How to Create Opportunities for Tomorrow, Starting Today

Today’s post is written by my friend and fellow leader, Rachael Bodie. Thanks for the great advice, Rachael!

Leaders are often faced with roles that require us to work in less-than-dream positions or with frustrating team members.  This is a challenge worth discussing since it is part of the leadership journey.  No matter what level we reach, these challenges, particularly the people challenges, will continue to surface.  So, what do we do? How do we get through these times without pulling our hair out or just quitting and finding a new opportunity?

Not to oversimplify it, but I believe we essentially have two choices about what to do: We can focus on what we can control or on what we can’t.

Learned Helplessness

When I choose the latter, I notice my blood pressure rising. I have feelings ranging from stress to total frustration. If left unchecked, I can allow the stress and frustration to impact me personally and affect my life even outside of work.  Work-related stress can permeate every area our lives.  If we aren’t careful, we can live in the stress so long that those feelings of frustration and of being “stuck” become permanent, and we just give up.  Think about the sitcom, “The Office.” It’s funny, but only if you don’t have to work for a Michael Scott, or worse, a Dwight Schrute. Who wants to spend their life working for someone they don’t respect, with people who are gunning for their job, and doing something they aren’t passionate about?

Choosing To Take Control…. Of What You Can Control

On the other hand, when I focus on what I can control, I feel empowered,  like I’m working toward a solution.  I begin to grow and others take note.  By moving in this direction, we create new opportunities. Make it a habit to focus on these things. This concept is reinforced by Ralph Waldo Emerson’s observation, “The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.”

So, practically, how do we do this? Here are a few things I do to continually grow:

  • Look for learning opportunities in daily life
  • Attend skills-based trainings and leadership workshops
  • Read biographies of great leaders and business person I admire
  • Listen to an inspiring audio message or lesson during my daily commute
  • Seek out a mentor
  • Surround myself with the most positive leaders you can
  • Limit exposure to those who are negative and draining
  • Form and rely on my inner circle

Take each day as it comes and view it as an opportunity to work toward a better tomorrow.  Take action on the things that are in your control and decide who you want to be…. starting now.

Rachael Bodie is a thirty-something working in the consulting world. She loves to learn almost as much as she loves partnering with leaders to create growth in their organizations.  Rachael believes this starts with influencing the influencers, and teaching them the “how-to’s” of living out leadership.  She is married to her best friend, and they have a sweet little girl.  She enjoys yoga, science fiction movies, Mexican food, and running outdoors, not necessarily in that order.

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  • Linda Sasser says:

    Thanks Christy and Jason for your comments! This is such a great message to live out.

  • Jason Grant says:

    Fantastic word picture above Christy–sandpaper people. You nailed it Rachael. Control what you can control. Whatever is pure, noble, excellent or praiseworthy, think on these things. Replace negative thoughts with great thoughts…and “regularly…”

  • christy moosa says:

    They are called sandpaper people. God loves us to much to leave like we are. The impurities in our heart arise to surface so we can begin to work on us. There is a bigger picture than the immediate discomfort, but we must embrace the painful process of God allowing circumstances to cause to become more like Christ. Not I but is the motto. Although death to ourselves is a painful process, the outcome will be worth the pain.