I recently spoke to a dynamic group of non-profit leaders. Like many in their profession, they are feeling the challenges and pressures of our world today: shifting community demands and political circumstances, resource challenges and mounting problems requiring innovative solutions. The crush of pressures led many to say they awoke in the morning already feeling overwhelmed by the day’s upcoming demands.

The turning point in our conversation was our discussion about the real issue behind the issues—people tend to believe the way to feel better is to be able to control these external circumstances. Yet, the truth is that we will never be able to control anything other than our own actions – in other words, our leadership. Once we become aware that true power to change circumstances begins with ourselves, change in all the things around us can begin to happen.

My leadership model lays out the process for individuals to take ownership of their power. In the example of moving from scarcity to prosperity focusing on the power of conscious choice is key. By mindfully deciding which end of the issue to focus on, individuals can move from lack to opportunity.

If people can start with the belief that nothing is “wrong,” rather that the are conditions that exist that can change, the power to create solutions increases because we are not pushing against what is, instead we shift the focus to resolution and how to move forward with greater clarity and ease. What if, “the community needs us to do more” becomes “we have the opportunity to have a bigger impact and inspire new solutions.” Or perhaps, “government cuts are hurting us” becomes “we have a greater opportunity to do the work we love.” Whatever the issue, is it a problem or a pathway?

Ultimately leadership is about the ability to focus on what can be done and inspiring the action to achieve it. Too often, we minimize our power by keeping our focus outside our control. By consciously choosing to focus on what we can do we shift our attention to the possibilities—and that’s where true change and transformation take place.