Shining your light often means digging deep into yourself and pushing past your barriers. Even when you think these barriers are outside you.
What do I mean?
Let’s look at three things I’ve heard people say this week:
- “The market is just that way right now; what am I supposed to do?”
- “Our Managing Partner is completely closed-minded. So, I just can’t influence him.”
- “I just can’t sell. I wish I enjoyed it like you do. But I don’t, which means I’m always struggling to get business.”
These things were said by super-bright people, all of whom have big ambitions and big lights to shine, all of whom were frustrated about not making progress. Each of them believed they were relatively powerless to change things.
Now, I’m not saying that markets can’t be unpredictable, or that senior bosses aren’t sometime intransigent, or that some skills aren’t a ballsache to master.
What I am saying, however, is that, at every juncture in life, we have a choice about how we will deal with things.
Even when at first it might seem like we don’t.
Like Mandy Lehto says, inertia is an epidemic. It’s quite easy to sleepwalk through life at the relative mercy of your circumstances. Senior leaders and business owners are not immune.
Steve Chandler calls this way of being, the way of the victim. And he contrasts it to the way of the owner.
An owner is someone who owns their own spirit, energy and response in any situation.
A victim on the other hand see that forces beyond them dictate the direction of their life and the level of their happiness.
Owners use life. They are proactive. They come from a place of intention. They learn even from tragedies and mistakes. They allow life’s challenges to strengthen and build them. They choose what they’ll do – even if that sometimes means doing things they don’t like.
Victims infer that life uses them. You may hear them say things like “that’s life” or “life is unfair” in the process disempowering themselves even further than they already are. They do things that they feel obliged to do. There’s a lot of “shoulding”.
The vital difference is where they see the power lying for themselves and their lives.
Victims feel trapped by their personalities. Owners understand that, beyond their small egos they have limitless resource. They don’t say, “I can’t make this happen” like a victim would. They ask themselves:
“Who do I need to be to make this happen?”
And so they find the power within and beyond them to push through.
Of course, we can all morph from one state to the other sometimes, depending on what’s going on and how good our energy is.
Also, business and corporate cultures often have implicit invitations for you to play victim. Because for all their hype about change and transformation, they’re mostly invested in maintaining the status quo.
The key thing is always to remember that you have choice. Deciding to be an owner isn’t something you have to work at. You can make that choice at any time; in any moment.
When my examples switched their mindset from victim to owner, the results were profound:
- “The market is presenting some challenging opportunities that I’m going to figure out and get on top of.”
- “Knowing that my boss is that kind of guy, I need to show up differently in my relationship and conversations with him, so that I can serve him better.”
- “I’ve decided that I’m going to learn to love selling – even if it kills me!”
You have a choice about how you turn up to life. On what you’ll focus attention. And who you’ll be in the face of this or that opportunity.
As you decide to get your beautiful bright light out into the world, how will you choose to turn up? Who will you decide to be?