In Beliefs, Change, Leaders

“The greater part of our happiness or misery depends upon our dispositions, and not upon our circumstances.” – Martha Washington

I recently published a book (I know, it’s hard for me to believe too). The topic was change and how to be better at it – lots of stuff that’s similar to what we talk about in this space. I was reminded of a key part of the book yesterday at a local business function. The idea of belief and how it shapes what happens in our businesses and our lives.

I’m not talking about belief here as a therapy session, or something you talk about when sitting around the campfire singing folk tunes. What I’m talking about is whether or not you and your organization believe that you have the ability to positively change and impact your situation, and the fact that your belief will drive your success or failure.

Too many leaders think they’re moving about at the whim of other people, or the world in general, or whatever. And they may be – because they don’t believe there’s any other way. Unfortunately, the world is full of leaders who think they cannot impact the situation they’re in, that they can only react to what other people do and hope not to get run over.

And it’s a self-fulfilling prophesy. If you believe you have no control over where your business is going, then you won’t act to control where it goes, and in the end it will go where others push it. Then you can sit there and say you were right.

But the opposite is also true (thank goodness). If you think you can impact where you’re going, you’ll act in such a way as to have that impact, and you have a chance to end up where you want to be. Your belief will be confirmed, and you’ll keep having that impact.

So take a minute and step back from whatever is keeping you busy today. Ask yourself: Do I really believe I can control where I’m going? Look at the actions you take in your business. Are they the actions of somebody who is actively trying to steer the ship? Or are they what a person would do if they think they’re powerless?

A good friend of mine once said that if someone is a loser, they’ll spend their whole lives proving themselves right and if they work for you, they’ll use your business as a vehicle. If someone is a winner, they’ll spend their whole lives proving themselves right and if they work for you, they’ll use your business as a vehicle.

So ask yourself – are you the loser? Or the winner? I know what I’d rather be.

Uncertainty in business

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Showing 2 comments
  • Great post, Matt! I’ll embrace your suggestion.
    “If you think you can, or if you think you can’t…you’re right.”

    • Matt Heemstra

      Thanks Mark! That’s one of my favorite quotes – and it’s absolutely true.

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