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Old dog, new tricks

I experienced an odd feeling of satisfaction as I completed a jigsaw puzzle without starting with the edges.

That feat in itself was, of course, not noteworthy. The broader achievement is, however, worthy of celebration.

I have been working jigsaw puzzles since I was very young. Like many people, my routine has traditionally been to separate out the edge pieces, construct the border, and go from there.

Recently, my daughter and son-in-law gave me a new puzzle, and we sat down to work on it together. My son-in-law, an experienced puzzle worker himself, begins not with edge pieces but rather with colors and patterns that go together. On this particular occasion, I resisted the urge to focus on the border and instead joined in with his approach. I’m not gonna lie – it stressed me out a bit at first! But I went with the idea that I can learn a new way, and it turned out great. I even settled in and enjoyed what for me was a novel approach.

So, today, rather than reverting to my old tried and true methods, I started with patterns and colors again. At this point, I need to add a confession. Today’s puzzle was one from Liberty Puzzles. Theirs do not lend themselves well to the “put the edge together first” approach. But that hasn’t stopped me in the past from utilizing that approach anyway!

So today’s triumph was that I paused before jumping into action.

I intentionally chose my approach rather than diving in on autopilot with a very familiar but less effective set of behaviors. I smiled and thought to myself, “Yes, you can teach an old dog new tricks!” Put another way, using a newer, popular term, “I can operate from a growth mindset.”

This has me reflecting a bit. Am I using a growth mindset for my professional and personal responsibilities? Am I seeking out new knowledge and skills and applying them well?

In Milestone Leadership terms, leaders worth following do operate from a growth mindset. They never stop looking for better and more creative approaches and tools.

If you are looking for your next big growth opportunity as a professional leader, our Milestone Leadership Intensive is just the thing.

We will challenge you to reflect on your patterns of thought and behavior, questioning why you do what you do and think the way you think. You’ll hear from us as your program facilitators, and you’ll learn from each other in group challenges, discussions, and small cohort breakout times. I guarantee you will leave with some great new ideas.

Written by: Sandy Tush, Partner – Milestone Leadership

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