Whatever business you’re in, goods, services, retail, manufacturing, consulting… just like any good rollercoaster, there are downs as well as ups. It may be the economy, staffing troubles, the loss of a key client or contract, whatever it is, sooner or later, your business will face a tough time or two. That’s not pessimism, but realism. The big question is how do you deal with it? Well, naturally, your precise strategy depends on the nature of the circumstances but the one ingredient every tough time needs is the ability to stay positive and therefore focused. Why? Well, Shawn Achor, author of The Happiness Advantage points out, “Your brain is three times more creative in a positive state.”
Of course, the difficulty is that negative thinking (and the subsequent downward spiral) comes all too easily and naturally to most of us. But that’s a recipe for failure, so here are 5 top tips on staying in a positive frame of mind no matter what, and therefore being more able to tackle a disaster when it happens…
This isn’t necessarily about showing your appreciation for others, although that practise is certainly both good manners and a way of cementing good relationships which is in itself a positive. No, this is more about maintaining an attitude of thankfulness for what you have. Put simply, you have a choice of where to focus your attention and mental energy: on the negatives of the situation or the positives. Focusing on the positive buoys you up and in turn helps you tackle the less than positive situation you find yourself in. Try writing a list of 10 things that you can feel grateful for, business-related or not they’ll give you a boost.
The imagination is a strong tool. Let’s not forget that the idea for your business started in your imagination. The mind creates pictures and scenarios that in turn directly influence mood and ability. Much of the current popularity of the Law of Attraction that is enjoying so much attention is founded on positive visualization. The power of neuro-linguistic programming is similarly based in visualizations called inductions. Take a moment to recall a positive memory. Picture everything about the situation. Remember and re-experience all the positive feelings you had at that time. Now picture yourself dealing with your current situation successfully – imagine the best possible outcome and having those same positive feelings about your success.
The power of language.
Whether it’s personal goal-setting or motivating others, the words you use matter. The mind naturally focuses on the scenario you describe and, in doing so, is more likely to act it out. However, as your mind can’t really process negatives, how you describe the scenario matters. So, it’s the difference between saying, “Don’t forget your keys,” or “Remember your keys.” In the former, the brain only focuses in on forgetting the keys. The latter, however, is far more likely to result in you leaving your apartment in possession of your keys.
Remind yourself of your achievements.
Before you start strategizing and planning how to deal with whatever obstacle your business faces, take a few minutes to list your accomplishments so far. This is the positive thinking equivalent of building up some momentum before you begin. Rather than face the problem with a blank sheet of paper, you begin in the knowledge that you are and have been successful in other areas of the business… so why not this one? Believe in your ability to achieve!
Remember to breathe.
There’s a reason all those calming practises such as meditation and yoga focus on the breath. Control your breath, control your life… or at the very least, control your response to your life. Negative emotions and thinking usually go hand in hand with short, rapid, shallow breaths which apart from anything else means you’re not getting enough oxygen in your system. Deeper, longer breaths reduce tension, calm the mind, bring clarity and allow you to focus on the positives in any situation.