Developing an outward mindset is a practice—a journey—not a place you can arrive at. We strive in a desired direction, always with room to improve.
In the past few weeks, we at Arbinger have been reminded a number of times that developing the mindset you want is a practice, not a final state you can “arrive” at. So we decided to write a blog about it!
At Arbinger, we talk about developing an outward mindset. With an outward mindset, we see others as people who matter like we do. This allows us to take into account their needs, challenges and objectives even as we work towards our own goals. An outward mindset moves toward collective goals.
By contrast, an inward mindset is self-focused. When we are inward, or “in the box,” others do not matter like we do. We can end up hurting, using, or ignoring them in our efforts to protect ourselves, our identities, our egos, our results—whatever we think might be at stake. The outcome? Generally sub-optimal.
Arbinger’s work helps us move from an inward to an outward mindset so that we can be more effective as individuals and as members of organizations.
If there’s one thing we can guarantee, it’s that we will end up in the box, even after we understand what an outward mindset is and why it’s where we want to be. We will go inward again and again. We are very, very good at justifying an inward mindset through our thoughts, feelings and actions without even noticing we’ve gone in the box.
You might be thinking, “Well, that’s not a very hopeful or helpful message!” The hopeful part is that if we do slide, we have not failed. Going in the box doesn’t make us bad people. It makes us human.
That’s why the outward mindset is a practice—a journey—not a destination. We strive in a desired direction, always with room to improve.
If the goal is to be more outward, how do we do that? By developing and practicing three skills:
By practicing these skills, we form new habits. We build muscle memory. And although we’re still guaranteed to slip back into the box, this practice of self-awareness-correction-accountability will allow us to turn outward more quickly, more often, and more consistently.