Pt. 2 – Choose Your State – The Top 3 Habits of Agile Leaders

Mindfulness leadership success tips for better change management

In Part 2 of How to Install the Top 3 Habits of Agile leaders, we explore the What If Worksheet to help switch your state of mind in an instant In Part 1, we identified your issue and ideal outcome. Now we have something to work with for the 3 habits.

HABIT #1 of Agile Leaders is the Ability to Choose Your State

Can YOU switch your state of mind instantly when needed? Or do you let your state choose you? There are days it’s hard to switch out of a negative state of mind. The problem is, if you try to go through your day in a bad state, you tend to attract more of what you don’t want.

You Cannot Change the External Until the Internal Changes

There’s a famous Einstein quote “You cannot solve a problem with the same mindset that created it.” Sports psychologists regularly remind their pro athletes of this. If their athlete is on a losing streak, they work on changing the “inner game” first. Sometimes we forget that as a leader or as a mentor to leaders. You have to change it inside first or it will not change out there.

The Problem is that it’s Not an Intellectual Switch

The problem is, it’s not an intellectual switch over. Throughout every day of our lives, we come to a fork in the road where we can take the stormy road or the high road. That said, have you ever had a well-meaning friend notice you seem to be having a bad day, and try to break you out of it? They say something like – just lighten up already, get over it. Don’t worry be happy. Does this help? No, it can just make it worse. You have to actually “trick” your mind, or hypnotize yourself out of it.

You Need to Re-wire Your Neuro-Pathways Through Regular Habits

Habits of mind are in the subconscious, and that’s why sometimes they seem so hard to change. You can’t just change them through conscious will. Repeated actions become habits which become subconscious programs. For example, tying your shoes is a subconscious habit of mind. Your subconscious mind is full of good and useful programs like that. If you didn’t have them, you’d have to relearn tying your shoes every time you wanted to do it.

Your Subconscious Has Programs that Block Your Success

For example many leaders have a fear of public speaking that usually came from a bad experience as a child. I’ve taught public speaking for 15 years, and almost everyone who fears it, had a bad experience in a school play, or reading their essay at the front of the class. Someone said or did something that undermined their confidence. These habits of mind we’re exploring her, can override a bad program like that so it doesn’t get in your way anymore.

You Hypnotize Yourself All the Time

You hypnotize yourself all the time by what you say to yourself. Two people will be saying completely different things to themselves in the face of a similar stressor. That’s why one person can be excited to get on a stage and speak to a group, and another person can be terrified. It’s that old adage that – stress is not an event. It’s not an external thing. It’s always our reaction to and our relationship to it. You may know that intellectually, but the minute you’re hit with an intense stressor, it’s easy to think, “It’s out there. It’s got nothing to do with me.”

A Tool to Shift Mindset Quickly.

If you find you or anyone you serve tends to get undermined by worrying try this. Again, very simple, but very effective. It’s called, The What If Worksheet. Download it HERE. You know how when you’re worried about something you tend to say, “What if we can’t make the deadline? What if I get laid off?”

Most People Don’t Realize They are Worrying

Most people don’t even know that they’re worrying. Instead they notice a physical symptom, like a tension headache or a knot in the stomach. This process helps you investigate.  Then, you realize, “Oh, I’m looping in this negative way about what I don’t want.” Again, you have to trick the mind. If you try to WILL yourself to stop worrying, it actually makes it worse.

Positive What If’s

You write out the worry starting with the words “What if…” Then you write:

“What if we CAN make the deadline?”

“What if I get to keep my job?”

It seems very, very simple but I find people will do an activity if it’s quick and simple.  It changes your whole neuro chemistry as soon as you say the positive one. A calm descends. The good news is that a calm state of mind changes how the brain works. It dials things up.

Negative OK What If’s

Now, if you’re in a situation where it’s likely not going to work, here’s an alternative. You can write out the negative okay version. You write:

“What if we can’t make the deadline and It’s okay, we learn from it, and we move on?”

“What if I get laid off and it’s okay, I learn from the situation, and move on to something better?”

Now, maybe you think like that anyways, which is good, but some people they don’t naturally think that way. This is like training wheels on a bike to start thinking that way by default.

Example of Using the What If Worksheet in a Cash Flow Crunch

I had a client who was trying to shift her market niche and used this. She was a consultant helping people create better workflow systems, but she wanted to switch to conflict resolution training instead. Immediately after she made the decision, without telling anyone but me, three of her top clients cancelled their contract. She started worrying about cash flow and decided it was a bad idea.

She agreed to do the worksheet for 11 days in a row. Then she contacted me and said, “I finally realized this is going to give me time to focus on the new market niche.” It opened up her creative energy to do what she wanted to do instead of wasting it on worrying. In retrospect she was happy that those 3 time consuming clients canceled. It meant she could make the switch over more quickly and was much happier with the new direction.

That’s just an example of how it works, so feel free to share that with anyone who is a big worrier. In fact, it literally takes 3 minutes, so try one right now on your favorite worry.


For part 3 go HERE

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