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  • Writer's pictureShandy Welch

How to Create Mental Flexibility

Adam Grant was recently interviewed by Lewis Howes about how to Positively Influence Others, Increase Your Mental Flexibility & Diversify Your Identity. This episode was packed with some great insights and there are a few I want to share and get your thoughts on.

  1. “Preach what you Practice” typically we see this phrase the other way around but it brings up a great point around self-leadership. I would argue that a great team with cohesion, integrity, and inspired drive is successful because of their leader that demonstrates those qualities every day. I have worked with disastrous teams that are simply following the example that has been set for them. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree!

If you think your actions and words don’t matter, you are wrong. Great leadership is a full-time job and has nothing to do with the degrees on your wall or the title at your door. Leadership begins with how you show up each day. How you greet the custodian, how you thank the checkout clerk, and how you show appreciation for the person pumping your gas. Leadership is a quality that embodies you. It is not a noun. Leadership is not a destination, leadership is an action, a state of being, a daily practice that defines who you are at the core. If you don't practice it, don’t preach it.

  1. Avoid cognitive dissonance, “Don’t identify by your opinions, but rather identify by your values.” Polarization around ideas has been rampant in the past few years, whether political or social. We do a great job of “taking sides”, which only leads to further distance and tension. There is a natural tendency to dig in to defend or argue a side for the sake of being right. We surround ourselves with others who support our thought and simultaneously create stagnation in thinking. If your priority is being “right”, then you are not a true leader.

If you are deeply rooted in your values and it is that which guides your thought, then “opinions” may become fluid. You are able to allow yourself to be open for exploration and curiosity around ideas and perspectives. The understanding and exploration of ideas are what fuels discussion, not a destination of moral ethics. Grant suggests “treating your ideas as provisional. Ideas should not be part of our identity”, rather transitional concepts that are not confined to rigid boundaries. The aim is to be more focused on learning and discovery than being “right”. Lots to think about, I hope this challenged you and pushed your boundaries just a bit. Things to Consider:

  • Is there something that you preach but don’t consistently practice? Are you willing to take one step closer to alignment?

  • Have you ever dug your heals in so deeply that you have lost sight of the issue? How did this affect your relationships and feelings about yourself?

  • When you are next confronted with an opposing opinion, challenge yourself to resist the urge to convince but rather ask another question to gain perspective and unattached insight. Can you be open to learning instead of declaring victory?

For more Weekly Wisdom's or to have a follow-up conversation go to:, I would love to hear from you

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