It is amazing how quickly we can become accustomed to something. Sleeping in a different bed for a week over the holidays made my own bed feel different when I returned to it. A few days of driving a rental car became the norm instead of the vehicle that I have driven for 40,000 miles. The temperature in my brother’s home that initially felt warm, suddenly made my house feel chilly even though my thermostat did not change.

The mind is a mental chameleon. In the span of less than a week, and without any intentional effort on my part, my psyche adapted to the environment around it and accepted it all like the new reality.

If our minds are so malleable, how can you find a way to use this trait to your advantage. The first morning the alarm goes off an hour earlier will be painful, but after a few days of adjustment, you’ll be in a routine of having that extra time for reading or exercise. You may miss the first automatic withdrawal into your savings account, but soon your new net pay will seem to be the standard. You may feel hungry when you first reduce your portions and eat from a smaller plate but before long restaurant-sized portions will feel excessive.

You become used to what you are used to – for good or bad. Endure a brief period of sacrifice to make your surroundings work for you and soon you won’t even realize you gave anything up to achieve those benefits.

I'm the chief connector at leadership dots where I serve as "the string" for individuals and organizations. Like stringing pearls together to make a necklace, "being the string" is an intentional way of thinking and behaving – making linkages between things that otherwise appear random or unconnected – whether that be supervising a staff, completing a dissertation or advancing a project in the workplace. I share daily leadership dots on my blog to provide examples of “the string” in action. I use the string philosophy through coaching, consulting and teaching to help others build capacity in themselves and their organizations. I craft analogies and metaphors that help people comprehend complex topics and understand their role in the system. My favorite work involves helping those new to supervision or newly promoted supervisors build confidence and learn the skills necessary to effectively lead their team.

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