Leadership Tips - Leaders Make Use of Mess to Germinate New Solutions

"One's mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions." -- Oliver Wendell Holmes

Did you ever get so deep into despair that there seemed to be no way but up - and yet you could have chosen to sink deeper into victimization. Oh, I have been there so many times when I stuck to disagreeable jobs and relationships like crazy glue. I rationalized with every conceivable ounce of my being why I should stick it out. I would tell myself: "Don't be a quitter." "Maybe this is the best it gets." "How will I make it?" "Jobs are hard to find now, I am lucky to have this one." And so on and so on!

Life is full of messiness - We can either clean up the mess or sit and stew in it. I admit that I have taken the role of victim as I simmered and felt sorry for myself. I have even invited my friends to listening to my sad stories. I am so grateful for friends and therapy when necessary. They are the best. They are my support during the good and bad episodes of my life. We need friends who care for us unconditionally and at the same time not be co-conspirators in our mess. They hold us creative, resourceful and whole, trusting we will get past the situation and onto new positive perspectives.

Staying down in the muck only brings more muck. I don't like it! One of the synonyms of muck is manure! Well manure is a great metaphor for seeing opportunities when none seem possible. Manure is used for fertilizer! It helps grow plants, flowers, crops and I am sure there are other positive uses for it. You can choose to be a victim of manure or choose the prospect of being a leader rather than following the path of least resistance.

The leadership path, whether personal or professional, is using the manure to fertilize new possibilities from the mess. Checking out what is working and what is not. Those on the path of leadership ask a lot of questions such as:

1. What is the outcome I want?

2. What is the impact of the outcome?

3. What is at stake?

4. What are the advantages and disadvantages in moving forward?

5. What difference will it make in my life/career?

6. What changes can I expect to emerge?

7. Where are the resources/networking opportunities?

8. If I don't take action, what are the consequences?

9. Would I rather be right or be true to the vision by listening to other perspectives?

These are some of the inquiries to investigate before getting to the how. Taking the leadership approach, rather than sitting and stewing incessantly, is a healthier more rewarding path, which pays dividends in all areas of your life.


• Mark time on your calendar to ask yourself the above questions. If you don't take the time to imagine and fertilize new dreams and solutions, who will?

• Look to friends who support your potential. To mingle with people who bring more attention to the undesirable aspects of the situation will attract more of the same. Choose your support wisely.

• Unless you have a definite path you have decided upon taking, start with "what if" ideas. Example: What if I were president of my company, what would that feel like? What if I were interested in being an astronaut, what would I do next? What if I had the team of my dreams, what would the team be doing? What if I owned my own business, what would it be?

• In searching for new possibilities watch out for the "how's." This will stop you on your tracks as your inner critics begin sabotaging every idea.

• It is good to get in the mess and stir it up. Don't allow circumstances or others to take your power. You are not powerless. You are always at choice even when you are in the muck!

Remember Anything Is Possible!


Theresa-Maria (“TM”) Napa – of Right Track Coaching - is dedicated to helping professionals and executives increase their winning percentage while taking fewer steps and producing better results. Her career has included positions as executive assistant, vice president of operations, director of marketing & administration, and business owner with substantial experience in leadership, marketing, client development, and execut...

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