“Engineers: Avoid Linear Thinking to Expand Your Vision—and Success” was written by Jeannette Seibly.
Recently, I watched a woman driving a new orange burst metallic colored 2019 Chevy Spark attempt to back out of her parking spot. The problem was a large truck parked behind her to the right. There was plenty of room for her to get out if she cut her steering wheel to the left. But, she didn’t understand how that would work and kept doing what she believed “should” work. No matter what people said to her, she continued inching her way towards hitting the truck!
Her vision was limited by her linear thinking and past experiences.
So what is linear thinking?
Linear thinkers solve problems of daily life by taking in information from one situation and applying the information gathered from it to another situation.
How many of you have gotten in the way of your success because you were unwilling to expand your vision and let go of linear thinking?
Each of you has a vision of what success looks like in 2020 and beyond.
The challenge is, to achieve this desired future, you need to let go of linear thinking in order to expand your vision of how to get there.
The #1 Challenge that Derails You
We all have biases and judgments about everything! We are too quick to determine how things “should be.” This linear thinking stifles success and limits our vision of how to achieve results easier, faster, and more effectively. For example, many women engineers are taught not to rock the boat since it hurts their upward mobility. Sadly, because of this, they don’t speak up. As a result, many are overlooked when new opportunities and promotions become available.
4 Tips for Expanding Your Vision
- Remember, life is a process, not an event. Have a plan, but be patient and be flexible. As an unstoppable woman, developing your leadership persona takes years of disciplined practice. Creating a viable plan requires flexibility since no plan happens exactly as expected. But, when you use a structured approach on a daily and weekly basis, you know when you’re on track or not. Being flexible when problems or setbacks arise (and they will) keeps you focused on your long-term vision for success.
Weekly exercise: Each week take 5 minutes and write out where you want to be in one year. (Yes, time it.) When you do this exercise weekly, don’t copy what you’ve already written. Expand your vision by writing what is present for you right now. Remember, a true vision expands as it evolves.
Here are questions to get you started. By this time next year: What is your vision of you? What qualities do you possess? Who needs to be part of your success? What have you achieved?
- Embrace ALL Learning Opportunities.This learning mindset is a life-long asset. When you hit snags, or, at times, a concrete wall, talk it out with your coach and/or mentor. It’s a learning opportunity. Don’t let it pass you by. Stay away from grandiose and unrealistic expectations that require others to change. This is about you, not them! Achieving your vision requires taking responsibility and developing unstoppable resilience when faced with immovable situations and people.
Daily exercise. Journal. Many times when we journal we focus on challenges faced or feelings of negativity. Instead, focus on the positive by writing down what you’ve achieved and lessons learned. Include what you are grateful for and actions you will take that day. This will expand your vision (and results) in new ways.
- Avoid Circular Logic and Get to the Root Cause.Many times we love to self-diagnose what is getting in the way of our success. We make our determinations based on how we feel or from reading what worked for someone else. Don’t fall into this linear thinking trap. Getting to the root cause is crucial for faster clarity and better results. Be coachable and open-minded when talking with your trusted advisors. Allow them to guide you through the inevitable complex issues, nay-sayers, and confusing situations. Now, get into action before you talk yourself out of it!
Exercise: When you hit a wall, write it out. Now, walk it out and don’t think about it for 20 minutes. Then, talk it out with your coach or advisor before taking action.
- Develop True Brainstorming Approaches. How many times have you ignored the value of brainstorming? You believed it would take too much time, create too much work, or you will hear what you don’t want to hear. Remember, when you expand your vision you will not have a roadmap of how to get to the end result. You need a team of advisors to guide you along the way. Always value their insights, especially when you don’t want to listen!
Exercise: Put together a small group and share one challenge. Write down everyone’s ideas without comment. Now, pick one or two ideas and take immediate action.
When you break away from normal linear thinking and expand your vision, there will be more possibilities for success than you ever imagined. Use these four tips to guide you along the way.
About the Author:
Jeannette Seibly is an award-winning dynamic results coach. For the past 27 years, she has guided leaders and teams to excel. She is also a keynote speaker and author of, It’s Time to Brag! Business Edition and It’s Time to Brag! Career Edition. In 2019, she was recognized by SWE We-Local Denver with their “People Choice Award for Best Speaker.” Learn more about Jeannette Seibly and listen to her podcasts on Anchor.FM or YouTube.com.