Skip to main content

Thrive on Possibilities

Do you  believe that anything is possible?

I'm careful about going that far - I know for certain that I will never play basketball in the NBA or play bass with the Beatles no matter how much I want to or believe it. Belief does have limits.

For many people those limits are far more restrictive than they need to be. Despite our limitations, the world (the universe!) is filled with wonderful, exciting, curious possibilities. We could (and should!) spend our lives exploring those possibilities.

Not in regretting what is no longer possible - in discovering what is.

One of my favorite books is The Art of Possibility - Transforming Professional and Personal Life by Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander. It's a great guide in how to see the possibilities and potential in people, processes, places, performance with an attitude that welcomes success.

Imagine that - an attitude you can carry with yourself in every endeavor and every interaction that invites success. New possibilities keep us fresh, keep us creative, and keep us young.

Even if all you read in The Art of Possibility was the Table of Contents (and you should read the whole book, you truly should) you could get a recipe for improving your chances of success:

  1. It's All Invented
  2. Stepping into a Universe of Possibility
  3. Giving an A
  4. Being a Contribution
  5. Leading from Any Chair
  6. Rule Number 6
  7. The Way Things Are
  8. Giving Way to Passion
  9. Lighting a Spark
  10. Being the Board
  11. Creating Frameworks for Possibility
  12. Telling the WE Story
Do those things (or even a few of those things) and new possibilities open up. I am constantly invigorated by the possibilities that zoom into my world simply by staying open to them. Ask the universe "what have you got for me today?" and stay open to what shows up: your possibilities will get better and better.

High performance leaders thrive on possibilities.

How about you?

-- Doug Smith

Front Range Leadership: Training Supervisors for Success

doug smith training: how to achieve your goals


Popular posts from this blog

Feedback Takes Practice

How good are you at providing feedback? If you're not sure, ask your team members. If you are good at it, they'll tell you. If you're not good at it, then maybe they will and maybe they won't. Feedback does not come easy. Skillful, useful feedback that improves both performance AND self-esteem is a delicate balance of recognizing positives and occasionally providing insights on areas of improvement -- all placed into the context of why it matters. Without the "why" -- why the feedback matters, why the improvement matters, why the performance matters, all the feedback you can muster will only fluster whoever you provide it to. Tell them what they did that was great, ask how they could make it even greater, and share with them why it all makes a difference. Because unless it really makes a difference who cares? Feedback, like any skill, takes practice. -- doug smith

No Hiding The Truth

What happens when someone tries to hide the truth? It pops up, unexpected, full-blown and often unforgiving. There is no hiding the truth. The truth always bubbles to the top. Pushing down what we regard as worth hiding, even when it's clearly true, simply delays the inevitable. The truth comes out, and then whoever attempted to hide it looks doubly suspicious and unreliable. Also, when we try to hide the truth we suddenly limit our possibilities. What can we say? What should we suppress? Where are we headed? Who can know and who cannot know? Did we tell the wrong person already? Maybe we should just keep quiet... Truth we try to hide becomes our tallest wall. It's a weight we carry around wondering when we can let it go. It's a wall that prevents us from seeing the beauty that belongs in all truth, even the truth that troubles us. What secret truth are you carrying around? Isn't it time to let that go? -- Douglas Brent Smith Front Range Leadership:  

Balance the Optimism on Your Team

Do you lead a team of optimists? Do they expect to succeed no matter what? Positive energy is powerful. Building optimistic teams can lead to better results. Creating the kinds of teams that people enjoy working with facilitates your success. But, is it possible to be too positive? High performance leaders must manage their focus and their balance. By centering our view points and attitudes, and remaining open to all kinds of possibilities (even the ones that we would not choose) we stand a much better chance of overcoming obstacles and achieving our goals. Successful leaders balance optimism with realism almost every minute. They ask questions like: what's the best thing that could happen under these circumstances? what's the worst thing that could happen? what are our strengths that will serve us well today? where are our challenges that could trip us up? do we show signs of a positive and affirming attitude do we have a grasp on reality so that we're not

Dealing with Complaints

A complaint is a call to action. Take it. Our pastor, Warren Napier, yesterday offered an unusual call to action during his sermon: go 24 hours without complaining. Look at the positive side, keep yourself busy, take productive action, reframe the whatever you need to do but do not complain.  It sounds easy, but I was hardly out of the church parking lot when I felt a complaint coming on about something that happened around Saturday night's show in a play I'm acting in. I caught myself (or did I?) but the thought then occurred to me that whether or not I voiced the complaint, something should be done.   Maybe I don't need to trouble anyone else about it, but for it to bubble up as something I found disturbing meant that I should take some action to deal with it. Otherwise, the issue stays (and grows). A complaint is a call to action. Take it. It's not enjoyable to receive a complaint. We will sometimes do anything to avoid doing anyth

Help Your Enemy?

