WHY BOTHER CHANGING THE WAY WE THINK?
Usually, when we run into a challenge, we focus most of our effort on changing what we do...and we make little or no effort to change the way we think. Yet the power of thinking far outstrips the effects of doing. It is only when we change the way we think that we will change what we do.
If you fix only the way you do something, but you are still thinking things through in a way that does not support your best self or the best potential of other people, you will never secure and sustain meaningful improvements in what you do, your relationships will suffer, and you will descend into a negative spiral whenever you encounter a challenge. On the other hand, if you fix the way you think and you connect with the fountain of personal wisdom that I call your Source, you will automatically upgrade the way you do things—and improve all your relationships. Your Source—which is the set of unique lessons, examples, and reference points that clarify your beliefs and instantly direct you toward your best self—will enable you to turn even the gravest challenges into opportunities.
Now, I realize that the points I have been sharing with you may seem vague and even a little unworkable at first. So let me make them specific and practical by connecting them to the powerful example we looked at in Chapter 1. What made it possible for Oprah Winfrey to transform the experience of losing her dream job into a new opportunity—a new door she could walk through that would summon the very best from her?
She had to do a deep dive into what she really believed about the challenge she faced. That deep dive enabled her to Pivot.
Make no mistake: There is an art to transforming what you believe. I can assure you that Oprah got an early opportunity to practice and master that art when her boss sat her down and told her that she would no longer be sitting at that anchor desk in Baltimore. I guarantee you that Oprah found a way to re-evaluate her belief structure about what that experience meant. I am positive that she found a way to connect to what she really believed about the challenge she found herself faced with and about the appropriate response to that challenge.
Initially, she believed that she had been humiliated and embarrassed. She did not linger very long in that belief. She went back to her Source. She exercised conscious control over her belief system, which is the amazing thing our Source always empowers us to do as human beings...and she redefined what she believed the experience of losing her dream job meant.
She no longer believed that losing that assignment meant that she had been publicly humiliated and embarrassed. She now believed that the "demotion" she had received meant she had a chance to give something of herself, to contribute, to take a new and unexpected situation and give it her very best effort, even though it was not what she thought she wanted. When she walked through that door and resolved to do her new job at the highest possible level of quality, that was when Oprah Pivoted. Pivoting transformed her worst career setback into her greatest opportunity to contribute.
Let me emphasize a critical point. The reason the new position was a success was that Oprah gave it her very best. The reason Oprah gave this new situation her very best was that she believed (and still does) that you always give your very best effort in everything you do. Her actions followed her belief. Action always follows belief!
Imagine what would have happened if she had not changed her belief system about the challenge she faced! Imagine what the outcome would have been if she had been bitter and resentful and had simply gone through the motions in her new assignment. She would not have been open to the incredible opportunity that had just come her way. She would not have done a good job. And she would have wasted precious time, attention, and energy trying to become a better local news anchor! What a loss that would have been for everyone!
This is not another book about doing. There are plenty of those already out there. This is a book about changing what you think. It is about discovering what you really believe and connecting your actions to those core beliefs. It is about how you think now and how you could be thinking. This is a book about becoming the best you can possibly be for yourself, for your family, for your organization, for your community, and for the larger world...by learning to do a deep dive into what you believe about yourself, other people, and the life with which you have been blessed. This book shows you how to take full control of what you think, once and for all...by tapping into your Source.
Your Source always draws you toward the best person you are capable of being. You might be skeptical that you can locate or take advantage of your Source, or perhaps you are even skeptical that you have such a thing. But you do. And locating it so that you can unlock its extraordinary positive impact on yourself and others is easier than you might imagine.
What you learn in the pages that follow will allow you to be the best, most accountable you possible. That means becoming the best person possible, becoming the best leader possible, building the best organization possible, and building the best world possible—by building accountable relationships. In your ability to Pivot lies the key to your best future, both personally and organizationally. In your ability to Pivot lies the key to accountability and excellence.
"Excellence is never an accident. It is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, and intelligent execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives—choice, not chance, determines your destiny."—Aristotle