Character · Coaching and Managing · family · Inspiration · Leadership · legacy · Living · Politics

Focus on What You Can Do

I’m a firm believer in adopting a mindset that looks at what can be done.  I see opportunities to learn and grow everywhere, if we choose to see them that way.  In work and life, I’ve known many that would see challenges as opportunities to overcome, and I’ve known many that see what can’t be done.  Focusing on things that can’t be done, or bringing down others is a sure way to keep yourself limited.

What’s your vision for life and profession?  In interviews for jobs, candidates are often asked where they see themselves in five years.  This is an old question, probably overused for selection processes, but it’s actually a great question.  But this is a question that we should all ask ourselves on a regular basis.  Where are you going?  What is your direction in life?  What do you want to do for a job or career?  What steps are you taking?

Tell me where you’re going.  I want to know what your direction is.  I want to know what possibilities you envision.  As we enter the peak of election season, I see so many commercials that are playing to fears or creating visions of disaster if one candidate is elected over the other.  Even after the conventions, I hear far too often what will happen if the “other guy” is elected.  Chaos will ensue.  The police will be de-funded and people who need help will be left without assistance.  There are opportunities to create visions of what will be created.  I don’t see many instances of candidates creating a story of what they will create, or what kind of vision they have.  We’re only left with efforts to undermine each other instead of focusing on what can be.  This may work to win some votes to get elected, but is a poor attitude to take in life. 

In our personal lives, we should focus on what can be.  A goal may require talents and experience we don’t have, but you’re heading somewhere.  Look at the opportunities.  Move forward.  Sometimes things don’t work out.  I’d love to be a world renowned painter.  I could tell myself it won’t happen, and not put in any time of effort.  There are incredible masterpieces hanging in museums all over the world, and it’s easy to see work as inferior and not bother.  Or I could practice and develop.  I can learn more about color theory and composition, and experiment and learn more.  My painting may never get to a masterpiece level, but I think we’d all be surprised with the results if we focus on what we can do.  If you don’t try, failure is assured.

In a profession, there are many opportunities for leadership and growth.  Even in organizations that are stagnate or morale may be low.  In all your tasks and projects, focus on what can be, on what is possible.  As an IT manager, I’ve seen each type of person.  Those who see what they can do, and those that see what can’t be done.  Guess what type of employee I would like to have on staff?  Talent is important, but seeing possibilities and opportunities is just as important.  These are the people that don’t simply say “we can’t do that.”  They realize that sometimes technology, organizational culture, and budgets represent firm obstacles, but they look at what can be done.  Can something be altered or modified to achieve the same or similar result?  As an employee, having this mindset will take you far along your career path.

Seek out the opportunities for personal and professional growth.  Even the midst of a crisis, there are opportunities to set a direction and move forward in your life and career.  You only need to frame your thoughts to be prepared and take advantage of opportunities. 

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