Imagination is not defined through title and position. Neither should our ability to think like a leader.
Holistically speaking, a leader would include you, me, and everyone else on the planet trying to wake up tomorrow in at least a slightly better position than today as it relates to our family, our career, or life in general . . . something that became increasingly more difficult when society came to a grinding halt in the Spring of 2020.
Suddenly presented with the fallout of a global pandemic, fate seemed to have whispered, "So, there you go," stepping aside to watch how we would respond to this galactic-sized crate of lemons. I was among a cast of millions left jobless, threatened by the realities of a completely raw and uncertain future.
While survival is a universal concern, leaders are expected to innovate, to be creative and intuitive . . . to use their imagination. Being truly invested in creating that better tomorrow meant building on positive thinking and resisting the urge to see myself as a victim.
Overcoming such powerful external forces would begin with feeling gratitude for what I already have, then discovering a way to share it with others. One benefit of the shutdown was the gift of time, an opportunity to step back and examine what I had been consciously thinking and feeling: Why wait for a job title or specific position to continue doing what I love to do?
Liberated from the confines of a singular corporate structure and protocol, we launched TSHAMRELL in September 2020, along with Tall Tim Talks, a weekly blog dedicated to mastering the simplicity of perspective. Offered with complete humility and a sense of vulnerability, posted content reflects more than colorful and engaging stories, or the promise of structured, practical takeaways.
It symbolizes a natural inherent desire to see the world from a healthy viewpoint, to be the voice that reminds you it’s not another case of lemons, but the opportunity to create gallons of refreshing and life-affirming lemonade.
It can be that simple.
A Collection of Impressions
Free will grants us the opportunity to choose. When it comes to choosing an outlook on life and influencing others, make the right choice: Think Positive.
Why? Because nothing good ever came from a negative thought.
We all possess the ability to view objects and occurrences in the world as they relate to each other. An optimistic perspective is one of curiosity and light, approaching life as a collection of impressions along a path of insight and awareness.
Relying on impulse and intuition, intangibles emerge from our imagination, evolving from a point of “What if?” and slowly working their way toward building tangible, practical solutions.
This spirit of optimism reflects a deep trust in yourself and the belief in a brighter tomorrow, while continuing to promote a similar trust among others.
Thinking In Small Bites
As the catalyst for influencing behavior and experience, a Lemonade Leader bears responsibility for processing imagination, harnessing undefined potential in pursuit of dreams and ambition. While visualizing the Big Picture seems easy, making it work is when the lemons can seem their most sour.
What becomes critical is identifying opportunities to track and measure progress. Without that, hope and positivity can fall prey to pessimism and despair, exposing your climate to unhealthy negativity.
Thinking in small bites or manageable steps allows you to celebrate the process of accomplishment. Recognizing daily victories bridges the gap between origination and destination, building a culture capable of sustaining perpetually positive thinking.
Enhancing your efforts by driving positivity into the subconscious of your team will help sweeten your outlook. Consider incorporating some of these elements into your personal or workday routine:
Gratitude: Make a list of everything you are grateful for. Carry it with you as a reminder when negative thoughts and feelings surface. Once you're comfortable with your list, share it with the rest of your team. Be completely transparent and encourage everyone to join in.
Kindness: Kindness is contagious, in a good way. Think of one thing you can do, each day, to brighten the outlook of someone around you. Could be as simple as saying “Good morning”, holding or opening the door for someone, or sharing a compliment that you might have otherwise kept to yourself.
Patience: Be patient with the process. Every path is unique, and some days will seem sourer than others. Patience will help you navigate through the highs and lows, keep you moving in a positive (forward) direction.
A Lemonade Mindset
With so many factors at play, maintaining a climate of positivity begins with adopting a Lemonade Mindset. You can’t control what life may throw at you, but you can choose how you will respond.
Invest in positive thinking, resist the urge to adopt a victim mentality. Although people are depending on you for guidance and direction, make certain that you are in a positive place before extending assistance to others.
Approach the enormity of imagination in small bites, systematically turning what may seem impossible, into something very delicious, and very possible.