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Agents of Aspiration – Mindsets Matter

The lads wondered across the field like cowboys heading for a gunfight. It was a crunch fixture. The minnow team from the countryside village playing the top of the leagues side from the town. There in the distance stood the opposition, physically larger and with chests puffed out, the air of self-belief wafting across the playing field. “They are going to muller us!” exclaimed one of the lads. An ensuing ripple of pessimism spread amongst the team as they shared more and more tales of woe, and they seemed to sink lower and lower as they went across the pitch. I was the coach of this group of 15-year-old footballers. My football skill was not prolific; I had landed the job as the last parent left standing after a sudden exit of the previous coach. One thing I did know, though, was that my role was more about developing these boys’ minds than their football prowess, and now was a key moment. I called them to a halt and gathered them around. This was a ‘standing on the tank’ moment, like generals do before a battle calling their troops to go forth. “Lads, this is about the game in the mind. If you believe you will be thrashed, then that is likely to be the outcome. But if you believe that you can play a good game, concentrate on what you are good at, play as a team and dare to dream, then maybe there could be a better outcome. Believe in yourselves. Believe that you are capable of playing well.” The mood changed. Within 20 minutes they were 1-0 up and 5 minutes before half time a ‘worldy’ of a free kick from my son (proud dad moment) made it 2-0 by half time. Mindsets matter.


Emerging Leaders have some brilliant material to help people see themselves as leaders. One of the core principles to this is that

Performance = Potential – Interference.

If we are going to be agents of aspiration as leaders, then one of our roles is to help others understand the impact that interference can have. Interference starts as external; comments and perceptions. It then transfers to internal, as it begins to affect our thinking. A comment of ‘you’re not good at maths’, for example, is processed by us and can then become internal interference. Sometimes this even affects whole geographical areas. ‘Nothing good ever comes from anyone from...’ and before you know it a whole town thinks that it can’t achieve. We are all capable of aspiring to great things. Our potential is massive. But, it is our interference that will pull us down from achieving this. The good news is that changing our thinking can change our performance. Mindsets matter.

Poor thinking to leadership thinking

As an ‘agent of aspiration’, the leader is someone who can paint the picture of what is achievable. But that alone is not enough to get people there. We need to teach them how to lead their own mind. There are many poor thinking mindsets; Emerging Leaders list seven in their work. These are areas like Self, Stuck, Lazy, Fixed, Recycled, Unfinished, Hopeless.

There are steps to recognising when this thinking is affecting us and to develop leadership mindsets to replace them. Emerging Leaders lists seven that we can develop to help us see ourselves as leaders of our own thinking:

1. Lift up your head

2. See yourself as a leader

3. Be Proactive

4. See & take responsibility

5. Change Something

6. Focus

7. Appreciative Thinking

Do take a look at their ‘Reset your mindset’ videos explaining further the process of moving from poverty thinking to leadership thinking. Contact Emerging Leaders or us if you think we can help you and your team develop those mindsets.

Our role as leaders is to be a trainer, to help people lead their own mind first. Being an agent of aspiration is to understand what they can aspire to and then equip them with the mind tools to get there.

The outcome

Now, maybe you are wondering what was the outcome of the game? How did the minnows of the village do against the top town team? Surely this would not be a fairy-tale ending? Surely mindset could not be that powerful? When the final whistle blew, the score line read 2-2. Not a giant killing, but nevertheless a big achievement for a team that thought they were going to ‘get mullered’. By the end of the season, we were the only team to take points off them. Sadly, the opposition did not take it gracefully, but most importantly my boys learnt that mindsets matter. ‘It’s all about the game in the mind’.


Can we help you?

Do you or your team need help with developing mindsets of aspiration? Are you like the football team before the game? We could help you through coaching to discover aspiration. Everyday Leader’s team of coaches can help you understand what is going on in your head and how you can manage your emotions and other people in those moments. Give us a call on 01449 710438 if you would like us to help you explore this and empower you and your team.

Everyday Leader is here to empower, inspire and equip you to do that. If we can help you find a way forward, through coaching, training or consultancy, do let us know. Contact us now:


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