For many it is still a very strange time. Remote working, cabin fever, furloughed or maybe not working, it is easy to feel overwhelmed or confused. We are living through the greatest period of uncertainty for generations, making it very difficult to make even short term plans. Greater still may be the financial impact on us.
However, like everything, we have the opportunity to choose our attitude to the problems, challenges and situations we face.
Practicing our attitude is important, being conscious of when we are at our best - who are we, what contributes to this? Or being at our worst, asking the same questions objectively so we can understand.
I still experience shifts every day, but they were definitely more extreme and volatile some years ago. For example when I started my own business, I wanted to achieve, to work with different people and a variety of organisations but when I looked at the cold, hard, facts — I wasn’t operating at the level I needed or wanted to. There were too many days where either my attitude, or my experience and confidence let me down.
The only thing I could do, was to start learning and start practicing better habits.
I started reading content online, getting hold of books, listening to podcasts, watching videos on TED.com and eventually looking at different courses I could attend. I ended up negotiating my way onto an MBA course at one fifth of the price. You don’t ask, you don’t get!
I learned so much from the MBA, but honestly I can say I learned as much, and gained confidence from the people who attended alongside me. So many different industries, expertise, passions were in the room it was impossible not to. When I look back at the last few years, I couldn’t say that I’ve learned more using one method than another. But what I enjoyed the most, and remember the clearest, is getting my hands dirty and trying things out, and learning from others.
I put myself in the same space as more intelligent, more experienced people who I admired and learned from. I will be forever grateful for their time and I have committed to repay that time and effort with anyone else who finds themselves in my previous position.
One of the biggest things I have learned is that improvements I have made and the opportunities that have been presented to me have come about primarily because of my attitude, and because I made a decision to “just to it” and make things happen.
The same applies when we are leading or working with teams and working out how to improve. Quite simply the most effective, sustainable and cost-effective answer to this problem, is to invest in people.Invest in learning, development, growth and this will ultimately improve performance.
A powerful phrase is “The Score Takes Care of Itself” — Bill Walsh, the legendary former coach of the San Francisco 49ers held the philosophy that if you took care of everything that mattered, the final result and performance would take care of itself. So in this sense, if we are committed to our own learning and our own growth, our results will take care of themselves.
If we aren’t learning, and aren’t open to learning, how can we expect people around us to learn, and to get better? An old coach used to repeat the famous Henry Ford phrase to me: “If you always do what you’ve always done, You’ll always get, what you’ve always got” Like the best things. It isn’t rocket-science.
If we want more from ourselves, and want more from our team or people, then our own learning and growth is essential. It is useful to hold a belief that we can learn and we can grow. If this is a problem, a book I’d recommend is Carol Dweck’s Mindset.
I hope you enjoy it, and enjoy the journey of discovering about yourself, your interests and that you fall back in love with learning the same way I did.