Thinking Possibility

Thinking Possibility

Having a purpose that makes the seemingly impossible possible can be enhanced by thinking and leading from a place of possibility rather than scarcity. Believing in multiple right answers, shifting from unconsciously limiting beliefs to consciously positive beliefs, linking generosity and possibility, and envisioning a future full of possibility, are all features of the Thinking Possibility practice explored in the book, The Inner Journey of Conscious Leadership.

One of my favorite possibility thinkers is the White Queen in Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There. The Queen, in response to Alice’s skepticism about believing impossible things, suggested that Alice hadn’t had enough practice and cited her own experience of practicing for half an hour a day and sometimes believing as many as six impossible things before breakfast. Although fictional, this children’s story is a wonderful inspiration for possibility thinking. Thinking from a place of possibility can provide the bridge from a clearly defined purpose to committing to responsible action.

Possibility thinker, Ben Zander, conductor of the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra and co-author of The Art of Possibility, tells the story of the two salesmen who traveled to Africa in the 1900s. They were sent to find out if there was any opportunity for selling shoes, and they wrote telegrams back to Manchester, England. One of them wrote, “Situation hopeless. They don’t wear shoes.” And the other one wrote, “Glorious opportunity. They don’t have any shoes yet.”

Conscious leaders are possibility thinkers. They don’t come from a place of scarcity, where there is never enough: never enough resources, never enough talented people, never enough money, never enough time. I’m sure you can add a few more “never enough” scarcity concerns of your own. Possibility thinkers have shifted from scarcity to sufficiency, from a place of never enough to a belief that there will always be enough. Conscious leaders embrace a belief in unlimited possibilities.

Aspiring conscious leaders setting intention as possibility thinkers are likely to be found:

  • Considering multiple perspectives, multiple right answers
  • Doing something radically different compared to what we have done in the past
  • Focusing on sufficiency rather than scarcity
  • Being contagiously excited and enthusiastic about future possibilities
  • Reframing negative perspectives into positive, possibility thinking
  • Envisioning a meaningful future for ourselves and our organizations
  • Communicating a positive and hopeful outlook for the future
  • Striving to be the best for the world rather than the best in the world
  • Being an edgewalker, ready to jump off the cliff and learning to fly on the way down
  • Walking with the dreamers, igniting the fire of possibility

Which of these behaviors are you already practicing? Which of the behaviors do you need to work on to become a more conscious leader? Select one of these behaviors to practice today. Set an hourly reminder and take a moment of mindfulness to reflect on your experiences and set an intention for your practice. Send me a message via the contact page if you would like to ask a question or share your experiences.

Exploring Purposefully

Exploring Purposefully

Ten behaviors of aspiring conscious leaders who are Setting Intention and Exploring Purposefully.

Start with why! Simon Sinek, inspirational speaker and author, has been advocating this starting point in articles, books, and conversations for more than ten years, and there are an increasing number of leaders in organizations who now start with why. Individuals can usually describe what they and their organizations do, and many can describe how they do it, but, as Sinek asserts, very few people, including organizational leaders, can clearly articulate why they do what they do. Purpose is the why—why we do what we do as individuals and organizations. Exploring purposefully with a possibility mindset, before committing to action, is an important practice for conscious leaders to apply in the process of setting intention.

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Living Mindfully

Ten behaviors of aspiring conscious leaders who are Living Mindfully, noticing what is going on.

Conscious leaders live their lives mindfully. Mindfulness is a state of being aware of ourselves, other people, and our environment. We can remind ourselves to be mindful with a regular morning meditation practice or moments of mindfulness during the day or at the beginning of meetings, but conscious leaders aspire to live their whole lives mindfully. Living mindfully means being in the moment; it is about being as well as doing, about how we show up in the world, our character and presence, and leading from the inside out. It is about avoiding the drama triangle, practicing mindfulness, and living mindfully every day.

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Learning Relentlessly

Ten behaviors of aspiring conscious leaders who are Noticing what is going on and Learning Relentlessly

Conscious leaders are constantly curious—curious about themselves, curious about others, and curious about their environment. When working with leaders, I look for curiosity. If they are not curious, they are unlikely to want to change. Learning relentlessly is about remaining open to new ideas and insights; checking understanding rather than making assumptions; creating space for learning both individually and in groups; accepting mistakes and failures as learning opportunities; giving and receiving timely, constructive feedback; and constantly growing in self-awareness.

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The Tiger and the Strawberry

Listening With All The Senses

Ten behaviors of aspiring conscious leaders who are waking up, listening with all the senses, and noticing what is going on.

Conscious leaders are waking up and becoming more aware of themselves, of others, and of their environment. They are listening generously with all their senses, feeling all their feelings, and creating space for becoming more mindful and noticing what is going on around them. This is an invitation to wake up, recognizing that conscious leadership requires us all to become wide awake and to stay awake and alert in all aspects of our lives.

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Conscious Business

Leading Consciously

Creating a conscious business is not possible without conscious leadership. Purposefully applying conscious leadership practices for the benefit of all is one of the six conscious business principles described in the book, The Inner Journey to Conscious Leadership. The conscious leadership practices presented in this book provide a framework—noticing what is going on, setting intention, and acting responsibly—that leaders can apply individually and collectively in their organizations. Leading consciously is a prerequisite for creating a conscious business.

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Conscious Business

Whole-Systems Thinking

Systems thinking is an important step on the journey from dividedness to wholeness, from separateness to oneness. The concepts of systems thinking have been with us for decades and were made popular in organizational learning by Peter Senge as the fifth discipline, with tools and techniques aimed at destroying the illusion that the world is created of separate unrelated forces. Whole-systems thinking, one of the six conscious business principles described in the book, The Inner Journey to Conscious Leadership, is about co-creating, uniting, and integrating the separate fragments into the oneness of the whole.

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Conscious Business

Conscious Cultures

Conscious leaders create conscious cultures. We can see this in entrepreneurial organizations where the founder imposes their visions, goals, beliefs, values, and assumptions, and the culture emerges as the organization grows and employees share in the leader’s philosophy. Conscious and unconscious cultures have been described in the book, The Inner Journey to Conscious Leadership.

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Conscious Business

Ethical Imperatives: Choosing the Right Path for the Greater Good

As we witness the imposed grounding of the Boeing 737 Max aircraft, the recent college admissions scandal in the US, and the seemingly daily reports of the unscrupulous behavior of politicians, we find claims of unethical behavior are rarely out of the news. We can easily pass judgment on these examples of misconduct and wrongdoing based on our ability to clearly define the difference between right and wrong. Unfortunately, the greater challenges for conscious leaders are the choices between right and right. Choosing between multiple right paths requires organizational leaders to apply the practices of leading consciously to complex decisions. Aspiring conscious leaders are aware of the ethical imperatives of business leadership and choose the right path for the greater good.

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Conscious Business

Beyond Sustainability

Sustainability has become a buzzword with multiple meanings and a lot of lip-service. We need to go further. Beyond sustainability: contributing to the creation of a better world is one of six conscious business principles described in the book, The Inner Journey to Conscious Leadership. The terms social sustainability, economic sustainability, and environmental sustainability provide a recognized framework for evaluating how human choices impact social, environmental, and business vitality. These are sometimes abbreviated in the business world as people, planet, and profit, and are known as the triple bottom line.

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