Why does one person see “passionate” while another sees “offensive,” or “disagreeable?” Why does one leader see problems while the other sees potential? Because everybody sees through the lens of their own unique experiences, challenges, and successes.

Understanding this puts you in a position of power. When you agree that what you’re seeing is based on your perspective, you have the power to broaden it. Conversely, when you think what you’re seeing or experiencing is outside of you, you remain a prisoner in your own mind, unable to change or affect your outcomes.

A few months ago, my friend Joel went to the doctor for a physical. On his way to the appointment, he got a phone call with some stressful news. Thirty minutes later when a nurse took his blood pressure, it was 195/120.

The doctor was concerned and wanted to put Joel on medication immediately. “No, no,” Joel said. “Give me a few minutes. I just got some bad news.”

About 15 minutes later, when the nurse ran the test again, his blood pressure had come down but not enough.  “We’re going to have to do something about this,” the doctor said.

“No, it’s just stress-related,” Joel again insisted. “I need 15 more minutes.”

The doctor agreed to give him one last chance. This time Joel sat there purposefully focusing his attention on thoughts of his children. He imagined playing with them, relaxing, and enjoying time with his family. Fifteen minutes later his blood pressure had dropped to 135/85 (well within the normal range), and they sent him home without medication.

Imagine if nurses, doctors, and leaders alike, went away from the band-aid approach to problem people and sought to uncover the root cause of such problems. Rather than write a script for something that didn’t need drugs – or go in search of new employees, rather than looking at what’s causing them to disengage – why not spend a little time in search of their potential and discovering new ways to harness it?    

With disciplined focus, you can consistently look for the potential in the people on your team, the opportunities available to you, and even the current state of the economy.  Of course, it’s not easy, but it’s certainly worth the effort!

Understanding how to find the potential in what seems like problems is at the core of my forth coming ebook, Gifts Wrapped in Shi(f)t.

Join The Conversation: Is it possible to get a different result by simply focusing your attention on something different?



Thanks to Dexter Britain and Gillycuddy for their music contribution and LN Lurie for producing this podcast.

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