(New keynote presentation) Becoming a ShiftThinker: 4 Principles to Grow Through Adversity

Over the past few months while the covid pandemic has turned us all upside down a bit, I’ve been watching, observing, studying and asking lots of questions. I arrived to the realization a few weeks ago that crisis moments provide us with opportunities we would not have had otherwise. Hence, I began crafting a new signature keynote designed to help others grow through adversity proactively rather than just go through it reactively.

I presented this keynote, “Becoming a ShiftThinker” at a virtual/hybrid national conference just this week. It was a fascinating experience with 50 in-person attendees and hundreds virtually. Below is a short “Cliff Notes” version of my keynote to help you and those you influence feel empowered to grow this uncertainty and adversity we are facing now. I believe it’s time for us all to shift our thinking. I’m here to inspire, guide and empower the shift. I need it too.

* Reach out to me directly if you’d like to explore me presenting this new keynote for an internal training, upcoming conference or other type of event. Inquire at www.KevinCSnyder.com.


A common denominator we all share is the extraordinary adversity we’ve faced this year. But even though the world seems full of adversity right now, there is plenty of opportunity to overcome it as well.

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Adversity doesn’t define us. It reveals us. In fact, crisis moments reveal opportunities we would not have had otherwise. So in reality it becomes a choice whether we just go through crisis and endure it, or learn how to grow through it.

In order to grow, and continually grow, shifts in thinking are required. Perspective is paramount. Action is essential.

Shifting our thinking is where authentic change begins and growth results. Not just within ourselves, but in how to empower others as well.

“Small shifts can create massive results.”

Becoming a ShiftThinker™ reveals four building block principles to help us shift our thinking effectively. Doing so will enable us to lead, grow and serve despite any adversity we face.

ShiftThinker™ Principle #1: Growth Mindset vs Fixed Mindset

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Even though a seed might find itself in an adverse environment, it can still grow. Similarly, a growth mindset moves people and organizations forward despite challenges and adverse circumstances.

On the contrary, a fixed mindset is complacent and settles for the status quo. It resists change and waits for things to return to “normal.” Organizations with fixed mindset cultures soon become reactive, irrelevant and obsolete. Then they wonder, “What happened?” 

Growth mindset cultures make things happen. A growth mindset is the type of mindset that sees setbacks as setups and change as opportunities for growth – even unexpected, forced upon change.

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Insights from my experience providing leadership training to over one million people and over one thousand organizations across our great country is that we can change without growth, but we cannot grow without change. Furthermore, I do not believe people fear change. Rather, they fear the uncertainty that change represents.

Therefore, it is the duty of a leader (noun) – of any organization in any industry – to lead (verb) its people to shift their thinking toward a growth mindset that helps them become responsible for change rather than just being responsive to it.  

ShiftThinker™ Principle #2: Think Differently to Achieve New Results

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Einstein literally defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over yet expecting a different result. Well, certainly this year we have been forced to think differently in ways never expected.

It’s the organizations who thrive – with or without a pandemic – who constantly think differently and try new “outside the box” ideas. They understand that the best way to get outside the box is not to have a box to begin with. All these mental boxes do is limit our beliefs and push us into a comfort zone.

Whereas most people are zooming IN these days, a think differently mindset empowers us to zoom OUT and constantly reflect and re-examine new approaches.

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Think differently is not about pivoting either. Pivoting is one of the most overused and destructive words of the year.

Think about it … all pivoting means is anchoring your foot in the ground and moving in circles. No way. Instead of pivoting, what we really need to do is think differently. Only then can we adapt, transform, and evolve.

I am so passionate about the think differently concept that I wrote an entire book on it. You can download your FREE copy on my website homepage, www.KevinCSnyder.com.

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ShiftThinker™ Principle #3: Envision N.O.

When some hear “NO,” they take that rejection at face value and accept it. But when ShiftThinkers hear “NO,” they envision “New Opportunity.”

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Roger Bannister is one of my favorite examples exemplifying this “N.O.” mindset. In 1954, he became the first person to break the 4-minute mile. Prior to his amazing accomplishment, people doubted him and said he was crazy. He was given “NO” after “NO” after “NO.” However what he heard was, “New Opportunity.”

Since 1954, hundreds upon hundreds of others have also broken the 4-minute mile – which was once assumed to be humanly impossible – all because one person, Roger Bannister, showed them it was possible.

So next time you hear “NO” or “Well, that won’t work,” that might just be an indication you are on the right track. If it’s never been done before, that’s exactly why you should do it.

ShiftThinkers understand that when you care deeply about something, you do not have to be pushed. The vision pulls you. This is what envisioning new opportunities is all about.

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On a personal note, living my dream of meeting Bob Barker on The Price is Right changed my life. The experience taught me that there’s two types of dreams; the dreams we have when we’re sleeping and the dreams we make when we’re awake. It also taught me that in order to live a dream, you must have one.

Dreams are akin to visions. When we have them, it’s only a matter of time. We work backward from the vision to manifest it into reality.

ShiftThinker™ Principle #4: A.C.T.ion

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Quite simply, vision without action is merely a daydream. Action Changes Things.

The challenge with A.C.T.ion is that it requires risk and possibly making mistakes. And frankly, sometimes knowing exactly what action to take is not clear. But choosing not to act is still a choice.

In order to find the right strategy, action is required. The byproduct of action is experience and repetition is the mother of skill. Therefore, in order to achieve and be great at anything, we must take A.C.T.ion. And even if we fail, we fail forward with lessons learned.

People say failure is tough. Well, success is tougher because that means action was taken through the fear and failure.

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Ever been skydiving? If not, envision jumping out of a perfectly good plane! I have my Advanced Free Fall certification (AFF), which means I have jumped quite a bit and have met hundreds of other skydivers along the way. I’ve never met a skydiver who did not have doubt and second thoughts while taking their first jump… but the difference is that they felt the fear and did it anyway.

Do you think their mind shifted after landing? Absolutely … and they wanted to do it again! Skydiving teaches us to take action through the fear, because A.C.T.ion changes things. And the more we push ourselves to feel uncomfortable, the more comfortable we will feel doing it.

Ready to become a ShiftThinker?

The principles might appear simple, but remember, it is not what we know, it is what we apply. And when it’s most required is when it’s most difficult.

If you found value in this content and would like to request a presentation for an upcoming training event, conference, etc., simply reach out to me at www.KevinCSnyder.com or at Kevin@KevinCSnyder.com.

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