I’ve been a facilitator for leadership programs in the corporate world for years. There’s an old saying we have that there are three mindsets in every room.
- The hostage
- The vacationer
- The learner
The hostage is the person who doesn’t want to be there. Their leadership told them to come to some training, and from the moment they walk in, they let you know with their body language or words that they don’t want to be there.
They believe they already know everything about the topic at hand, and they’re not interested in being shown any different.
They suffer; any group I put them in suffers; if I partner them with someone the partner suffers; I suffer trying to manage their energy. So. Much. Resistance.
Our minds can often create a ‘hostage’ situation for us. We resist, cry foul, procrastinate and create our own suffering. The mindset we have is – I am the victim. And we’re going to make damn well sure everyone around us knows.
The vacationer is the person who feels like the workshop is nothing more than a break from their work. They’re glad they’re in the room because now they don’t have the responsibility of doing anything back at their desk. But they’re not interested in playing full out in learning.
They’re the joker in the room. The one that wants to know when we’re going on break 15 minutes after we start. They’re light-hearted and fun but also a distraction. They don’t want to have any serious conversations.
Our minds can create the “vacationer” mindset when we avoid the responsibilities of life. We check out when life gets complicated and find many ways to numb ourselves from the uncomfortable.
The learner wants to be in the room. One of the most interesting phenomena is when companies offer up elective learning opportunities; the people who sign up are usually performing well in the topic area.
They want one or two little nuggets of information that might elevate their skills even more. They’re engaged, they’re willing to be messy in practice, and they show up for themselves and everyone else in the room.
Curiosity is the hallmark of the learner.
If you were to identify with one of these mindsets, which would you choose?
I know I’ve visited all three throughout my life. Only the learner lessens the suffering.