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What S.H.A.P.E. are you in?

As I was driving home from a conference in Feb 2022, I saw a man in a pickup truck stuck in the mud, literally. It had rained most of the day, so the ground was very moist! I do not know how he got to the middle of the highway, in the mud, but he was stuck and couldn’t get out. He rocked back and forth but the tires were covered with mud! I sat in traffic I couldn’t help but wondered what he would do to solve this situation. Well, I started moving forward so I didn’t get to see his solution or how long it took to resolve his issue. It occurred to me at that moment this happens to everyone. We get “Stuck in the mud” in our jobs, careers or relationships; whatever the situation, with a little effort, we can find solutions to help us adapt and get back on track. Understanding the “S.H.A.P.E.” of things, a positive way for Leaders to evaluate everyday encounters, reduces the anxiety of how to get unstuck and SHAPE the steps needed for change.

The “Shape” of things matters, why?

The SHAPE concept is a foundation for behavior change to help Leaders practice actionable ways to support growth and work through everyday issues in their work environments.

* Situational focus to understand the “shape” of things

* Heighten your voice

* Active engagement

* Posture of the mind

* Execute on the change

Getting started is the challenge. How much energy do you spend being anxious about it versus just doing something and learning from your experience?

A Scenario and practical application to improve the SHAPE of things.

Scenario: You are in a meeting with your peers, but you fail to speak up the entire meeting. After the meeting, you reflect on why you didn’t and remember that another person said exactly what you wanted to say or ask the questions you had in your mind, numerous times. What were you afraid of? That you wouldn’t sound intelligent enough for the people in the room? That the wrong thing might be said? Did anyone in the room say something that others didn’t particularly agree with?

Using the SHAPE: Situational focus requires you to be present and to not miss any cues in the room. Start by creating your own meeting goals. Be prepared by doing your homework and having a list of questions to ask during the meeting. Be the first or second person to ask your question(s). Heighten your voice, speak up and get others to support your thoughts during the meeting. Ask an ally to speak up to support your thoughts in advance. Active engagement is essential and is key for growth to happen. Prepare yourself to seek after and accept new challenges during and after the meeting. As a leader, Posture your mind! Get rid of the negative talk. Make it positive by being willing to cultivate, enhance and deepen your self-awareness by putting yourself out there. Be comfortable with thoughts of achievement and success. For this scenario, create the plan, target those experiences and Execute on it. Then you will see the change happen.

Think about the risk of not adapting or changing at all! If you have trouble thinking outside of the box, then create a new one! It is about progress, not perfection. When you adapt, you make the change needed for success!


Truthfully, I have been “Stuck in the Mud” because this post was to come out months ago. Yes, I had my fears but now I am putting it out there. Like I had to give yourself permission to overcome the fears. There’s risk if you do not adapt or changing at all. It is about progress, not perfection. When you adapt, you will learn, grow and SHAPE your path forward. Are you ready to change the Shape of things?

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