The Bourne Mentality

Whether or not you have seen the movie, The Bourne Ultimatum, I found a lesson in perception that I have been sharing with my clients with great success.

Whenever Jason Bourne is faced with an obstacle, he doesn’t dwell on the problem. He instantly scans his environment for “an opening.” An opening is what you’re your brain perceives as:

  • the path you can take instead of the one you’re on,
  • the opportunity to turn the present situation into your strategic advantage, or
  • a chance to turn the negative into a positive or at least neutral arrangement.

Brain Tip: When you are faced with a difficult situation, ask yourself and your partners or team,

“What would Jason Bourne do?”

  • What other road can we take? What would happen if we retreated? What other tactic can we try other than the one not working?
  • What is the weakness in the problem that we can exploit to our advantage (of course, with the greater good in mind)?
  • What can we learn from this event that will help us meet our bigger-picture goals?
  • When dealing with someone else’s fear or anger, what can we do to either gracefully get out of the way or tactfully redirect them so they don’t focus their reactions on us (and hopefully move them toward a solution)?
  • What can we do to not be triggered by emotions, to release our stress and stay centered and grounded in the moment?

If you haven’t seen the movie, you might want to watch it with this perspective in mind. See how quickly Bourne sees possibilities when he is not attached to having the situation turn out as he had hoped. Instead, he quickly deals with “what is” and by rising above the problem, sees the opportunity to triumph.

While writing this, a client of mine cancelled an engagement due to a budget cut. What would Bourne do? I think I’ll call my client and offer various alternatives to what we originally planned, including coaching him to meet his long-term goals in new ways. Of course, I’ll let him apologize and vent first. Then I’ll ask if we can explore other solutions. And if all else fails, I’ll focus my energies on my other clients and prospects to keep the energy flowing.

Challenge: For the rest of the day, see if you can think like Jason Bourne.


As many of you know, I am affiliated with The Pyramid Resource Group, a national corporate coaching company. Pyramid just updated their website and created a new blog that will have lots of great information about coaching, leadership, and general topics of interest. I will be one of the coaches contributing content to the blog.

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