This month’s leadership quote: Sooner or later, those who win are those who think they can. — Dr. Paul Tournier
Today’s blogpost is offered by guest blogger Mary Lore, Vistage speaker and author of Managing Thought.
Mary’s book and program are all about managing thought and getting the results we want.
In my experience, a lot of leaders think “positive thinking” is about thinking happy rah-rah or touchy-feely thoughts or re-framing a thought to make it sound positive, for example changing the word “sh—“ to “fertilizer.” Or they think of that Stuart Smalley character on Saturday Night Live who made positive affirmations in the mirror. (I don’t want to be that guy!)
That’s why I don’t use the term positive thinking,coined the term powerful thinking, and developed theManaging Thought® process. Because to me, positivity isn’t about getting rid of the negative thoughts we have and replacing them with positive thoughts. It is about being aware of the 60,000 thoughts our brains present to us every day – one a second – and choosing to hold thoughts that are in alignment with who we aspire to be and what we truly wish to create – as leaders and as organizations.
In my experience, most of our thoughts are based in fear, focused on what we don’t want vs. what we do want – and we don’t even know it.
When we think about the time we don’t have enough of, the opportunities we don’t have, the customer we lost, the payments we can’t afford, the sacrifices and cuts we have to make, cash we don’t have, customers who aren’t buying, banks who won’t lend, the decisions we are forced to make, and the competition we’re up against, we are not thinking powerfully.
When we think that we don’t want to be viewed as a commodity, the economy is bad, my organization isn’t innovative, my people aren’t engaged, or that I don’t like this or that about my employees or suppliers, again, we are not thinking powerfully.
When we think thoughts of fear, self-doubt, worry, criticism, judgment, anger, frustration, anxiety, negativity and other disempowering fight, flight or freeze thoughts, we are not thinking powerfully. And when we think about surviving, we are not thinking powerfully, because we want to thrive.
When we think powerfully, we are thinking thoughts of vision and purpose, wonder and possibility, focused on what we want, on what truly matters. Our thoughts are inspired, creative, and impactful.
Most of us have not thought about our thoughts. We have no idea what we are thinking in each moment. We have taught ourselves to turn our power to think and to create our reality over to our brains.
Yet we have the ability to pay attention to our thoughts. We always have a choice to focus on what matters and think in powerful ways which affects our ideas, our decisions, and our results. This awareness creates stillness in this fast-paced, ever-changing world and affects how we inspire others, how we lead, what we create from any situation, producing a distinct competitive advantage.
It is time for us to take back our power, to stop re-acting, and start choosing thoughts that serve us in our lives, our relationships, our organizations, our communities, and, through the ripple effect, the world.
How are you using your 60,000 thoughts today?
Thanks for the article. It does a great job helping us understand the need to be aware of our 60,000 thoughts a day. With regard to change, does the answer lie in awareness or in action? And if the answer is both, then what are some actions we can take?
I often say that thought is THE most powerful action. Because everything I say, do, and create first begins in a thought. My ideas, desires, intentions, goals/plans/strategies action/non-action, reflection–all begin in thought.
Some of us make plans or jump into action without wondering what it is that we truly want. We’re busy re-acting past thoughts and emotions. We’re not creating anything new. Some of us get great new ideas, and we don’t decide what we want or we focus on what we don’t want. Some of us know what we want and we keep wanting it — we don’t choose it or intend to create it. Some of us choose to create it and we don’t take action or we take action in a way that constricts and contracts our thinking and way of being, taps our energy, stops our flow and negatively impacts our results. And some of us lose our ability to expand to create the next version of the highest vision of ourselves in the reflection process as we focus on what what we did wrong, what we lack, or what we are not.
When I practice self-awareness, I am aware of how I am thinking and being (acting) at each stage. Because in each moment. I am either creating what I wish to create or I am not. I am either inspired or I am not. It’s when I am inspired that I achieve significant results.
A first action you could take is to decide to practice being aware of your thoughts.
I invite you to poke around my website. It’s filled with practical actions you could take as an individual and as an organization in circumstances we face every day. Choose whatever appeals to you.
Let me know what happens.
All the best,
Good blog entry. It was thought provoking. The blog entry reinforced my approach to litigation, which is to keep focused on execution of the plan, while managing the chaos that always exists- usually in eruptions that demand attention. The negative stuff is a given. What isn’t a given is that the plan will keep moving forward, regardless of the distractions. For that one needs “Positive Thinking”.
Making a conscious decision to have powerful thoughts is a superb idea. We really are given the choice to focus on the “wonder and possibility” or the “negative and limiting”. Thanks for the reminder!