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Argue for your limitations, and sure enough they're yours

In his book, Illusions, author Richard Bach cautions, "argue for your limitations, and sure enough they're yours".

As leaders work to align an organization's activities towards a shared vision and mission, we frequently encounter this "l can't " perspective -- when someone is focused on and fights passionately to stay anchored in their belief that they can't do something.

On these occasions, it may be helpful to remember that as we endeavor to design and implement our strategy, challenges are inevitable. Discovering obstacles is part of the process. We're going to run into environmental and operational factors that push back against our dream for the future. If it were an easy, unobstructed path, then the vision would have already been realized.

The key is to not let the limiting factor(s) become a showstopper. It's our job to remember (and remind others) that the show will go on - albeit with some adjustments in how we get there. Limitations can (and should) shape the design and implementation of our strategy (positioning) and plans (actions), but not prevent us from reaching our desired end-state.

So, while we're biologically wired to focus on the threats, and know that identifying them is required, it helps to remember that we're better served to focus on the goal. When we recognize limitations for what they are -- obstacles on the course; simply things in our way on the journey towards our goals and objectives -- then we're able to retain a greater sense of control, and a perspective that focuses on problem-solving.

To be clear, we don't ignore the limiting factors, but we don't give them greater power by arguing for them. Instead, we "argue for" achievement of our vision and mission in spite of the limiting factors and work around them. Rather than trying to remove the speed bump, we simply take a different road. As we gain experience, we may even begin to see some obstacles as advantages -- challenges that build our confidence and resiliency.

The "I can't" perspective -- focusing on the problems not the solutions -- is a significant challenge for executive leaders because (1) it steals your most valuable non-renewable resource (time), and because (2) it's highly toxic and contagious. Left unchecked, leaders and teams feel burdened to the point of quitting against seemingly insurmountable problems, or tend to fixate on "solving the problem" instead of changing their own activities to meet the actual intent behind the original goal or objective. Like the old adage, "We can't change the wind, but we can adjust the sails".

If we're unable to change perspectives, we often left feeling overwhelmed, powerless, and frustrated. Negative workplace behavior degrades confidence, morale, production, retention, and recruiting. Rather than avoiding or enduring this negative mindset, let's recognize the executive-level role and take steps to get ahead of the situation. When we demonstrate a healthy, mission-based mindset, then everyone feels more secure, valued, and fulfilled. Operational performance, retention, and recruitment improves. Goals and objectives are more easily achieved, plans are completed, and strategy successfully realized. With each achievement, our confidence grows and our sense possibility increases. As a kick-start, try these best practices to conduct a mindset realignment:

🌟 Check-in on our shared vision and mission. Let's break our fixation on the problem. What do we want the world to look like in the future? What are we doing to make that happen? Where does this problem fit within the big picture? Does it really matter and if so, how much?

🌟 Check alignment against plans, goals, and objectives. Focus on the mission, not the limitation. Is this problem actually a problem? With our sights on the future, how do we deliberately react to this roadblock? Can we maneuver around, over or under the arbitrary objective we created and still achieve the larger goal and strategic intent of the plan? If so, then consider doing so. // 💡 Ready to stop tackling executive challenges alone? For a limited number of CEOs and C-suite executives, I bring my unique background and experience to partner in a tailored one-on-one premium coaching & advisory service. Together, in a confidential setting, we’ll explore current challenges, develop options, and implement solutions for real results and deep impact. ⚡ DM me for details: ⚡ Ready to learn more? Check out ---->

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