By Donna Brighton, Brighton Leadership Group

Leadership goes beyond power and position; it’s about actions, routines and practices. For example, the way information is shared, how decisions are made and the involvement of staff members are all leadership practices. Consistent practices lead to measurable results.   

During times of change, routines and practices are disrupted and results are impacted. A simple, personal example of what happens during times of change is your exercise routine. Whatever you were regularly doing during in February, that all changed in the middle of March. Gyms and pools were closed and many people were challenged to maintain healthy movement routines. The consistent practice of exercise was disrupted. As a result, many people stopped exercising, decreased their level of fitness and gained weight.

If you aren’t getting the results you want and you would like to increase your effectiveness, try a reboot using Ctrl + Alt + FOCUS:


Ctrl yourself. Leading yourself is an essential part of leading others well. As Lao Tzu said, “mastering others is strength; mastering yourself is true power.” There are two dimensions to getting control of yourself: your thinking and your actions. Your mental state (thinking) drives your behavior, which leads to results. Evaluate the impact of COVID disruption on your thinking. Have you been swarmed with ANTs (Automatic, Negative Thoughts)? Once you’ve assessed your thinking, consider the behavior it’s creating and decide what changes need to be made.

Getting control of your thinking and actions is a realignment process. Start by getting clear on the outcomes you want to achieve. Then work backward to determine the actions and thoughts that lead to those outcomes. Leading yourself by getting control of your thinking and actions is essential for you to be an effective leader and achieve your desired outcomes.  

Evaluate your current leadership practices. Are they accomplishing the results you want? Consider creating your personal leadership definition, getting clear and strong in your leadership voice, and then aligning your actions and practices to your definition. How big is the gap between what you say and what you actually do? Leading yourself begins with closing the say-do gap. Controlling yourself to make sure your behaviors are consistent with your intentions will close that gap.


Alt. Change your perspective. Between day to day demands and a jam-packed schedule, it can seem like we don’t have the time or space to examine the direction or results of our lives—that is, until we are forced to. Evaluating your life outcomes and your life direction through an alternative perspective is essential for a reboot.

What can you do when life suddenly changes? When you begin to Ctrl your thinking you can shift your mental state using Alt. There are many ways to get an alternative perspective, including exploring the situation from a new angle, trying something new, asking for help and working to stop “shoulding” on yourself.   

Positive transformation can occur during times of change if you allow yourself to grow through it instead of just going through the challenge. In what areas of life can you apply an alternative perspective to challenge yourself and reboot your results?


Focus. It is about concentrating on something to bring it into being. Do you know where to focus your time and attention to create the results you want? Time and attention are precious resources that are often squandered when there is no purpose or intention to how they are used.

According to Dr. Mihaly Csikszentmihaly, our best moments occur when we are in ‘flow’ —stretching our limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile. Flow is a mental state of focused attention so intense that there is no cognitive bandwidth left for anything else. At this level of concentration, you are 5x more productive. Imagine the impact on your results and effectiveness! As Dr. Csikszentmihaly’s research shows, you are happier too. One of the foundational practices for flow is clear goals.

Clear goals in the flow research involve a balance between challenge and success. If the goals are too difficult for your skill level, they can cause stress or anxiety. If they are too easy, they result in boredom. Clear, challenging goals matched with adequate personal skills are crucial to triggering flow. How often do you define and review your goals? Upgrade your focus by setting clear goals. Each day begin by defining the three things you MUST get done in service of your bigger goals. Be specific about what success looks like. Then take action. Get focused and get into flow!

Reboot Your Results

To reboot your results, start with yourself. Get control of your thinking and your actions. Close your say-do gap by practicing what you preach. Then challenge yourself with an alternative view or approach. Finally, get focused with clear goals.

Ctrl + Alt + FOCUS and don’t allow disruption to get in the way of the powerful potential you have to make a difference. Reboot your results and activate your superpowers. Use the skills and strengths you have to heal and transform the world around you. We’re counting on you!

IOU Keynote

Join Donna at the Intensive Osteopathic Update (IOU) on August 14, 2020, at 12:00 CT for the keynote session, The Superhero’s Guide to Thriving Through Change. You will learn superhero secrets to help you understand the process of change, recognize change saturation and apply the “three Rs” to live life more fully. Register now.

Donna Brighton is a lifelong nonconformist whose favorite question is “why?” She is a catalyst for positive change and a liberator of potential, dedicated to enlarging leaders’ vision of who they are and what they can achieve. She is the author of The Rebel Leader’s Field Guide to Your Leadership Voice. Join her in challenging the status quo and transform the practice of leadership. See

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