I want to share a fun experience we’re having over here. Maybe we’re late to the CoVid cleaning out game ….. But we started clearing space for our Peloton deliveries and we hired a fabulous organizer. We’re now calling it the Jen affect. After 8 hours of sorting, cleaning and giving things away, I do NOT have ONE piece of clutter in my office. It literally cleared the cobwebs for me. Now I’m finding it natural to clean other areas of my home, small drawers and other rooms. We started with a large cluttered space it created so much ease in cleaning the others. I love the Jen effect. Thanks Jen. (If you’re in Atlanta, I’ve got her number just shoot me an email. )
This effect is a lot like thought work. When you focus your attention in one area of your life it has an affect on others. When we work on the stress cycles (Like I discussed in last weeks podcast) , the worry cycles, those patterns where our brain feels stuck on some big ugly beliefs (like my business is never going to work or I’m always going to be working 60 hour weeks) it becomes easier to handle the smaller moments and turn those around. That’s what I want to address today. How to turn your day around ……..when you are minding your own business, start your morning with a positive attitude and BAM several events occur and all of sudden it feels like a very bad day.
Remember your brain is in the business of helping you to feel better but sometimes it works too well in doing that sending you to activities that just buffer the stress and negative emotion VERSUS helping you to move to a better place.
Awareness is necessary and it is truly like pulling weeds or cleaning out a messy space, Bringing an awareness to your unintentional (some call it subconscious) thoughts so that you can get rid of them. Awareness helps you to question them so you’re not actively believing them.
But what can you DO with this awareness so it truly benefits you and helps you to move into thoughts and feelings that truly serve you during the day.
As I explained in my 3rd Episode (Building a Strong Mindset), when you admit how you’re feeling, in the present moment, it gives you the opportunity to decide what you want to be feeling. I’m going to dig into that today and give you a tool you can use on the worst day ever, maybe even the worst moment ever so these events do not tank your day.
Remember, your bad days are not created by the circumstances that happen to you or around you, it is the thought that you are thinking and actively believing that is creating the ‘bad’ day.
Best example: You’re rolling through your day, getting some great work done, you’re actively calling prospects, concluding some client work and bam, the printer is jammed, somebody is short with you, you spill your coffee all over the desk and……..
You come to the conclusion that we are really having a bad day. But you don’t have time for a bad day so let’s turn THAT around.
When these moments happen to you, I first want you to remember that this did not happen TO YOU. It can feel so personal. These events simply happened. So the best way to start is to step back a bit and take a broader view.
This is what I call neutralizing the circumstances:
Move from Client is mad as hell and I’ve done something wrong to a more neutral description of your circumstance Client called and I made an error that I can fix.
Move from the printer broke and I’m not going to get anything done to the Printer is not working right now and I bet I can fix it or have someone else print what I need.
Move from Client said no to your proposal and nothing is going to work to Client made a decision.
Your brain leans to the negative naturally and starts writing a very ugly story in these moments. Stepping back is your biggest gift. It’s your power, use it as early as you can. When you start feeling that rush of emotion and starting to almost feel like a victim…You have a choice here. You can Lean into the ugly thought and story about yourself that your mind is creating OR take a breath and give yourself some healthy, neutral thoughts about what just happened.
This might be all you need to do here. Use the pause to interrupt your mind and use your breath (hey our body is freakin’ awesome, USE IT) to get centered again.
If you need more Still use this step back and breathe step first. And then if you’re really still frustrated, you’ve identified an ugly thought you just can’t get out of your head or but REALLY want to get back into the swing of your work day (or even your DAY OFF!!)
Ask a question. But the brain to work and interrupt the story it is making out of the circumstances.
- What is another way to look at this? Is one of the best…
- What is good about this?
- What is most important for me to focus on now, that IS working?
- What is working?
Roll around these questions, get them into your mind now so you can use them in these moments.
THIS REALLY works and it works so much better than flipping to a Mantra in that moment.
If we don’t stop, assess, neutralize and then interrupt our brain the ugly thought is still riding around underneath and it is still causing unnecessary angst and frustration. More than is necessary.
Literally interrupting a thought with a better question puts the brain on a new course for you. It is THE quickest way to turn things around.
Many of us simply jump too quickly to a better thought. You might think if you keep chanting I’ve got this, this isn’t that bad you truly won’t move to a new space. You and I end up arguing with our own brain that things are awful. That’s why speaking a Mantra in this moment or trying to convince yourself that everything is ok in this moment doesn’t work. We’re fighting our brain instead of using it to make a shift.
Again, awareness of our thoughts really gives us a chance to choose ones that work for us.
When we’re interrupted by a ‘bad’ event during the day we can slow down and then turn it around.
- When you notice you’re really frustrated and mad because of external events, just stop and step back
- Neutralize the literal thoughts the way that you are explaining the situation. Use a neutral sentence to calm down
Sometimes this is enough……
- Need more to turn around the angst. Interrupt with a good question:
- What’s another way to think about this? Switch the thought
- What’s going well here? +
- What is working? +
- What do I want to focus on today? Turn the focus where it’s needed.
If you’re loving this concept, I have a book recommendation that helps you to apply this practice even further. The Practicing Mind by Thomas Sterner. This book changed my life and taught me how to bring my mind back to present, NO Matter What. Do check this out.
Oh one more reminder. Nothing’s gone wrong that you’re mad, frustrated and upset. If you judge what is happening for you it does not give you the fluidity or the ability to move to another approach. I cannot say it enough about staying curious and kind to your own mind and your own self is the way every single time.