If You Want To Easily Change How You Respond, You Need To Change What You Perceive
A company once sent two shoe salespeople to an area in Africa where they had never sold any shoes. One was a senior, experienced salesman, and they expected big things of him. The other was an optimistic rookie. She didn’t have much experience, but she had a lot of enthusiasm. She was sent to learn and they figured she might be able to sell some shoes while she was there.
Shortly after their arrival in Africa the experienced salesperson wrote the home office saying, “You might as well bring me back. Nobody here wears shoes.”
The rookie wired the home office an urgent message: “Send me all the shoes you’ve got. Nobody here is wearing shoes!”
What You Believe Is What You’ll Perceive
You may have heard the story above before – but it illustrates a key difference between anabolic and catabolic leaders. Two people, faced with the same situation, yet having totally different reactions. What’s the difference between them? It is their beliefs which then filters their perception – the experienced salesman is catabolic and the rookie is anabolic.
In the case of the experienced salesman, he had a belief that only people who wear shoes buy shoes. This belief limited what opportunities he is able to see in any given moment. The rookie believed that shoes are for anyone and everyone and so that is the filter through which she observed the situation in Africa.
Catabolic people hold many beliefs that limit them and their view – they perceive problems and challenges everywhere, and in everything. Anabolic people hold beliefs that empower them and open their eyes to perceive opportunities and possibility. And not only do they see opportunities, but they take action to capitalize on it.
Most of the time people focus on what’s wrong in their lives, their businesses, and the world. They complain, moan, and don’t take a lot of action – and why would they? They just know that there are more problems and challenges ahead. This is catabolic, destructive energy – and it surrounds us every day.
People with a lot of anabolic energy find opportunity in everything. They don’t see the bad and make it a good; they truly only see opportunity in all that happens. They look at a situation and ask “what’s working here?” “What’s right?” “What’s next?” They don’t see problems or challenges in the “normal” light, just exciting adventures and chances to make things work better.
So while a catabolic person might get upset and angry if one of his customers took his business to a competitor, an anabolic person would look at that situation as a chance not only to get the customer back, but to also change and improve the circumstances that led to the customer leaving in the first place.
As you go through your day, look at your responses to what’s happening around you. Remember that your perceptions create your energy level, and that creates your reality – the world you know. And most importantly, remember that you can learn to choose your response and begin to shift from a knee-jerk, catabolic response to thoughtful, anabolic one. Ask those solution-focused questions of “what’s right?” and “what’s next?” After all, it’s your world, and you can create it as you wish.
Leave a comment and tell me what you took from this.