By Catherine Plano, Executive Mindset Coach, Transformational Leadership Facilitator, Leadership and Culture Consultant
I’ve written before about those negative thoughts in your head. That stern “school mistress” who harps on about how you’re doing this wrong, and thattoo. If you’re not careful and give that negative voice too much air-time, she’ll soon become your reality.
Let’s say you just had a job interview, which in your mind, didn’t go as well as you hoped. You’re sitting in your car, reflecting, and the voice in your head is giving you its very own version of a debrief – running the meeting over in your mind and basically telling you failed. Big time.
And then, because of the way the brain works, soon you’re collecting all sorts of “evidence” and “data” from the filing cabinets in the recesses of your mind to support the idea that you failed and don’t deserve success. Pretty soon you’re stuck in an ongoing loop of unproductive, negative thoughts.
Here’s how. Have fun with it! Trick your mind into seeing the humorous side. You didn’t spit at your potential new boss while you were speaking, you didn’t fall off the chair and bang your head on the desk, you didn’t have baby puke on the shoulder of your dress or a milk mustache from your pre-interview latte. Once you put lightness in it, you can begin to calm your mind – if you can make yourself laugh, even better!
Absolutely, it’s important to reflect and to ponder so you can take some learning out of the experience. Maybe you could have asked more questions, or sold your personal brand a little more. But remember, everything happens for you, not to you.
So, don’t wallow in negativity. The next fantastic thing is about to come right along. For all you know, you could have aced the interview and earned a job offer, or, in time, a better opportunity.
Positive thinking is imperative to creating a life we want and love. Negative thinking just brings more of the same, so to be able to interrupt your mind when you’re thrown off-kilter and the negativity has a moment to creep in, is a great life skill to learn.
Stuff that we don’t like or weren’t expecting happens to all of us. The trick is being able to get up, straighten your crown, and keep moving forward. Otherwise, negativity can really spiral, and then we’re not able to achieve our goals.
[Related: You Are What You Think]
Just like the perfect pair of shoes make an outfit zing, a positive frame of mind is a must-have accessory when you’re creating a life you want. And all of us can use some help getting into the right mindset sometimes.
I’m a big believer in visualization boards, or “manifesting” boards. And here’s why: The greater part of your mind speaks the language of pictures, and if you can create a board filled with pictures that not only capture what you want, but the emotions associated with what you want. Then you really can amplify your power of positive thought to make things happen.
It really doesn’t matter if your goal is to do something but you have no idea how to begin – your visualization board is your springboard to success. It will keep you motivated!
Just like a negative mindset that can quickly get out of control, a positive mindset can gather momentum quickly, too – you just need to give it a kick start and a warm up first sometimes. And a vision board helps you do that.
After you’ve created your vision board, you can’t just sit back and look at it every day. You do need to take some action. So, here’s the second part of creating the life you want and love.
Action, movement, and repetition combined are the secret recipe to the changes you need to make. These will ensure that you stay on track, and they will reinforce the message in your brain that you can do this. This is critical, because if you doubt yourself or don’t believe, then guess what? Your mind can’t achieve it.
So – make a plan. It might be really brief, but at the start of every week, commit to one or two tasks that are included in your plan. Things that you need to achieve to move forward.
Small steps add up – and what’s more, small accomplishments feed the reward center in your brain, which releases “feel good” hormones. These will only add to the fire in your belly. After a week or two of making good on your action list, you’ll start to feel unstoppable, because your brain will be working in your favor.
And, even if the dream you started with is something you know nothing about, pretty soon your brain will be open and receptive to new insights and ideas, and you’ll be soaking up knowledge that’s important to you in achieving the end result. Then the excitement starts to build, and it all becomes a really stimulating activity, rather than a dreary “to do” list.
Every day, you’ll find yourself sketching out the roadmap and finding more tasks to take you another step closer to the end result. Take time to do this, so you can enjoy the process of making decisions and working out what comes next.
And celebrate regularly! Pour yourself a glass of wine and sit with your vision board, and then bask in the glorious feeling of making progress toward achieving your dream. Remember – the positive feelings associated with your dream and communicated with pictures will continue to reinforce your positive mindset.
The bonus is that your positivity in this direction will begin to affect all areas of your life. When you believe in something – even if it’s marginal – you begin to do a hundred little things differently.
You may act differently. You may find yourself having a different kind of conversations. You may even find that you have a little skip in your walk as you march down the street, brimming with confidence!
[Related: The Human Mind is Our Greatest Mystery]
Originally published on Ellevate.
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