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Transformative Leadership: Three Game-Changing Words

Updated: Oct 19, 2023

What are you thinking right now?

Really? What are you thinking?

Are your thoughts positive? Or are they negative?

No, I won't tell you to turn that frown upside down!

You probably don't need any more toxic positivity in your life!

Honestly, I want to share with you how three words can change how you think about something uncomfortable for you.

In my work as a grief coach to leaders, HR and teams, the common phrases I hear them use often are:

"I'm worried …"

"I'm afraid I will…."

"I don't know how…."

Now I used to read a lot of Wayne Dyer, and one of his famous quotes, "If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at will change." It is credited to Max Planck, the originator of quantum theory, which makes total sense!

His theory is quite accurate when dealing with hard things at work, death, or team crisis.

You can use three words right now to help you change how you look at any leadership challenge. But before I share the three words with you, I want to warn you.

These are not going to change your life. They will not solve whatever challenge you are facing as a leader. They will not put a sugary coating on your current leadership challenges.

They may not help you sleep better.

They are not the silver lining thing, either. Or about positive affirmations. (I did write about five of my favorites to use when you're leading a grieving team.)

I hate when people say that!

What I do for work is NOT a silver lining to my husband's death!

In one section of my brain is my husband's death. A crappy, painful situation that can still bring me to tears 14 years later. In another section of my brain are the beautiful things that have happened because of my husband's death, this business, the courage I have found, and the incredibly deep gratitude I have for my life and those I get to be with. But the good isn't inside the bad, like a silver lining! One does not cancel out the other! The bad and the good coexist together.

Anyway, now that I have told you what the three words won't do for you, let's talk about what they can do for you. They will make whatever challenge you are facing feel more manageable.

They will help you think differently about your current challenge, which is good because challenges require different thinking.

But get some sticky notes first. I think you'll want to write them down and hang them all over your place. Learning something is about reminders and practicing over and over and over again.

Sticky notes are helpful in that way!

So here are the three words…

I get to

As I said, these words won't solve your problem or be covered by toxic positivity. But here is what they will do they will:

  • Slightly change the way you think about your worry, fear, or inability to accomplish something.

  • Help you approach your situation with a different mindset.

So instead of "I'm afraid I say the wrong thing."

You say, "I get to learn what to say."

Instead of "I don't know how to help my team."

You say, "I get to learn how to help my team."

Instead of "I'm worried I'm going to make a mistake.

You say, "I get to learn from my mistakes."

That shift implies that what you're going through is a privilege.🤯

You may be thinking, "Kim, how on earth is the death of an employee a privilege?"

It's not.

But the privilege you have is the ability to learn, deepen your leadership capabilities, and make your team's life a little bit better.

That is a privilege.

Notice how the three words don't provide the answers and don't turn the problem into toxic positivity. It just simply changes the way that you feel about it.

And that simple shift changes the way you look at it.

Write those three words down on stickies. Stick them on your bathroom mirror, the milk carton in your fridge, on the dashboard of your car, or on your computer. See where these three words can change how you feel about anything, like even going to work out! You don't have to work out; you GET to work out.

You get to inspire your team. You get to help them grow their resiliency muscles. You get to deepen your leadership skills.

You get to change the way you look at things.

That's pretty cool if you ask me.

You have so much more power than you think.

What you do matters because, you guessed it, you matter.

Here are a few other ways you can use; I get to…

Instead of "I'm afraid of the ramifications of making this decision."

Think, "I get to make a decision that I feel is right for us right now."

Instead of "I am afraid to talk to that grieving employee.

Think, "I get to learn how to comfort this employee."

Instead of "I don't know how to communicate empathy and still talk about being productive."

Think, "I get to learn how to balance empathy and productivity."

Leave an example of using these three words below.

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