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About five years ago, I was presenting a strategy to my leadership team. The leaders in the room didn’t think the solution and the plan would provide results fast enough and they told me so. They responded to me saying, “You need to think differently”. They were trying to motivate creative thinking and generate business results.

But as soon as they said it I got defensive. I had put a lot of thought and effort into that plan. It was a good and workable plan. I was there looking for buy in, agreement and praise, but instead what I heard as “It’s not good enough… go do more work to give me what I want””. My defensiveness ended the conversation for me and closed me off to progress.

I went back to my desk stewing.

I hated it.

I blamed them.

That’s what “think differently” brings up in my mind. When someone tells me to “Think differently” my first instinct is to make it mean they are saying, “You are wrong. Think like me.”

But, I was wrong.

At that time, I hired a coach because I didn’t like how things were going and I wanted to get more control and ownership for myself. I wanted to learn how to be better, more productive, more worthy, get recognized. I’ve had several coaches since then and they’ve taught me that in order achieve my goals I first have to become aware of how I am thinking. Once I am aware, then I get to decide if I like how I am thinking. Are my thoughts useful? Are they helping me achieve my goals, or are they hurting me? If my thoughts are making it harder to achieve my goals, then do I want to practice new, more useful thoughts? Do I want to (gasp!!) “think differently”?

I had a lot of trouble with this concept. Why?

Because of the THOUGHTS that I had when someone told me to “Think differently”


I had work to do.

“Thinking differently” is something that can take our lives to the next level. To stretch ourselves beyond what we thought we could ever do. To find the useful thoughts that truly serve us and let go of the un-useful thoughts.

Coaching taught me HOW. I explored my true goals and desires. I learned to manage my own mind in a way that allows me to hear a leader saying words to me like “think differently” and not make it mean “They think I’m wrong. I am no good.”

We don’t have to make words mean we are failing. We don’ t need to make it mean we need to abandon the plan.

This completely opens us up to be able to hear feedback and get curious enough to understand it. We can acknowledge that our plan is good AND they are right. There is room for improvement in the plan. There is ALWAYS room to improve.

Think differently and feel so much more confident in yourself and your team

Think differently and don’t let anyone else’s opinion of you or your work mean anything about your worth.

Think differently and don’t allow overwhelm, fear or people pleasing to influence your decisions.

Hide and watch the results you will get! If you want help with this, there is no shame in that. Please reach out to me and I will coach you.

Inspired Leader LLC – I offer life and career coaching.
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