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If you want better things or results, you need a better environment.

I’ve had a real breakthrough with this principle lately. Those of you who’ve read my book Unlikely Leaders will recognise that creating a supportive or enabling environment is crucial for making sustainable change (and is step 6 of the 9 steps). It’s often one we overlook because it can be invisible. It’s easy to overlook the context or environment we need to thrive.

So on to my story. Like many of you, with Covid I’ve been putting up with a compromised WFH situation, partly because at some level I didn’t feel I could change it (yes, even I can succumb to a resigned mindset!)

The trigger for the breakthrough happened when I was in a mentoring group that I belong to, and the mentor was in flow sharing great information. It was online, and I caught myself enviously admiring his set up. He had a great light filled room, just for his workshops. He had fantastic internet. He was completely equipped with what he needed to deliver optimal value.

I caught myself wistfully comparing his arrangement to mine – at the time I had terrible internet, and with the kids back home working, the download speeds were atrocious, and space was at a premium. My Leaders mindset was immediately hijacked by a Victim mindset. My train of thought was “Oh that’s so great he can have that. I wish I could have that. I can’t have that, he’s so lucky…’ and on to the reasons and justifications. (So lame, but yes, so human!)

Luckily, I caught this, and got curious about it. I used my formula for shifting into a Leaders mindset: Identify the limiting mindset –> question it and the assumptions you are making –> choose a more empowering mindset.

I asked myself – ‘what do I need to do to level up my environment so it is as optimal and fantastic as possible?’ I questioned the mindset – ‘Is it true that I can’t have a wonderful training set up?’ I got practical: How can I upgrade my wifi? Where can I work that is large enough for training and has good internet? How can I arrange the home space so it is optimal for me?’

You can see that all of these questions were environmental.

I identified everything about my current work environment that was causing me friction, and then identified what I wanted. Within days I had nearly all of it! I had moved from unconsciously putting up with stuff, to consciously choosing what I need.

Examining my existing work environment also caused me at a deeper level to rise up in my practice and work. It had me own the value I bring to my clients and that I deserve and need workability to fulfil my potential. It represented me as the woman of global impact and influence that I am.

I know we can all cobble stuff together to make things work when we need to, and sure, do that if you have no other alternative. But if you are struggling in an area of your life, pay attention to the environment you are in. Not just at work, but also your social, intellectual, spiritual and home environments. What are you complaining about or feel constrained by? What are you settling for? What is keeping you in the old, comfortable you, and inhibiting the future you you now want to be?

When environments aren’t working for us, they create a drag. It’s like trying to sail with the anchor still down. Sometimes it isn’t a matter of willpower, or motivation, or resilience to be able to level up your impact. It takes looking at your environment and questioning what’s not working for you and what needs to change. Examine your mindset as to what might be holding the unworkability in place. Then take the appropriate actions to remedy the situation.

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