"When I make my enemy my friend have I not destroyed my enemy?" -- Abraham Lincoln Do you have any enemies? Enemies are hard to deal with. They oppose us. They demonize us. They violate our values and breech our assumptions of peace and healthfulness. They stand in the way. They do us harm. I do hope you aren't experiencing enemies of that nature. But many people are. What's to be done? We so often select violence as the solution and yet, how has that worked so far? Any violent solution to an enemy problem simply sows the seeds for future conflict and more enemies. We can't fight our way out of a fight. An enemy does not need your help to find a reason to oppose you. They will develop reasons of their own. Challenging those reasons, opposing those view points simply fuel the enmity. Work the relationship not the reason. Not easy. Not always possible at first view. Seldom safe. But what if we stayed truly curious about what is going on? What if we

Make A Team Member's Day

What do your team members say about you at home? I've had bosses that I complained about at home to my family. Not that there was anything they could do about it at home, but those particular bosses were so troubling it made life difficult at work AND at home. Fortunately, I've also had some terrific bosses who made life great at work (with a combination of support AND challenging) which magically made life better at home as well. Sometimes a great boss would make my day so great I'd share the joy at home. Wouldn't you like to have that kind of impact with your team members? Find out what they care about. Share your own insights. Listen to their concerns. Help your team members grow with a careful balance of support and challenge. They'll love you for it -- and your team will create their best results ever. It's one way you build the best team possible -- one relationship at a time. What if you were the best part of someone's day today? -- Doug

Problems Are Often Conflicts of Interest

Problems come in many forms but often they represent conflicts of interest. People can disagree on what they want and clutch onto what they have in ways that create shortages and unnecessary competition over resources, people, and ideals. When there is competition over resources it can slow a team down. What's a leader to do? Start the conversation. Create the dialogue. Centered leaders uncover what's hidden to probe more deeply into the causes of a situation. Maybe it really is a problem -- or maybe it is a misunderstanding or misperception.  Misunderstandings can often be negotiated out of. Misperceptions can be clarified. Problems are often conflicts of interest. Solving the problem requires sorting out and dealing with each conflict and each interest. What conflict of interest are you currently experiencing? Who can you talk to about it? What interests might you share? How could that lead to a solution? -- Douglas Brent Smith Learn more in the wor

Start With Decisions

Do you share leadership? The most powerful teams share leadership responsibilities AND attitude. When you develop a team where people feel empowered to take charge, take responsibility, and take ownership you then no longer need to do all the difficult work. Delegation becomes easier. Collaboration feels more natural. Start with decisions. It's fast and easy as a leader to make all of the big decisions, but when you include your team in the conversations it takes to gain mutually shared understandings and collaborative decisions, you no longer have to "sell" your decisions --- people simply know what you as a team have decided and act accordingly. No passive aggressive resistance, no passengers on your team "bus" -- just fully engaged team members. Start with collaborative decisions. The rest will be much easier. -- Doug Smith

Goals Enable Happiness

  Goals may not be the cause of all happiness, but they make a lot of happiness possible. What is the most important goal that you're working on today? -- doug smith

The Five Qualities of Successful Leaders

What makes a leader successful? There are many lists. Sometimes the lists go as high as 100 qualities. Sometimes they are fewer competencies but still too many to remember and too many to clearly assess on a personal basis. It's part of the difficulty of taking a 360 evaluation and making sense of it. I like Adam Bryant's approach of focusing on five key leadership traits. We can quibble about which five leadership traits matter the most, but this is a workable list. My own work has also identified five leadership traits that I believe clearly shows the strengths needed and how great leaders use their flexibility (or centeredness) to optimize their use of those strengths, even though we each vary in which strengths we use the most. It is built on the work of centuries of personality sorters and bears similarities to several prominent ones which focus on four traits. I see these four strengths as Clarity, Courage, Creativity and Compassion. The fifth s