You know that Spring is here and summer on its way in the Northwest when you see the boats come out. Sure enough, this last weekend the weather was mild, the seas calm, and there were boats galore dotting the Bay near our home. Days like these start you thinking of your summer vacation plans.
From our vantage point on the shore, you can watch the myriad of boats coming and going with the start of the season. The power boats buzz across the sound, and as the wind picks up the sailboats hoist their large sails – always a mesmerizing sight. It reminds me of a leadership quote from a favorite mentor:
“The pessimist complains about the wind. The optimist expects it to change. The leader adjusts the sails.” John Maxwell
Do you consider yourself an optimist? You may choose the right attitude and best perspective in various circumstances. But do you ever find yourself, like the optimist in the quote, expecting things to change for the better, or simply “hoping for the best,” but not taking action?
As a leader, it is important to have an optimistic perspective, and it is also important to make changes and adjustments when needed to keep you and your business moving forward.
If the wind is the unforeseen troubles that come your way, how are you reacting to them?
Think of a recent challenge you faced in your business or at home – perhaps a problem with a client or team member, a financial issue, or a disagreement with a friend. It may be a situation you got yourself into, or it may be something you have no control over.
Then ask yourself these questions:
- What was your initial reaction to the situation?
- Did you complain about it to whoever would listen or choose a positive perspective?
- Was there anything you could do to make a difference?
In times of challenge, it is a natural reaction to feel stuck and unsure of what to do next. Often times it is easier to do nothing than to take on the hard work of fixing a situation that has you floundering. Instead follow these four steps:
- Recognize when you are stuck. Just this act of self-awareness can help you identify the barriers in the way of your success.
- Get support. Reach out to a colleague, your leadership coach, or another trusted advisor. You do not have to do business or life alone.
- Evaluate your options. Talk the situation through and write down the pros and cons of various options. Focus on what you can control.
- Take the first step. Decide on a step of action. Most of the time you will not have all the answers you want, but don’t let that stop you from moving forward.
Next time an unexpected wind comes your way, be prepared to take action. Most of the time there is something you can do to help the situation; you just need a little courage to adjust the sails.