Above And below the line Thinking – Where are you?
G’day and welcome to the Business Made Easy Podcast blog, where we make business easy.
We’re all about helping you build a successful business, a stronger bottom line and a better life as a result.
So, whatever is happening in your business right now, I hope it's all pumping along nicely for you.
As we all know, running a business can be a mixture of victories, challenges and struggles. But often it’s how we deal with the challenges that sets us apart.
Troubles happen to us all and we know that things aren’t going to be rosy and perfect all the time. Whether we are in business, at home with the family or on holiday.
Sometimes events and situations happen outside of our control. That’s just the way the world works. You could be driving down the road and a drunk driver pulls out in front of you and you have an accident. Anything could happen.
But even though we may not always have a choice about what happens to us, we can decide how we react to it.
That’s where a useful mindset tool comes in.
The power of choice
We are all where we are in life because we've made particular choices along the way.
However, the beauty of life means that where we are right now doesn't mean that's where we're going to be tomorrow or the next day.
We can make a choice. We can choose our future path by being mindful about how we respond to stimuli and events that happen to us.
There is freedom in having the ability to choose, even though some decisions may be difficult.
For example, we can fix a problem with a shortcut but then face the risk that it might come up again in the future.
Or we can look at it and say, “Okay, if I do this now, what's the future going to look like? If I put in the hard work, will there be a better outcome?”
By doing that, we can create a new system, template or procedure to solve the problem for good. This will lead to a better future for the business.
The only downside is that it will take time and some hard work.
As entrepreneurs, these are decisions that we have to face all the time. We have to ask ourselves, should we take the easy road or the hard road?
Most people take the easy road. I’ve even done it myself. But in my experience, the easy road never works. You really do have to put in the hard work if you want the right results at the end of the day.
And this comes from identifying whether you’re thinking above or below the line.
Above and below the line thinking
Here is a quick exercise to find out where your mindset is.
Picture a blank piece of paper sitting on a desk.
Imagine drawing a straight red line horizontally across the middle of the paper. Think of the red line as a boundary with white space above and below the line.
Now, picture writing underneath the red line the letters B-E-D vertically. Above the red line, write O-A-R vertically.
The letters above the line represent positive thinking, and below the line is negative thinking, as you can see in the image below.
Let’s start with below the line.
The letter B stands for Blame. We blame other people for the situation that is happening to us.
The letter E stands for Excuse. We make excuses for why something is happening. For example, our business is not doing well because of economic conditions, or customers and suppliers are acting in a certain way.
The letter D is for Denial. We deny that we’ve played any role in the situation. We remove ourselves from it and blame others or make excuses.
All of this is below the line thinking.
But above the line, the letter O stands for Ownership – owning the problem.
The letter A means Accountability. Being accountable and making a decision about how to solve the problem.
Finally, the letter R stands for Responsible and taking responsibility. Even if someone else is to blame, it’s important to take leadership in business and in our personal lives.
I can’t take credit for creating the Above and Below the Line Model but it’s a great way to approach a problem. By following O-A-R above the line and B-E-D below the line, we can identify how our thinking is impacting our decisions.
So, before you react to something, stop for a moment and ask yourself the following:
- Am I placing blame somewhere else?
- Am I taking ownership?
- Am I making an excuse?
- Am I being accountable?
When we do this as leaders people will respect us more. Plus, we will make better decisions, which will lead to a more successful business.
From victim to victor
There’s a big difference between being a victim and a victor.
When we’re thinking below the line, we're coming from a victim mentality. The situation is happening to us.
Whereas thinking above the line and taking ownership means we’re the victor. We come out on top with better outcomes and more respect.
But it’s easy to start thinking below the line when something bad happens and be tempted to follow the easy road.
For example, if you have a car accident, often the first reaction will be to blame someone. Or, if you cause a problem at work, it’s easy to make an excuse for your actions.
True leadership is when you respond to the problem by making decisions with above the line thinking. Always think in terms of ownership, accountability and responsibility.
When we step up and start thinking above the line, it usually means facing a harder road. But it’s worth it every time.
So, this is my message to you. Next time you have to make a decision, consider the O-A-R B-E-D model. And remember, you make your own BED when you become a victim, but you use an OAR to steer a boat.
By using this mindset tool, you will have more control over your reactions and your destiny.
Business Made Easy Podcast
This topic was originally featured on Episode 68 of the Business Made Easy Podcast. It’s titled, Above or Below the Line – Where Are You?
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