Asking why prepares and strengthens your mind…

“The mind is like an umbrella. It’s most useful when open.”

Walter Gropius

If you don’t make a regular practice of finding and opening your umbrella, it won’t be ready to go when you need to use it. The same goes with your mind; one must cultivate openness and practice expanded thinking if you want to be ready when the time is right.

The key to practicing openness of mind is to ask yourself the important “why” questions regularly. Why do I believe what I believe? Why is that belief correct? Why is that belief useful? Etc.

If you don’t ask yourself “why,” you might find that your umbrella is frayed and useless when called into service.

If you want to win, learn to collaborate…

“If people work together in an open way with porous boundaries – that is, if they listen to each other and really talk to each other – then they are bound to trade ideas that are mutual to each other and be influenced by each other. That mutual influence and open system of working creates collaboration.”

Richard Thomas

Collaboration = seeking to work with and help one another.

If you are truly seeking to work with, and for, another person’s hopes and dreams then by design you have surrendered your need to “win” as an individual. Winning is now defined in the context of mutual success.

Sounds like fun; sign me up!

Building trust starts with you…

“We need people in our lives with whom we can be as open as possible. To have real conversations with people may seem like such a simple, obvious suggestion, but it involves courage and risk.”

Thomas Moore

Openness implies vulnerability.  To make oneself vulnerable to another person means that you are choosing to let them have access to stuff that perhaps you don’t even want to admit to yourself.  But how do you grow if you don’t open yourself to others?  How do you ensure that you have real perspective if you don’t have people who are willing to call you out when needed?

The old paradigm of leadership said that the leader had to be bulletproof.  They can not show any vulnerability to those who worked for him or her.  But if you aren’t vulnerable you aren’t building trust.  I’d argue the exact opposite is true to be an effective servant of others.  Be vulnerable.  Show those that you that you work for and have the privilege to serve, that you trust them by being open and real.  In turn you are making it safe for them to do the same.  That’s how trust is built.  

Easier said than done of course.  But it starts small with one person and with a single conversation.  Think about it this way.  What kind of relationships do you want to have developed and fostered five years from now?  Those built on openness and trust or those that maintain the status quo?  



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