Excerpted from: OASIS Conversations: Leading with and Open Mindset to Maximize Potential
Make it your intention to adapt an open mindset where you are open to and appreciate “what is” and what’s unfolding as well as are optimistic about what is possible. This involves having an open-mind (curious), open-heart (compassionate), open-gut (courageous), and open-hands (welcoming and non-judgmental). Your goal is to be responsive and welcoming rather than reactive and dismissing. After reviewing your intentions before an important conversation, notice how you feel and how you are presenting yourself. Ask yourself, “Am I open or closed?” If you feel closed, you may have your arms crossed. Others typically interpret this position as being in a closed-minded state. Sometimes, I find that I am anxious or in judgment of the other person. If I am closed, others are also more likely to become closed. If I am intent on a goal, I remind myself to focus on understanding before pushing for a solution. I try to relax myself, and then I open my heart and arms to supporting openness in the relationship.
An open-minded conversation literally means you are “open” to what the other person has to say. You are focused on gaining a clearer understanding of what he or she is telling you—without evaluating or judging. You cannot begin an open-minded conversation when you are convinced you’re “right” and the other person is “wrong.” An open mindset allows you to “hear” the other person with an appreciation for his or her perspective.
While there may be times when I feel like I am struggling with others in the desert, I try to keep myself open-minded and curious. Focus on expecting to find an oasis of connection, shared understanding, and positive results.
The challenge in dealing with our differences is that at times we each believe we are “right” while the other is “wrong.” The human condition is to judge everything, whether or not we realize we are doing it. Since each of us filters everything we experience through our own unique background and perceptions of the world, judgment is inherent. Without an awareness of this human condition, we may often misinterpret what we experience. Still, we regard our assumptions as indisputable fact! Such assumptions can translate to misunderstandings, disputes, and lost opportunities. If we own a business or are in management, the result is often compromised morale, productivity, and profitability. Make it your intention to have an open mindset.