Madelyn Blair
Source: Madelyn Blair

We’re always thinking, but not always consciously. Have you ever driven home and not remembered the trip? I bet you’ve had this experience yourself.

Contrast that to a time when you are chatting with a group, talking about a topic of keen interest to everyone. Your thoughts are moving from one to another with great speed. As one person says something, you find yourself surprised by an unexpected linkage. Then as yet another speaks, you suddenly have a new insight. You ask the group to listen—well, you might even yell, “Wait! I have a great idea” Hopefully, the group welcomes the exclamation and asks to hear more.

This is a different kind of thinking. This is thinking that invites new possibilities to become evident. It is thinking that gains from diversity in a conversation—within the content and among the participants. This is a place where ideas grow, where new possibilities arise, where resilience blossoms.

We don’t always have a group to converse with, but we can have a partner who is willing to engage on a topic because they know you, you trust them as they have your best interests at heart, and they are curious by nature—always asking questions. Imagine having that kind of person who will help you think. I call that person a Practice Partner. Their greatest skill is asking probing questions, and because you trust each other, those questions never hurt even when they bite into your assumptions.

Imagine if you also had someone who sees the bigger picture and can open doors for you. Some would call this a mentor, but I like to call them Accompaniers. They are slightly different from a mentor. They are often your boss or team leader. Because of this relationship, they also see benefit to themselves by helping you.

Of course, it is always helpful to have someone who just is willing to think critically and appreciatively with you. Often they are on the same journey as you which is why I call them Fellow Seekers. Theirs and your pursuit of self knowledge and improvement gives impetus to the conversation.

Three different crew members, each with a slightly different focus that helps you think, really think, when you need to.

For more insights on building your crew, take a look at this week’s blog post at MadelynBlair.com. You can also work on increasing your resilient leadership in 2016 by joining the free Resilience Brilliance email group.

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