Half Full or Half Empty?
We all know the expression about the proverbial glass being “half full” or “half empty.”
This phrase is usually indicated to show someone’s optimism or pessimism, and it seems to be widely accepted that people should, of course, always choose to see the glass as half full.
I recently had the realization that when it comes to business, we might actually need BOTH perspectives, and so I respectfully disagree that “half full” is the only right answer!
I think it’s really all about having a productive mindset; training yourself to notice WHEN you need “half full” versus “half empty.”
But let me back up first and explain how I came to this conclusion.
Not long ago, I drove to Chicago for a conference. It took six and a half hours when it should have taken four—the traffic was that bad. When I got to Chicago, it turned out I had my dates wrong and the conference was actually a DIFFERENT day. (Total palm-to-face moment.)
I could have avoided the traffic. I could have driven to Chicago at a better time. I could have been home for my son Sam’s birthday.
Although my first impulse was to feel frustrated by the situation, my “glass half full” perspective kicked in pretty quickly. During the extra-long drive, I was able to conduct six hours of bonus More Than Just Great Dancing® coaching calls and personally connect with members. When I got to Chicago, I was able to see my daughter Isabella for dinner. Sam was able to do “man stuff” (whatever that entails!) with his dad to celebrate his birthday. And ultimately, because my conference was a day later than I thought, I ended up with a whole EXTRA day of focus to myself.
By changing my mental lens, I was able to see the blessings behind this situation that at first only looked like friction.
Now, even though the view of “glass half full” worked for me here, another situation popped up soon after that had me thinking about how the “glass half empty” mindset is ALSO productive when used at the right time.
This happened when my team at the studio met an important goal. We were celebrating the achievement when one of my employees said, “OK, now we need to update our scorecard to reflect the NEXT goal.”
She was right, of course, and after our celebration, we had to face the tempered reality that we still had more work to do—and actually a LOT of work to do! We needed to see the “glass half empty” again so we could problem-solve our way past the next goal.
I believe you need to train yourself to see BOTH sides—both perspectives of the glass—and immediately look for the silver lining OR the work that needs to be done. With practice, you’ll be able to discern quickly WHICH is the most productive mindset: half full or half empty?
The savvy entrepreneur, I think, knows which way to choose to keep making progress. The savvy entrepreneur sees past the simple explanation of optimism or pessimism. It’s more about knowing how to engage each perspective at the right time to keep your mindset working FOR you, not against you!
So now I ask you this: Which way do YOU tend to lean: glass half full or half empty? Where do you think you need to shift so you can have a more productive mindset? How will you discern the VALUE of each perspective at any given time?
As you jump into the new school year, I encourage you to give these questions some thought. Start the year on the right foot. Or the left. Choose the perspective—at any given time—that works best for you and keeps you moving forward. 🙂