If I walked up to your best friend and ask him or her if you tended to be open or closed minded what would be the response? What about your colleagues? Your boss? Your spouse?
How consistent were your answers?
Several years ago I discovered that from a distance I was perceived as one who had her mind set in stone, closed minded and yet those that interacted with me knew that I was incredibly open minded. Knowing my intent was to be open minded and my natural curiosity I decided to investigate the inconsistencies. Was it my behavior that was inconsistent, their perception, or what?
I found that:
- When I knew clearly what I wanted and I was determined to get it no matter what. I was viewed as closed mind.
To that discovery I declare with passion, “ YOU bet I am closed minded. I am closed minded to failure, to giving up.”
This type of closed mindedness continues to serve me well today.
- When I hit a road-block or a limiting factor, I was intensely open, I wanted a solution and I wanted it fast. This was the time to rule in ALL ideas and the best possibility would be put to the test.
At the same time I had zero tolerance for excuses. My thinking was, ‘Lets just figure out a way. I know one exists, we just haven’t found one yet.’
This is a hybrid of being open minded for solutions and closed minded to “NO WAY – It’s IMPOSSIBLE”.
- When I am creating a new design or architecting a plan I am most open minded after I clarify the desired outcome in my mind and sketch a simple high-level plan.
As a leader I found the need to expand my openness by figuring out the best level of “DRAFT” needed to engage the team and to keep from being ‘married’ to MY DESIGN and MY WAY more than to the BEST WAY. I found most people expect leaders to have done some initial thinking, just not too much.
- When I was most open-minded was when I cast the vision to others, engaged them to expand that vision, as well as the creation of the plan. When I embraced my role as one to expand their thinking so they could be their best, I found ‘THE BEST’ consistently appeared. I learned as much from them as they did from me, I discovered their current thinking and then stretched it. They became architects of the future and I became a developer of future leaders of leaders.
What I learned by keeping my mind open in all areas was that opportunities usually appeared in a different form and from a different direction than I expected. This awareness kept my mind thirsty to be even more open.
MAINTAIN a SPIRIT of OPEN-MINDEDNESS
“Those who are afraid of new ideas are doomed before they start.” Napoleon Hill