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Facing Challenges – Understanding Seasons

To be able to shape your future, you have to be ready and able to change your paradigm.” – Joel Barker

We can all agree that having a leader’s responsibilities doesn’t necessarily make a person a leader, much less a high-quality one. Being a high-quality Leader requires being challenged, possessing resiliency, and sometimes testing to the breaking point, which calls for a leadership paradigm.

Whether leading an organization, a community, or holding public office, leaders must make difficult decisions under all kinds of pressure. Over the past year, we have faced challenges no one could’ve foreseen.

David Mammano writes, “If you look at many of the famous leaders throughout history, you’ll notice they became famous because they navigated through seemingly impossible times. They held the flashlight at the end of the tunnel. Legendary leaders such as Abraham Lincoln, Susan B. Anthony and Franklin Delano Roosevelt come to mind.

All historical figures were faced with incredibly complex or catastrophic situations. Instead of cowering in indecision, they reacted boldly and aggressively. They threw conventional wisdom out the window and developed their own playbooks on the spot.”(1)

Historical figures driven by current necessities step outside the ordinary, becoming extraordinary to address the issues of their day. Those who make history do so because they dare to go outside the norms, taking their gifts and talents to new levels. Maya Angelou said, “If you’re always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be.”

Facing Challenges

“Within every challenge is an opportunity waiting to be uncovered.” – JSP

We all go through seasons of facing one problem after another, and seasons when it seems we can do no wrong, I prefer the latter. Since it’s unrealistic to think we can live on mountain peak experiences without the occasional visits in the valley of uncertainties, it’s vital to safeguard our mindset so we’re not making the proverbial “mountains out of molehills” a lifestyle.

If we always view challenges as setbacks, we’ll miss the opportunities in front of us; that’s counterproductive if you want to make history in your sphere of influence. Challenges present us with choices; we can choose to see them as obstacles or opportunities. Focusing on obstacles disrupts our rhythms and blocks our creativity.

During our most trying times, the significance of sustaining a positive mindset for constructive thinking becomes apparent. It’s essential to understand how our values direct our thoughts which influence our perceptions, informing our responses.

It’s energizing to engage in opportunistic thinking; when we do, we’ll naturally focus on constructive ways of meeting challenges. Engaging in negative thinking causes us to change our focus, resulting in a deficit in creativity. Negative thinking is demotivating; it distorts our perceptions and depletes our emotional energy.

The importance of safeguarding our mindset to promote more opportunistic thinking cannot be overstated. These four suggestions will help you remain focused:

Maintain high-quality core values living them daily. Develop a creative imagination, visualize possible successful outcomes. Keep your self-talk positive, realistic, and practical. Develop and maintain strong personal convictions.

Author and Mentor Christina Guidotti states, “Conviction is what gives belief its stamina – like an unstoppable life force. It’s when our belief is so strong, and we are fixed on our vision — even when there is no evidence that the vision will become a reality — that we are inspired to take action towards our desired destination.”(2)

It takes a positive mental attitude to stay on the road of sustained persistence to solve problems and reach our objectives. History is replete with success stories of people with deep convictions who significantly impacted the world in their generation because they were relentless in their pursuit of a better tomorrow.

Understanding Your Seasons

“Leaders are revealed during the busy seasons, but they are made during the offseason.” – John C. Maxwell

We all have seasons of highs and lows throughout each day, week, month, and year. Planning, creating, and building are subject to knowing in which personal seasons we do our best thinking. It’s essential to become wise investors in the time we have; we cannot bank it or reinvest it. Seasons of growth are the outcome of the previously smart investments of our time. I believe creative persistence is the engine of momentum.

Knowing what time of the day, week, month, and the year we’re at our best and intentionally investing all we are during those times bring us our most significant returns. I do my best creative work in the early mornings. Spring and Fall are my high seasons when I’m the most productive.

My low seasons are excellent times to revisit my vision, values and monitor my progress. When I have clarity, I’m in a better frame of mind to adjust my future objectives. I use my low seasons to “sharpen my saw,” as Stephen Covey would say. I enjoy my quiet times in all seasons, to think about the issues before me, not to escape them, but engage them. Whether facing challenges head-on or knowing your seasons high and low, in the end, it’s all about positive outcomes.

“Simply “doing things” does not mean you’re being productive. Productivity requires a focused approach. Taking time to think, consider options and let ideas marinate might not look like a lot but can often yield the best results.” – Meaghan Edelstein

End Notes

(1) “How Great Leaders Thrive in Tough Times” by David Mammano

(2) Christina Guidotti is one of Australia’s leading experts on success, belief, conviction, and commitment.

*** This article was authored by John Picarello, Chief Leadership Officer at Lions Pride Leadership Co.***

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