Choosing your focus

Positive EnergyAt work, we describe busy times as “seasons,” except they’re less seasons and more all the time.  And while you adapt to the pace, every now and then there’s a tipping point. Yeah, that happened this week. I found myself standing in front of my friend/boss with tears in my eyes, overwhelmed. Only for a minute, but I tipped.

We were minutes away from beginning a training which I was leading and while I knew I’d make it through, the business caught up to me. Once we started the session, the material we walked our team through reminded me of the lesson I needed in that moment. Isn’t that how life is when you’re paying attention?

Bear with me on the HR speak for a minute as I explain the tool we were using. We use a 360 tool through the Leadership Circle to look at leaders through multiple lenses. Their leader, their team and peers. The results show the degree to which you operate in 4 spheres: Creative/Reactive and Relationships/Results. You receive a score of where others see you are in each area as well as where you rate yourself, showing any disconnects.

The idea is that when you’re operating in the Reactive space, you’re not as focused on the Creative side, which is where innovation, strategy and growth happen. The same is true with Results, if that’s where your primary focus is, you have less energy to invest and grow relationships, to work through and with people.

As we walked through these concepts, literally – we have a 12’x12’ version of the circle laid out on the floor – concepts from the coaching program I went through also came to mind. The Creative and Reactive sides equate to positive and negative pulls. When you operate in the negative space, that’s the energy you draw to you and the lens through which you see your circumstance. The negative/reactive side is a stronger force than the positive/creative. Once you can see it, you can make a choice.

That’s right, a choice. In my moment/meltdown, the focus was on the enormity rather than the opportunity.

When we choose to approach a situation from the positive/creative space, we see options, ways to look at the circumstance differently. Its no different when you’re working with people. If you approach a situation ‘armoring up,’ prepared for the worst, that’s what we’re going to look for, and likely, what you’re going to get. I’ve seen this play out in conversations over and over. The approach has a significant impact on the result.

The degree to which we can stay in the creative/positive space will influence the interactions in our lives. We can look for the positive, bringing it out in ourselves and in others. It’s a choice and sometimes armoring up seems safer, but it won’t produce the relationships we desire. The ask for you today is simply to notice. Pay attention to your interactions and be mindful of the way you interact. You’re likely to find that the energy you put forth is what will be returned to you.

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