Friday, May 11, 2007

Clearing Mental Clutter

OK it’s spring and it’s time to do some spring cleaning. I’m not talking about the ‘stuff’ that’s accumulated over winter, though cleaning that out gives a boost to your mental energy as well. I’m talking about clearing out all the thought processes, ways of being, 'programs' you've accumulated over the years that are buggy and no longer serve you.

My colleague used to say “Time to update your personal operating system”. Many laugh at that concept but in truth we have to do that on a regular basis. How we operated and lived our lives 10, 20 years ago no longer applies. The world is quickly changing in every way shape and form. The paradox of our world is that the only constant is change and if you think you can handle it using the same methods and ways of being that you did a decade or two ago, well you’re going to be left in the dust. When that happens, there’s a great deal more inner conflict that arises because you can’t seem to get a grasp on things as easily as you used to. It’s happening because the old ways aren’t necessarily still applicable. That’s not to say you have to totally change everything to a new way. It’s saying you should look at new ways and integrate them into the old to develop a way of working, living, leading that is applicable in this day and age and that will help you stay on top of your world rather than trying to catch up to it.

When that inner conflict raises its ugly head one tends to become stubborn in old ways of being and effective leadership breaks down. That’s because staff will work around you and figure it out because they see you're not able to or want to. Respect for leadership in this instance breaks down as well because they see you’re not current and 'with it' and that you need to be 'always right'.

Think twice before you negate what the young up-and-comings are telling you. They’re not as green as you think. Share your wisdom with them, listen to their innovative ideas and if you combine the two it will be very powerful. So when you think of upgrading your personal operating system, what are you going to replace and what will you keep? Now’s a good time to figure it out. It’s even a better time to do something about it.

What's the first thing you can clear out of your mental clutter that might be holding you back?

Donna Karlin

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