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Make Assets Your Adrenaline

Woody AllenWoody Allen via last.fm

Woody Allen, the quintessential pessimist, said, "More than any time in history mankind faces a crossroads. One path leads to despair and utter hopelessness, the other to total extinction. Let us pray that we have the wisdom to choose correctly." When we hear that, we laugh. It's kind 'a funny to look at the world briefly through the eyes of someone who has such a distorted view of reality.

But as leaders, we're limiting ourselves and our colleagues if we walk around with a warped sense of what's possible...even if it's not as warped as Woody's!

Think about it. Do you focus:

  • More on what's right than what's wrong?
  • More on strengths than weaknesses?
  • More on opportunities than problems?
  • More on what can be done instead of what can't?

If you honestly answered no to most of those questions, you need a slight shift in how you see things, in how you think. Shift to "ABT."

There's this way of thinking called "Asset-Based Thinking." Do it and it equips you with a special way of viewing everyday life that yields greater returns on what you're investing in attention and effort. It changes the way you respond in the privacy of your own thoughts -- in every conversation, interaction and circumstance. Sounds pretty powerful, huh? It's a concrete, cognitive process aimed at identifying the strengths, talents, synergies and possibilities that are immediately available in yourself, other people and any situation.

Children follow Asset-Based Thinking instinctively. We can re-capture what came naturally to us if we choose to. Here's what kids do:

  1. They set their sights on what they need/want.
  2. They move past fear.
  3. They start from exactly where they are with gusto and self-abandon.
  4. They practice as if no one is judging.
  5. They build on what they already know how to do -- add, shape, edit, expand.
  6. When they experience victory, they celebrate!
  7. Then they set their sights on what they want next.
Check it out! It's amazing what difference a slight shift in focus from deficit-based thinking to asset-based thinking can make. Focusing on what's working -- our assets -- changes the way we see everything, which changes the way we live, which changes the influence we have on those around us. Rather than letting stress drain our energy, we can let our assets provide the rush to "leap out of bed with our vision turned on."
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Hey Shirley. Enjoyed reading your post and your blog. Great advice and thanks very much for your words of wisdom about asset-based thinking. It's great to have you as part of the positive ABT conspiracy. Look forward to following you on twitter.

Hank Wasiak

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