3 Powerful Leadership Tips for a Positive Mindset

As my friend and colleague Brian Tracy so often likes to say, “You become what you think about, most of the time.”

You may have heard phrases or sayings that are similar, but ultimately, successful people constantly think about positive outcomes for what they want, and how to get it. Their approach is solution-oriented, which means they don’t spend negative energy focusing on what they don’t want, or can't change (history).

Sounds like a simple enough concept, right? But not always so easy to carry out in real life!

I recently re-read (for the 1000th time) an essay from Brian Tracy, and have hand-picked and re-phrased some of the key points below:

Common Obstacles to a Positive Attitude: Fear, Worry, Anger, Doubt, Excuses

Yes, even for otherwise successful leaders and managers who are spearheading complex projects, dealing with staff, watching budgetary constraints and juggling their own capacity to be effective, thinking positively and like a true leader (most of the time) can be a challenge.

Leaders can fall prey to negative thoughts that drain their energy and productivity when things aren’t going well. Fear of loss can start to trickle in, as well as fear of rejection and fear of failure. These fears often trigger worry. That’s when the power of imagination can create all sorts of negative scenarios that can cause further unhappiness, even “emotional paralysis”, making it difficult to move forward.

Brian also says, “Fear and worry create anger, or what has been called the ‘victim complex.’ Instead of moving constantly forward in the direction of our dreams, we begin to react and respond and blame other people and other situations for our problems and challenges at hand.” As a result, doubt also creeps in, a fertile breeding ground for the other negative emotions.

Excuses = self-sabotage. People who never achieve success often do so because they fall in love with their own excuses. It is often the things you consider to be true but have no basis in truth that hold you back.

So how do we eliminate these negative thoughts?

The only real antidote to these self-defeating thought patterns is to constantly take positive action towards your goals, rather than spending time thinking and worrying about current challenges and past failures or negative events that can’t be changed.

Psychologists talk about “Cognitive Control” — that we can only truly concentrate or focus on one thought at a time. Successful people cultivate, work on, flip to a positive, progressive mindset as their way forward for success.

Here are 3 Powerful Tips for where your focus and thoughts should be for success in leadership and in life:

Whatever the challenge, constraint or difficulty facing you:

1. Focus on the ideal future outcome. Build a clear mental image of what success looks like. Only then can you begin to move in that direction. Do not spend any time on blame, who did or didn’t do what. The past will take care of itself.

2. Focus on the solution rather than the problem. Spend all available energy planning, fixing, adapting and taking steps towards a solution. This kind of energy is positive and constructive, acting as a catalyst for creating a culture of success, engagement and high performance.

3. Assume that something good is hidden within each difficulty or challenge. Identify what’s good and write it down. When you learn these lessons, you become smarter, wiser, more experienced, calmer and more confident. You become a better leader and a better person.

Dr. Norman Vincent Peale used to say, “Whenever God wants to give us a gift, he wraps it up in a problem.” So the bigger "the gift", the greater success you have coming!

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