student had already become the teacher. I will continue to share her story with customers and visitors to our website. Cindy’s impact will continue to ripple out into the world. She too is now a change agent, with minimal investment of time or effort.
The people in your company can be like Cindy. Perceiving is a creative act. At any moment you each have within you the capacity to see any person or situation differently. Helping your leadership team to see the world in this uncommon way will be empowering to you and your organization. While you may live in a box much bigger than Cindy’s, each of you also has the capacity to expand your horizons as to what is possible for you to achieve individually and collectively. Imagine all of the people within your organization empowered to expand their thinking. Picture you and your people as passionate, engaged, and focused. Envision positive energy flowing between members of your leadership team. I invite you to seize the opportunity and learn a disciplined practice. Be like Cindy and impact your world today! Send us an e-mail and let’s explore how we can support you in this endeavor.
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