|Barbara Mintzer's Newsletter
The Power of a Vision... a Leader's Journey
Wow, what a response to last month's Newsletter. I was delighted to receive all the feedback, but saddened that so many of us are dealing with adversity in one form or another. I believe we are all living out the ancient Chinese curse: "May you live in interesting times." We are living in very interesting times, characterized in particular, by the element of transition. A lot of the adversity we are dealing with is coming from transitioning from one way of living to another. Whether this transition happened to us or we caused it to happen, it still looks like adversity until we go through it and get to the other side of committing to something new. This Newsletter will discuss transition that we cause to happen.
One reader asked a terrific question: "How do I know when I am in transition?" A great question deserves a thoughtful answer, and I hope I can do the question justice. Transition occurs the moment you disengage yourself from what you are doing. You may be working at your job, showing up every day and doing what you are supposed to do. But, if your heart and soul are not in the work, if you are on "automatic" most of the time, and you have to justify to yourself why you come in every day (I need the health insurance, I like the benefits) you are in transition. The moment you lose your sense of engagement to what you are doing, you are effectively in transition. Emotionally, intellectually and psychologically you are out of there, you just show up physically.
So, what would it take to get you to make the break and move on? In my experience of coaching and working with people in transition, I have found that it usually takes one of two situations to give you that push. The first situation is when you finally tell yourself "I can no longer stay in this situation. I can no longer tolerate being here. This situation does not validate who I am, respect what I do, or motivate me to be the best I can be." This is true personally as well as professionally. Each person's timetable is different, but there comes a point of knowing that a change must take place.
The second situation comes from a more positive motivation. This occurs much more in one's professional life. The job situation is really okay, but it is no longer for me. I see myself doing something else that is much more "me" at this time of my life. And what I want to pursue is so enticing and exciting to think about, I will risk the security of a job that is "okay" to explore something more exciting and rewarding. I am willing to give up what I am for what I can become. What does it take to do that? What inner strengths do I need to be able to walk out into the unknown for a chance at something better?
1. It takes a tremendous leap of faith...faith in the universe that it provides, and faith in yourself knowing that you will do whatever it takes to make it happen. In 1982 when I left the corporate world to pursue a dream of becoming a nationally-known professional speaker and trainer, I didn't know what I didn't know! Believe me, if I had known how hard the work would be; how competitive this profession is; how often I would be rejected; I don't think I ever would have pursued this dream. Thank God, I didn't know any of this. All I knew was that I wanted to share my insights and research with the world, and I would do whatever it took to make it happen. I also felt very strongly that if it didn't work out the way I wanted it to, another opportunity was waiting in the wings for me, which would show up in all the work I was doing. I never felt this leap of faith would be in vain.
"Nature abhors a vacuum. When one thing leaves my life, then something else will come to take its place. Even the loss of a job or a relationship can be a signal that something far greater is coming to take its place. Instead of going into fear or becoming bitter, I open my heart, and I open my arms wide and I say 'Even better things are coming. I trust life to take care of me and I am
safe.' Then I pay attention to the good in my life."
2. It takes the belief that failure is not an option. You cannot pursue something new with the idea in the back of your mind that you might fail. Because the truth is failure is purely a personal judgment you place on yourself. Things may not work out the way you wanted them to, but that doesn't mean you failed. It means you may need to take a detour in the road and look at what else might be in store for you. Sometimes you have to take two, three, four, five detours to get to what is right for you. Be willing to enjoy the journey. The people you meet along the way, the places and events you go to, these are the gifts you get on your journey. I can still look back fondly to the early days of my career, when I was still trying to find my place in the world. I was a "sponge" that absorbed all the new experiences I was having, all the new people I was meeting, and they were some of the most exciting times I have had. Set out on your journey with your heart and arms wide open, and ENJOY!
3. It takes total commitment. We all know the saying "the devil is in the details" and this is so true when you are pursuing a dream and you are in the transition stage when you really don't know where you belong yet. You will make mistakes and you will have your ups and downs, but hang in there. Don't let mistakes or rejections get you off your path. They are just obstacles to be overcome, they are not a sign for you to give up. Trust your gut to guide you in the right direction. Be willing to take the time to stop, re-analyze the situation, and make your corrections. It would be very helpful if you had someone in your life who you trusted and were able to talk to during this stage of transition. A person who would just listen, let you vent, and offer advice when asked. Ultimately, the decision is yours to make, but it helps to get some perspective outside of yourself. Please pick someone whose advice you really trust, since if they put up red flags for you to consider, you know that they have your best interests in mind. Pick people who have no "investment" in you remaining right where you are. Ultimately, you are the only person who can decide the validity of your dream.
"If your success is not on your own terms,
4. It takes an attitude of gratitude for what the universe has already provided you. When you are grateful for what you already have, you can cope with life's disappointments much better. When you venture out into the unknown, you are bound to feel disappointment and rejection. Staying out of "victim" is very important when you are in new territory. It takes courage to pursue your dream. Most people think courage comes in with a roar. Not true, sometimes courage is as simple as telling yourself "I'll try again tomorrow." I will share with you in the 24 years I have been pursuing this career, I have wanted to run away many times. When I have been discouraged or disappointed, I really wanted OUT. However, when I closed my eyes and tried to visualize what else I would do if I were not doing this, NOTHING came into my mind. There was NOTHING else that I wanted to do. So, I kept on going. If I would have quit, I would not have met all of you, and that would certainly have been MY loss. Adversity introduces us to ourselves, and it is how we cope during difficult times that really makes the difference.
I would like to end this Newsletter with a poem I have been carrying around for 20 years. I read this every time I feel discouraged or disappointed, and it has always lifted me up. I share this poem in the hope it will do the same for you.
It's How You Cope
"Life has a measure of setbacks -
But stresses and problems are normal -
It's how we react that's important;
Depression can never assist us
Instead we should try to discover,
Bruce B. Wilmer
We have had a lot to think about in this Newsletter. If you wish to pass this Newsletter along to a colleague or friend who may find it of value, feel free to do so. If that person would like to receive the Newsletter, e-mail me with the address, and I will put it on my database. If you know of an organization, association or corporation that would benefit from my message, please let me know. My updated website www.barbaramintzer.com has all of my past Newsletters archived by subject and date.
About the Author
Barbara Mintzer is a nationally recognized speaker and consultant with over 30 years in business and health care. She speaks from experience! Her how-to programs provide participants with immediately applicable skills and strategies for getting buy-in and commitment from staff and staying on top of their professions in today's competitive and constantly changing workplace. Barbara presents keynote talks and breakout sessions for international, national, regional and state Conferences. She also conducts management retreats and in-house seminars. She facilitates panel discussions and roundtables and can be a master of ceremonies for your event... a good investment for your meeting budget. To explore the possibility of having Barbara speak at your next event, or work with your staff/leadership team, please contact her office.