Concept of religion. Silhouette of nuns against the evening sky in the rays of light

Two psychologists and a nun walked into a bar. This line isn’t just a set up for some joke…it’s actually true! And, there are some great lessons to be learned from this in the name of leadership growth and innovation.

Stick with me…

My friend, Linda Henman and I spent a delightful evening with Sister Joan Hogan last week. OK, we didn’t go to a bar, it was a restaurant, but who am I to spoil the line?

As the evening ended, I found myself happily considering some of life’s big questions. Something was knocking at the door and I knew it needed to be opened. The last several days have had me pondering and reframing, boldly challenging my own ideas. What a rush!

When you open doors, you learn. If we are too smug or scared to open them – you have the comfort of holding onto what you think at the cost of knowledge and wisdom.

Sister Joan is someone who I would not have met without Linda’s invitation. I could have easily refused. Why didn’t I? Two reasons – first, Linda’s enthusiasm about her teacher. Second, my own curiosity was piqued.

Enthusiasm and curiosity are harbingers of new horizons, creativity and innovation. What do organizations crave? Innovation. What do they quash? Enthusiasm and curiosity. What do they usually reward? Conformity.

My experience with hundreds of leaders tells me that enthusiasm and curiosity not only helps them learn, it allows them to gain insight, new ideas and renew their enthusiasm. This cycle of renewal is what keeps them from becoming stale, from becoming oversees of ossified process and tired methods.

A courageous leader is one who is willing to deliberately destabilize him or herself.

THIS is the kind of leader who opens doors before knowing what is behind them. Click To Tweet

Enthusiasm and curiosity are the emotional drivers that lead to:

  • Divergent thinking – a source of innovation
  • Insight – destroyer of shallowness
  • Understanding – the enemy of stereotypes
  • Optimism – powerful fuel

All are important to strategy, innovation and success. They die a slow and painful death when cynicism and smugness are allowed to reign.

What has enthusiasm and curiosity led you to discover? What can you do, today, to generate positive emotional energy for yourself? Will you? Let me know in the comments below!

I just walked into a bar with a nun.

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