Look… We’re All Human, Right?

How to have a positive mindset. Stay tuned.

Dear Dr. Sylvia,

Look, we’re all human. Right?

As a result, we all have good and bad personality traits. Right?

Firstly, I want to know how to have a positive mindset.

On the other hand, I want to know how do you change your mindset from negative to positive?

Above all, we all change and grow as we become more seasoned leaders. Right?

Moreover, in this uncertain and complex world, we all need to give each other some slack. We also should help each other become the best we can be. Right?

Okay, so here is my dilemma.

My colleague, let’s call him Tom, is a real jerk.

How to change a negative mindset.

That is to say, he is always, and I mean always, arguing that his way is the best way. He talks about all the work he has done with his “expensive and talented executive coach.”

Yet, he uses the most popular vernacular of today about mindsets. However, he has not, and I mean never, changed his mindset. In fact, in the three years, I have been working on the same team as him, he stays the same.

In addition, he thinks he is a great, compassionate, and inclusive leader.

He also thinks he can teach all of us how to have a positive mindset.

Then, how come all the executives on his team think he is, as I mentioned earlier, a jerk. A jerk who is always talking about how evolved he is. It’s bull!

Do you have a negative mindset, or is it a mind-trap?

Is his a mind-set or mind-trap? 

For instance, no one can argue with him. He tells everyone they need to work on their negative mindsets. He brags that is just like he has done with his “expensive and talented executive coach.”

Look, I know there are tons of books on child and adolescent development. What about adult development?

Most importantly, are we merely the product of how we were raised? Are we doomed to repeat the behaviors of the past, even if we have expensive coaches?

I am not just asking about Tom. I am also asking for myself.

Subsequently, if we are all destined to grow in our early years of adulthood and then start to whither away, not just physically, also emotionally and mentally, I will just accept what is and work around his/my ego limitations.

However, if there is another way, I’m all ears.


Need an expensive coach

How to change from negative to a positive mindset.

Dear Need,

Interestingly, I receive tons of emails asking what I think about the study of mindset. More to the point, the questions ask if this is the core of leadership development work. 

Yes, learning about positive and negative mind-sets is crucial for executive development.

HOWEVER, the mindset issue is that people copy and parrot these words throughout the coaching arena. Further, many say it is the foundation of becoming a real leader. Change your mindset like you change your underwear, and all will be good.

Big question is, “What does it take to make deep and lasting change?”

There are a few excellent books I can suggest. Maybe give one to your colleague Tom as a holiday gift. And gift yourself with one.

Books to help you grow as a leader.

  1. Go Suck a Lemon: Strategies for Improving Your Emotional Intelligence by Michael Cornwall: About the ability to perceive, control, and evaluate emotions. 
  2. What It Takes by Stephen A. Schwarzman: Guides values for now and the next generation at work. 
  3. Working with Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman: The secret of success is not what they taught you in school. 
  4. Unlocking Leadership Mind-traps: How to Thrive in Complexity by Jennifer Garvey Berger 
  5. Don’t Bring It To Work by Sylvia Lafair: About how family, culture, and crisis show up at work when stress is high. 

I have a list of maybe 20 books that are really good. Yet, I didn’t want to overwhelm you. 

In the same vein, as you can see, I added my book here. Since you talked about what a jerk your co-worker Tom can be want to underline this behavior. In my book, I discuss the 13 most common behavior patterns. These are habitual patterns (you can call each one a jerk!) that come from family and show up at work. 

Stay out of the pleaser, avoider, bully, rescuer trap.

Examples are the pleaser, the avoider, the persecutor/bully, the super-achiever, the rescuer, etc.

These deeply ingrained “mindsets” can become “mind-traps. ” Therefore, it is best to face them to transform them.

To sum up, I suggest you talk with Tom about mindsets. Also, begin the discussion about mind-traps. Those times when the ego must win by being right rather than happy.

Ask questions rather than judge for successful outcomes.

Therefore, I want to acknowledge your NEED for asking questions. These are great questions about what to do from a different perspective. That is a better way, rather than just throwing Tom to the wolves, so to speak.

In conclusion, I believe we face a time to ask ourselves what we can do to make healthy changes. Similarly, we all face an invisible force in the global pandemic. Therefore, positive change is our only weapon of choice. Or, it should be.

Let me know how I can help,


P.S. I hope you would like a copy of my Pattern Aware Success Guide. This is a companion to Don’t Bring It To Work. Please send me an email, and it is my gift to each of you. Please email me at sylvia@ceoptions.com

P.S.S. Here is the link to offer to Tom or whoever,  to receive my newsletter every Wednesday.

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Sylvia Lafair