STEP FOUR: My Mindset Matters Most – In Conversation with Mihaela Popa
STEP FOUR: My Mindset Matters Most – In conversation with Mihaela Popa
In a series of conversations with fellow transformers, leaders and influencers, we want to introduce you to the Ten Steps of Transformation. You’re getting a sneak peek into how The Heart Revolution can be your companion through transformation: helping you transforming your work and organization, by transforming yourself. You can always start with the latest, go back to revisit the previous post in the series or catch-up from Step One.
For “Step Four: My Mindset Matters Most”, I’m joined by Mihaela Popa, who I worked with as she led a network of Influencers in the organization. The Influencers network was a community of engaged and passionate colleagues from all parts of the organization, at all levels and in all functions – with a shared purpose of enabling and anchoring the new culture in the organization. By far the biggest group of Players I have ever met!
Step Four: My Mindset Matters Most
Do you occasionally look on situations with fearful eyes?
Mihaela has always been full of ambition and with a desire to grow professionally. So when it came time for a cultural transformation at her organization, she knew it was time to walk the talk and also invest in her personal growth.
Walking the talk came in the form of being tasked with building and leading momentum for a transformation movement in her organization – training and giving employees from all levels of the organization the tools to unleash their Player mode. A huge challenge and responsibility for someone that wasn’t a formal leader in the business! But embracing the challenge to see it as an opportunity, Mihaela decided it was time to step-up her game and took her place as an (informal) leader in her organization’s transformation.
Initially, she came to the task with a performance mindset – focused on looking good and not making any mistakes. That may sound good, but it actually meant Miha stayed behind a computer screen; not putting herself out there and engaging with the community she was building.
Choosing and embracing a mindset of love, Mihaela now has the courage to lead without the need for titles or formal authority. By understanding her role and relevance in the transformation, she steps up to mobilize people in the organization (including many that are more senior than her!) and give them the tools to lead and take the transformation further throughout their parts of the organization.
“I realized I had to have courage, to step out from that space and be myself. Being at my best by connecting with people and making sure it’s ok to make mistakes. At that point, I really started leading.”
The way Mihaela chooses to turn the challenge she is tasked with, into an opportunity to grow and transform, perfectly captures Step Four: My Mindset Matters Most. By understanding the power of her mindset, it makes her more aware of her own thinking process – of the mindset she brings to day-to-day life.
“At work, it moved me from a lot of judgement and critical thinking, to more curiosity, learning and understanding, so I’ve had better conversations with my colleagues.”
The impact is also present in her personal life, where Mihaela is better at understanding why people behave in certain ways – and she can better respond to that from a place of love, instead of fear and misunderstanding.
By shifting her mindset from fear to love, Mihaela tells us that it opens the mind to deep listening. Instead of entering a conversation with colleagues with a preconceived judgement or expectation of how that conversation would go, she now approaches it from curiosity, listening more and seeing the conversations as an opportunity to gain knowledge. And when she transforms, those around her are affected as well – being more open to collaborate and engage with her.
The idea of that we have to have all the answers is one connected to a mindset of judgement and fear, rather than curiosity. Mihaela shares where this comes from – that in hers and our traditional education systems, you’re meant to have the answer. But by having more open discussions, she learns that there is a lot of learning and no one has all the answers – that we see impact when we all share and contribute to creating the answer.
By living Step Four, Mihaela is able to turn her business challenges into opportunities – approaching them with a different question:
“Instead of asking ‘what is wrong in this situation?’, I will ask ‘what is perfect? What is the opportunity in this situation?’ – and then my mind works in a different way, it starts finding solutions and bringing more knowledge and understanding to the situation.”
Having seen Mihaela, use this question myself, I know the magical effect is has, and how leaders and team members all start leaning in and reframing to find solutions. So, the next time you’re faced with a challenge, will you ask:
How is this situation perfect?
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