Invest the time to think about that statement. Think about the last time you allowed someone to challenge you. When was the last time you really allowed a fellow human being to challenge the core of your thinking, approach, awareness or understanding about a topic or idea?

If you haven’t, or you can’t remember when, there’s one simple question you need to ask yourself. Why? What’s holding you back?

Is it fear? Bias? Insecurity perhaps? Doubt? Even the most robust leader can shy away from challenge when it requires meaningful confrontation that is anything but comfortable. In order to allow challenge to bring change to our thinking, particularly challenge from others, we have to get really comfortable with challenging ourselves first.


Back in May I wrote about intentional thinking. The essence of what I wrote can best be expressed in one thought regularly shared with me by my parents: “No problem can sustain the purposeful and intentional focus of your mind to think and reason through to a solution.” Expressed in a simpler way; never lose interest in thinking or in challenging your thinking to positively impact your performance. Driven to the bottom line – THINK.

Our heads are the land of a thousand ideas. Intentional thinking is about narrowing that field and bringing focus to our ideas. What is it for you? The one item, topic or idea that you really need to dial in on and invest the time to think about purposefully?

Beyond work I want to encourage you to think intentionally about all areas of your life. Areas that are of significant importance in both maximizing and optimizing your total performance. These are areas that are familiar and that we need to give significant attention to practically. You achieve great outcomes when you dedicate the time to think and impact areas like family, health, hobbies, beliefs, relationships and of course, work.

Outstanding performance generally has some catalyst that drives the advancement. Our intentional thinking about a specific area or topic can be our personal catalyst. When paired with reflection and action as bookends, we’re bringing positive change to our performance because we expand the view surrounding our decisions and choices.

Like many of the things we do, we tend to drive more energy towards the activities that we enjoy. Enjoyment is often driven when we focus on the positive rather than dwelling on the negative. While being realistic is important, let me encourage you to engage in thinking that is largely centered on the positive contributions you have the potential to make. Why? Because we drive more energy towards advancing what we value ahead of those things that we don’t.

As we continue forward with the Thoughtstarter Challenge, let me encourage you to focus on the following acronym as a helpful reminder of your ability to bring positive change to your performance.

Habit of
Intentionally evolving


P.S. Have you joined the Thoughtstarter Challenge? If so, how are you sharing it? Let us know by including the hashtag #ThoughtstarterChallenge on your Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter posts.