Times are strange and tough at the moment. Whilst some individuals find the notion of being positive to be a little ‘fluffy’ – intellectually, most people understand that your state of mind and how you feel has a direct impact on your actions and the results you achieve in your career – and indeed elsewhere in your life.
On a practical level, how can you remain positive when you’re surrounded by bad news and little sign of the ‘green shoots’ of economic recovery?
Here are some tips that the Four quarters team put together might help you to stay positive:
1. Keep your mind focused on solutions instead of problems.
You have to stop focusing on all the noise about how bad things are in order to see the solutions and potential opportunities.
2. Don’t stress about stuff you can’t control.
The economy, lay-offs and a shortage of opportunities are out of your control – so don’t worry about them. Focus 100% of your mental energy and time on those things which you can control or influence. It’s far more productive.
3. Minimise your consumption of the press and media.
The recession, credit crunch and redundancies are big stories and big business for media outlets. Yes, you need to be informed about the stories and the marketplace, but you don’t need to be inundated with every news story about major layoff announcements, unemployment figures and comparisons to the 1930s depression. Overloading yourself with bad news just instils a level of anxiety and fear which stops you taking the very actions you need to take to make progress at such a time.
4. Look out for good news and opportunities.
I usually scan a couple of newspapers every day to stay up to date as well as watching headlines on news channels. But it really is a quick scan – my focus is on reading either ‘good news’ stories or articles which are bad news dressed up as opportunities.
5. Minimise your exposure to negative people.
We all know people that want to constantly go on about how bad things are. It’s not always easy to avoid them when they are friends, family or colleagues. But in the current climate, negative people can be like poison. Reduce your exposure to negative people, whilst increasing your exposure to positive people who are focussed on solutions and opportunities instead of just the problems.
6. Stay away from social conversations which begin with “aren’t things terrible these days?”
If you are being confronted with these topics change the subject.
7. Hit the pause button.
As soon as you hear yourself thinking and talking about how terrible things are and you develop a victimised dialogue in your head, hit the pause button and remind yourself to move on to something else.
8. Celebrate your small successes and wins.
When you’re climbing uphill in the middle of a terrible storm, often with some baggage, you absolutely need to pat yourself on the back with every small success. Focusing on the small wins gives you the energy and confidence to tackle the bigger challenges that you know still lie ahead.
9. Be grateful.
Whilst we’re experiencing tough times economically, we still have a lot to be grateful for. So as bad as it may seem on some days, try and develop a habit of focussing on what you’re grateful for instead of just the bad stuff. In addition to ‘keeping you going’, being grateful puts you in the right state of mind to take action and attract more of the opportunities you want.
10. Laugh more.
Laughing gives your body a feel-good factor whilst providing you with a refreshing sense of perspective on things. Stay in contact with people who make you laugh, watch comedy on TV or YouTube, read humorous books. If you’re feeling open-minded, go and try out some ‘Laughter Yoga’.
11. Exercise more.
Giving yourself a regular shot of endorphins gives you more energy and confidence. There are many ways to stay active in the comfort of your own home. It doesn’t matter what it is just do something on a regular basis.
12. Look for the lesson.
As painful as they are, the best lessons in business, careers – and indeed life – often come during tough times. What are the lessons you’re learning right now? How are you going to implement this learning? What’s the first step?
Taking some of the above steps on a regular basis will change how you feel and as all top performers in any field know, feeling mentally fit and emotionally strong is the foundation of any success – be that in your career, or elsewhere.