When work feels out of control, a little optimism goes a long way. Here's how to use it to turn things around.
Do you ever feel out of control of your world? A client leaves unexpectedly. Your internet goes down when you're on deadline. Your team keeps missing deadlines. Sometimes it feels like you're living in the perfect storm, doesn't it?
But even in the most frustrating of times there is something within your control that can have a huge impact on your life: your attitude. The attitude and energy that you have in any given situation, and toward life in general, is what determines your actions. It also influences how others respond to you and how you feel about yourself.
Our attitude and actions are dictated by our perspective and interpretation of reality. If you have a negative, pessimistic disposition and believe that life is filled with nothing but problems, you will make decisions that draw more difficultly into your life.
An individual with a more positive, open-minded disposition is likely to draw desirable events into his or her life. These folks will try new things, take emotional risks, and learn from and enjoy the outcome. They are more likely to find solutions, shift gears as necessary, and see the upside of most situations. They also get more support from employees, peers, friends, and family.
Which disposition do you generally lean toward? If your attitude is most often negative, think about how you typically feel, both emotionally and physically. Could your world be better? Could your health be better? How about your stress levels, could they be lower? Yes? Perhaps it's time for a change.
But how quickly can that change occur? And how much work will it take? You may not be able to flip a switch and choose to have a positive attitude toward everything. But you can make a conscious choice to slowly reduce your pessimistic tendencies and opt for a sunnier outlook on life. And just like an exercise program, it will take determination and dedication.
That's right, we have to exercise our minds just like we do our bodies. The more we work toward change, the better our results. It may take a while but you can shift your attitude to create more desirable results in life and business. You can take back control--of yourself.
Here are three simple steps to a better outlook (it's worth the work):
Reframe your thoughts.
When you find yourself thinking things like, that won't work, or I never catch a break, ask yourself: Is that really true and do I believe it with all my heart?The answer is usually "no." Choose a prevalent, negative thought and make a list of reasons why it's not true. You will begin to see that your perspective is not based in reality. Now reframe your thought to the next best option. Instead of, that won't work, try maybe there is a way I can make that work. You'll find things working out much better.
Reframe your comments.
When a negative statement is on the tip of your tongue, change the shape of it. People naturally respond defensively to negativity, even if it's not directed toward them. Instead of telling someone how bad your day is, ask them how their day is going. Or choose one or two things about your day that feel good to you and talk about those. Soon you'll find yourself focusing on the positive aspects of a situation to shift your mind away from the negative. It works wonders.
Reframe your criticism.
Entertaining negative thoughts about yourself or someone else lowers your energy; both physically and emotionally. Instead of looking for things that people (including you) do wrong, look for the good qualities and characteristics in them. This is a fun experiment because people show up in life just as you expect them to. If you generally view someone as uncooperative, for instance, that is the side of them you will see. Look for a more favorable attribute and soon you'll see them in a different light.
Reframing is a simple process that is drawn from Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP). This process, actually "rewires" your brain and "erases" the negative thought patterns you currently have in place. You can teach yourself to think and act differently, and the outcome will be well worth your time and effort.
MARLA TABAKA is a small-business adviser who helps entrepreneurs around the globe grow their businesses well into the millions. She speaks widely on combining strategic and creative thinking for optimum success and happiness. @MarlaTabaka