We can’t control the COVID-19 pandemic or its impact on our personal and professional lives.
Sure, we can take individual actions to reduce the chance of contracting the virus, to slow its spread and to treat those who have it.
But, overall, COVID-19 is a force beyond our control.
However, there is something we can control: our mindsets.
A mindset is an attitude, an inclination, a way of thinking about the current situation. You can choose a mindset – or more than one – as you see fit.
Here are some mindsets for your consideration in response to COVID-19.
1. Abundance mindset or scarcity mindset?
With an abundance mindset, we realize there are enough resources for everyone. We understand that we have options and choices. We feel empowered enough to adapt, pivot and rebound if necessary. We keep our focus on others and the common good.
A scarcity mindset is the opposite. With a scarcity mindset, we can become afraid and paralyzed with inaction. We feel like victims. We lose the resiliency we need to overcome adversity. And we focus only on ourselves.
You know what a scarcity mindset leads to?
Hoarding toilet paper.
2. Asset-based mindset or liability-based mindset?
An asset-based mindset focuses on what we have going for us, not what we have going against us. The focus is on our strengths, not our weaknesses. Things in the plus-column, not the minus-column.
There are many assets that we can rely upon in response to COVID-19’s disruption. Our knowledge, skills and experience are assets. Our networks, relationships, friends and family are assets. Increasingly, even our governments are assets.
Yes, we all have assets. Plenty of them.
Moreover, as servant-leaders, we are assets – to our followers and those we serve. That’s easy to remember with an asset-based mindset.
3. Fragile mindset or “antifragile” mindset?
Fragile things are damaged, harmed or even broken by stress. When we have a fragile mindset, we avoid stress. When stress occurs, our response is often to shrink, retreat of hunker down.
But some things are “antifragile” – a term coined by author Nassim Nicholas Taleb.*
Just as muscles get stronger when subjected to tension, some things in life benefit from stress, disorder, volatility and turmoil. Antifragile things not only gain from stress, says Taleb, but they need it in order to survive and flourish.
Indeed, some of the world’s greatest leaders emerged and blossomed under adversity.
An antifragile mindset is not easy to adopt. But, imagine if we could approach the COVID-19 crisis with a mindset of expansion, advancement and development. That would be a powerful way to lead in a time like this!
COVID-19 shall pass.
Until it does, we are free to choose our own leadership mindsets – among the ones mentioned above and many others.
Best wishes with your choice.
Keep safe and be well.
* Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder (2012), by Nassim Nicholas Taleb.
Speaking of mindsets and reading, you’ll find Carol Dweck’s great book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success (2006), on the list in this blog: “Top 10 Books of the Century (So Far) for Servant-Leaders.”
(Want something a little lighter to pass the time sheltering in place? Remember, there’s always “Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem and Madness” on Netflix.)