So What, Now What?

My mom was a great influence in my life and a great example of an awesome leader and coach. Since I was in elementary school, she would not accept any of my excuses and would continually say, “So what, now what?”  At first, I thought she did not care and I ignored her. Then I realized that it was her way of coaching me to have contingency plans, find another perspective, and persevere.

A leader is able to motivate and inspire others to reach their full potential (Kouzes & Posner, 2012). Sometimes, the feedback from leaders feel like insults more than constructive criticism.  However, I learned not to take negative experiences at face value. Instead, I take a step back to figure out the lessons learned and be accountable for my mistakes.

I never thought that “So what, now what?” would be ingrained into my solution finding process and leadership style. My mother made me stronger by teaching me to be accountable for my actions and to seek a solution. For a leader that strengthens others by increasing determination and developing competence will facilitate a team that will exceed expectations (Kouzes & Posner, 2012, p. 22),

As a leader, I have mentored others to reflect on the lessons learned and to continually move forward.  I have told others, “So what, now what?” to get them into the mindset of dwelling on possibilities instead of finding excuses.  After all, excuses and blame only promotes negativity and nothing will be resolved. Therefore, by finding the lessons learned in each situation, I have become a more adaptable, mindful and stronger leader.


  • What are your “So what, now what?” moments or experiences?
  • What is your solution finding process?
  • Why is excuse building easier than solution finding?
  • What makes someone choose to live in a world of excuses versus a universe of possibilities?


Kouzes, J.T., & Posner, B.Z.  (2012). The Leadership Challenge: How to Make Extraordinary Things Happen in Organizations.  (5th ed.).  San Francisco, CA: The Leadership Challenge

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