I love listening to podcasts. Podcasts keep me company as I walk and satiate my thirst for knowledge. One of my favorite podcasts is Brené Brown’s Dare to Lead.
As many of you may know, Brené Brown is a researcher, social work professor, and entrepreneur who has written six books and countless journal articles about shame, vulnerability, and leadership. Her podcast Dare to Lead focuses on, you guessed it, leadership and her guest list is amazing.
Last week I listened to Brené interview Adam Grant, an organizational psychologist, researcher and author, whose latest book Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don’t Know examines the potential which comes from rethinking and unlearning.
During their conversation, Adam refers to a paper written by one of his mentors, a political science writer and educator, Phil Tetlock. According to Adam Grant, Tetlock describes three mindsets which greatly impact a person’s ability to listen and a person’s willingness to rethink.
These mindsets are the preacher, the prosecutor and the politician.
The preacher mindset occurs when we believe we know the truth and we proselytize to whomever will listen. We are not interested in hearing what another has to say. We believe we know the truth and it is our job to share it.
The prosecutor mindset is when we believe we are right and are sole focus is on proving how right we are…even if that means making someone else wrong. We do not take into account another person’s feelings or wellbeing, rather we only care if we win.
The politician mindset occurs when our goal is to win the support or the approval of another. We are not driven by right or wrong, good or bad; rather, we tell others exactly what they want to hear in hopes of getting what we want.
Each one of these mindsets is a barrier to connection, compassion, and creativity: three pillars to healing from trauma and to cultivating healthy relationships. Each one of these mindsets also is a function of feeling unheard, unsupported, and disconnected.
I know for myself I am more likely to slip into preacher mode when I feel scared and am afraid I will not be understood. I become more vocal and belabor my point, praying the other person will finally get it, and subsequently, get me. Unfortunately, preacher mode only serves to create more distance and I end up feeling more alienated than when I began.
I tend to move into a prosecutor mindset when I am feeling attacked or hurt by another. Prosecutor mode is a defensive stance, similar to putting on a suit of armor, and gives me the false illusion I am safe as I wage into battle. The irony is I ultimately feel more hurt because my desire to be right ends up hurting the person with whom I most want to connect.
I am less familiar with the politician mindset. (We all have our preferences.) What I have noticed is I am more likely to employ a politician mindset if I am faced with a controlling authority figure. If I feel stuck, suppressed, or oppressed, then out comes my inner politician, who is a survivalist. While I understand the impulse, I do not like the results which engender feelings of disconnection with myself.
I invite you to consider what elicits your inner preacher, prosecutor and politician. Identifying the need driving the behavior is how you can free yourself from the mindset and gives you an opportunity to find other ways, more aligned ways, to address your fears and to meet your needs.
Lastly, I offer the suggestion Adam Grant advocates for in his new book, Think Again. Adam recommends developing a scientist mindset.
A scientist mindset is when we are focused on finding the truth and discovering new knowledge.
We form a hypothesis, and as much as possible, test our hypothesis without bias. A scientist mindset also means admitting when our hypothesis proves false and having the flexibility to pivot and try a new approach.
At the root of a scientist mindset is curiosity. Which makes me wonder: what if I got curious about…
- What was at the root of my behavior or
- Why I felt the way I did or
- What motivates another person’s behavior or words or
- Why certain groups believe what they do
I think the trick to adopting a scientist mindset is to begin with the question: “I wonder why…” Wondering arouses our curiosity and initiates a path toward empathy. When we are curious, we seek to understand. When we seek to understand, we begin the healing journey both for ourselves and for others.
As we move into a new month, I wish you much curiosity, compassion, and connection.
Have a wonderful week,
Kim Bushore-Maki is a soul-driven entrepreneur who understands the undeniable urge to create a business and a life filled with meaning and purpose. Her vision of opening a center where women could heal and grow led her to open Shakti in the Mountains in Johnson City, Tennessee: a place where the creative, feminine energy is nurtured and valued.
Five years later, Kim is still in the flow of supporting and building a healthy, vibrant community and now guides retreats, teaches yoga, and provides one-on-one services for women who want an immersion experience into the life-affirming, Shakti energy.
Kim’s training as a therapist and yoga teacher allows her to safely and compassionately guide women on a heart-centered journey to Self, where women re-connect with their beautiful, authentic spirit.