Last week I was sitting in the audience of a panel discussion where the two panel guests were talking about their industries and the social and economic challenges they were facing. They were both passionate about their subject matter; however, I found myself shifting in my chair waiting for the right moment to head up to the microphone to make a comment.
I found it difficult to stay seated as I witnessed several people getting up from their chairs and leaving. I too wanted to leave. Why? The message left with the audience was draining. The focus was one of challenges. It seemed that every second statement was about the challenges they were facing.
I wanted to jump and ask for permission to coach them. However, they may not have appreciated a coaching session in front of the audience. Instead, I sat back and wondered in self reflection. What was it about their message that was irritating me? What did I want to hear from them? What was my expectation? Maybe what they were saying had some truth.
I wanted to hear them to say that even though challenges existed that they saw them as an opportunity to dig deeper and get more creative and innovative with funding and sharing their message. I wanted to hear that they saw these economic and social challenges as a temporary setback and they were setting up for their greatest comeback. I wanted to hear that there was hope. I felt that the audience also wanted to hear -there was hope.
Hope. They wanted to see how what was said related to them and how they could see through the challenges they faced. The audience longed to hear tips and strategies of how these individuals have lead others through these challenges and came out ahead.
I left the room disappointed but on a mission to find a way to pass this message on. I sought out the most appropriate person and shared my concerns. He listened very carefully and stated he felt that he played a part in how the panel’s questioning was framed. He learned from my feedback and stated he would pass it on.
It really made me think about the power of the words we chose to communicate with. We need to think about how we want others to feel after we have shared an important message. What do we want them to walk away with? Do we want a call to action? Do we want to gather ideas and support?
Words are very powerful. When I was listening to them speak and focus on their challenges, I kept thinking about how many more challenges that were coming their way. What you focus on grows! Instead of focusing on challenges, focus on solutions and breakthrough ideas. Brainstorm ideas or ask your employees and colleagues what they would do.
I was taught to view life as a learning lab. If this is the case, I choose to help individuals and organizations to focus on solutions, opportunities, and possibilities. When you focus on your strengths and what is working, the greater the momentum you will carry through to your vision.
We are in the greatest time to dream, discover, and design what we would like the world to be. A place of possibilities and a place of hope.
In what ways can you look at your challenges and turn them into opportunities for growth?