“Here We Go Again”…OR…”I Get To Go Again!!!” A Leadership Choice.

Posted by on Jan 31, 2014 in AdultLeader, Leadership, The Brain | 2 comments

5673112-rollercoaster-boy-in-a-hand-drawn-cartoon-style“Here we go again”…OR…”I get to go again!!!” Which one feels better? I received the “here we go again” from a client as a reaction to my wishing them a great 2014. It got me thinking about how our initial reaction offers us an opportunity to examine the expectations and assumptions we hold about our future day, week, year, meeting, etc…

Without realizing it, expectations and assumptions are running in the background. They have an effect on how we feel right now and how we approach what is next – 2014 in this case. If unexamined and not challenged when they fail to create positive anticipation, we risk not bringing our best selves or AdultLeader to our future.

An eye roll or a grimace usually accompanies “here we go again” and indicates that we’re not really looking forward to what is next. We are letting the inertia of previous experience create or reinforce expectations and assumptions about our future. This may be exacerbated by our brain’s tendency to focus more on the negatives, and to forget the positives. According to Dr. Rick Hanson, a neuropsychologist and author of the book Hardwiring Happiness: The New Brain Science of Contentment, Calm, and Confidence, our brains are incentivized toward seeing the negative.

I know I would rather approach 2014 and every day, week and meeting with the feeling of “I get to go again!!!”  And I don’t always at the first pass.

According to Dr. Hanson, deliberately looking for the positive just kind of levels the playing field. A feeling of positive anticipation or excitement helps us bring our best to what is next with an energy and attitude that is more likely to help make our goals and dreams happen. It’s a choice to expect that a positive outcome is possible. When we make this choice, we feel more powerful and in charge. We eliminate the feeling of powerlessness that goes along with the inertia of those unexamined expectations and assumptions. We no longer have to walk around unwittingly thinking we will repeat the past

It takes vigilance for me to choose to expect, assume, and think in ways that create excitement and positive anticipation for what’s next. I have to work at it, and it isn’t always easy. It takes practice.

We can choose to be mindful of our expectations and assumptions and to create a new vision or narrative for 2014, tomorrow, next week, or our next meeting. As leaders we need to create a narrative that makes sense of the challenges and negatives we face, includes what has worked in the past, anticipates the opportunities before us, and recognizes that the past does not have to repeat itself. We can write and speak a future that inspires, so that we all “can’t wait to go again” with you.

What’s your vision or narrative for your 2014? for tomorrow, for next week or for your next meeting? Does it excite and fill you and your people with positive anticipation about what is next? Is it the future you want to create for you? for your organization?

Take a moment and send your comments and questions. If you were reminded of something, learned something, or questioned something, taking a moment to write it down will ground your observation and may inspire some future action.

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© 2014 Stephen Carr Associates, Inc.
Stephen Carr is a successful, Boston-based Executive Leadership Coach. He can be found at www.stephencarrexecutivecoach.com AND www.facebook.com/StephenCarrExecutiveCoach

2 Comments

  1. It is good to see articles such as this so well written and presented.

  2. Great Article, I will continue to look at your information as a valuable source!

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