Deep inside all of us is a belief that things can be better. Regardless of how our life has played out so far, it is there. I say this confidently because each of us learned to walk as a baby. We were encouraged by our parents, or whomever was taking care of us, and through practice and effort we learned to walk.
Walking demonstrated to our forming minds that more was possible. A little seedling sprouted inside us the day we took our first steps. If we could walk, we had to wonder, what else was possible?
Life is not easy however. Everyone falls down, some more than others. Over the course of time, the seedling can disappear altogether. We can even be tempted to think that more is no longer possible.
Because of this, a temptation is born. The temptation is to shelter in place from our positive attitude. We can rationalize giving into this temptation by saying that we are being realists. Experience, after all, teaches us that not everything is possible. Or is this too just another temptation? Is it something we tell ourselves to soften the blow of unbelief in ourselves?
The opposite of this is returning to the belief that more things are possible than we can see, or even believe, today. This is true because as John Maxwell reminds, we can grow in matters of choice. Having a positive attitude is, after all, a choice. This is different than matters of skill, where only so much growth is possible.
To that end, I concede that not everything is possible. I am, after all, still chasing the golf round where I make 18 consecutive birdies. Golf, after all, is a mostly a matter of skill. Too often, however, I shelter from the belief that I can even shoot par, a reasonable goal for a single-digit handicap, let alone make a couple birdies when I need to. To this end, my negative mindset holds me back from my skill’s fullest potential. The good news is that mindset is, to John Maxwell’s point, a matter of choice. By believing more is possible, more becomes possible, especially in golf!
Coming full circle, leadership is a lot like the role our parents played when we learned to walk. Leaders need to be the kind of people that encourage others when they fall down. Further, when they question whether or not they will ever be able to take the next step, we need to be there telling them they absolutely can! And when they do, we need to celebrate as our parents did when we took those first steps.
Doing this starts with positivity in our mind. We cannot give what we don’t possess. My guess is your best moments, and mine, were birthed from the seedlings of positivity.
So, never underestimate its power. Quit sheltering from it, and bring it with you wherever you go. It will not only light up your path, but also the path of those you lead.