As a leadership coach, I work with clients to help them become more aware of their leadership style. They are then able to decide what is working for and against them. As they look inward to discover their impact on themselves and others, they can reflect on the leader in the mirror. Do they like what they see, need a few tweaks or a complete overhaul? Many times they realize that old ways of thinking – sometimes limiting beliefs from long ago – may be holding them back today.
A few months ago, I was with a client as she discovered something quite simple that was holding her back in ways she never understood. Years ago, like many of us, she had been taught a very common mantra: “Hope for the best, prepare for the worst, take what comes.”
These words did help her overcome challenges and create acceptance for things not in her control. Upon further reflection however, she began to realize that she had been limited by the “preparing for the worst” part of the mantra. In preparing for the worst, she had actually created a barrier to risk-taking and trying new things beyond her comfort zone. She was prepared and protected– and quite frankly bored.
Her way of preparing for the worst had led her to live a conservative, risk-averse life – one that now felt limiting. This way of thinking no longer served her well, especially as she contemplated her next career move. She wanted bold, not safe.
Her awareness inspired me! I took a look at that same mantra that used to hang on my wall. What worked for me years ago isn’t a fit for me now. Why “hope” when we can do? Why would the word “worst” ever be a part of something meant to inspire? And merely “taking what comes” calls us to follow instead of lead. Although we may not be able to control outcomes we can certainly look for pathways of learning and growth along the way.
Here is what now hangs in my office. This is much more representative of the way I live my life today:
Create and Expect the Best
Believe That You Can Handle Life’s Challenges
Learn From What Comes
What thoughts, mantras or old ideas are holding you back? How do you re-write the script to serve you today?