As we wind down 2016 and march into 2017, many of us spend this time in reflection. We mark wins and losses from the previous year, and set goals and objectives for the upcoming year. We subconsciously outline our value system, and reflect through thoughts, words and actions what we truly value, and devalue. You may face some disappointment in your accomplishments from 2016 or see 2017 with the leaven of futility.
It would benefit us to see life through the mindset of the classical sculpture, for they see things not as they are, but for what they can be. Sculptors look at a lump of clay, and see a beautiful vase, a blank canvas and oil colors and see a painted landscape, a chunk of marble that can be a beautiful statue. They have the ability to extract and cultivate the uncommon, hidden within the common.
And this is our problem, for we are not like the sculptor. In a world of such abundance in which we exist, we see all of it as common. Nothing carries uncommon value, because we no longer see it's uniqueness. We treat people or objects based on how we value them. If we think an item is trash, then we treat it like trash. If we view a person as common, we treat them with little regard. We remove the salt that brings flavor and the light that illuminates the beauty around us. We see only the lump of clay and cannot visualize the beautiful vessel that is in the process of being created.
If you are leading an organization, or even simply a home, we need to lead with an eye toward valuing that which is regarded as common.
The challenging relationships, the dysfunctional processes and behaviors, or limited resources and opportunity should not define our world view. Begin to see that challenging relationship through a lens of health, and you will begin to treat it as healthy. Begin to celebrate positive behaviors in people rather than simply correcting negative behaviors, and they will respond positively, ultimately changing those negative behaviors or beginning to conform to processes they once did not.
Resources are not necessarily scarce in America, but they may not come in the prepackaged McResource form that we would prefer. There are rarely off the self resources to address difficult challenges. Often times resources are found through adaptation and improvisation of that which is readily available but not initially helpful. It is our responsibility to find it's usefulness as a resource, not it's job as an inanimate object to define it's role in our lives.
The problems we face are not with the "way things are", it's in our response and attitude towards the challenges we face. The most important thing you can change, as you enter 2017 is to sculpt a new mindset. One that values common, loves the unlovely, leads with appreciation and thankfulness, and lives a life of sculpting.