Updated: Jun 28
We've all been through a difficult time over the last few months.
Some more than others, it's true.
But for all of us, the world will never be quite the same again:
watching people shaking hands on The Repair Shop makes me wince slightly 😬
the idea of going on an aeroplane is scary, but in a very different way than when I used to get panic attacks 😱
and I hope I will never take full supermarket shelves for granted again...
But, although coronavirus is still out there, the world is now moving into a different phase.
We've been through the shock of the change - now it's time for you to build a brilliant future in this new world.
Now is the time to think about what you really want from your career over the next 6 months.
So this week's blog is all about 3 steps you can take that will help you let go of what has gone before, and to move forward with positivity.
This is the first in a new series of blogs on goals in the run-up to the half-way point of the year, so that you can #Finish2020Strong! 😃
1. Look back, and recognise the good
Studies have shown you are more likely to remember negative events than positive ones. This is called the "negativity bias".
So it's important to consciously identify the positive from the recent past - so that you can remember it, learn from it, and cultivate a positive mindset to take you forward.
This was the purpose of my blog last week:
🌟 a chance for us all to review the last few months, recognise what we've achieved, and think about what positive lessons or habits we can take forward into our new future.
My proudest achievement was that I've survived the juggle: my family and business are both thriving, and I haven't collapsed making that possible! 😃
And my positive habits going forward:
I've been reminded of the amazing power of time-blocking, and ruthless prioritisation.
I have discovered a love for group coaching, which will be continuing (read on to find out more...).
And my life has been transformed by my new habit of listening to my loving kindness meditation, which I've achieved by allocating it a specific time in my day (after lunch - ie habit stacking). Even when my daughter's back at school, this will become part of my new routine, so that I can save some of my energy for my family at the end of the working day.
So, the first step for you (if you haven't done this yet): what GOOD do you want to take with you from the last few months?
There will have been some, no matter how hard it's been...
2. Let go of the bad
We know that the brain will serve up more negative memories to you than positive ones.
And studies have shown that the more we try to push these negative memories away, the more they come back.
One scientist (Wegner) was inspired by a Dostoevsky quote:
"Try to pose for yourself this task: not to think of a polar bear, and you will see that the cursed thing will come to mind every minute."
He asked a group of participants to talk randomly while trying not to think of a white bear (they failed, thinking of the white bear on average once a minute).
He then asked them to actively think about a white bear while talking, and noted how often they did - and compared this with a second group who had ONLY been asked to think about a white bear (ie they hadn't been asked NOT think about one first).
The first group thought about a white bear MORE than the second one - indicating that those 5 minutes of pushing the thought away actually caused the thought to rebound even more strongly.
So what can we do, instead of trying to suppress the bad memories?
Accept them, and let them go (Elsa got that right...)
Here are two suggestions to help with this:
🌟 Over the longer-term, meditating can train your brain to go of thoughts: you learn to see them as a river, or clouds, flowing through your mind rather than taking up residence.
But there is a quicker way for when those thoughts pop up:
🌟 Imagine the negative thought in front of you. Imagine its form, shape, colour, texture, sound, brightness, and the feeling of it.
🌟 Then make it dark and fuzzy, so you can hardly see it. Silence any sound. Pinch it with your fingers to shrink it to the size of a raisin. And finally flick it away with your finger to the left.
This process makes use of the way the brain stores memories: important memories we remember in technicolour, and huge. Unimportant memories are tiny and dim.
With this process you are telling your brain, "this memory is unimportant". It will then file it that way - which means it won't keep bringing it back...
Have a go - it really works... 😊
3. Allow yourself to dream!
How many times have you had an idea, only to think the next second,
"well, that won't work..."
And your tiny seedling of an idea is stamped to death before it gets a chance to flourish.
That "critic" part of our brain is so strong: we are so good at thinking of all the things that could go wrong.
It's natural, in a way: there's fear of failure involved; there's fear of the unknown, of taking risks...
But this "critic" can stop us from dreaming big.
One study showed that Walt Disney had a particular approach to creativity.
His staff said about him:
"you never knew which Walt would walk into the room".
Because he had three distinct ways of thinking - and he didn't allow them to interact:
So try this exercise to help you think about your goals for the rest of 2020 as creatively as possible.
First, think of a time when you've been really creative, when you've felt your imagination on fire and the ideas have been coming thick and fast.
(I promise, there will have been a time like this - it may not be recent, but we are all born creative so it will be in there somewhere... And if you're really struggling, imagine being inside the head of someone you think is really creative - whether that’s Picasso, Beyonce or Lionel Messi.)
Step into that memory. Really be in that moment, feel what it feels like to have those creative juices flowing through your veins.
Then allow yourself to dream about where you would like to be by the end of the year. Imagine New Year’s Eve, and you’re looking back across 2020 - what have you achieved by then? What does it feel like to have achieved those dreams?
Allow the inspiration to come freely! And if a thought comes in that’s critical (“you could never achieve that!”) or even logically negative (“that would take more money/ time/ skill than you actually have”), just say thank you, but this is not the time for you, this is Dreamer time.
And when you feel like you’ve got some amazing inspiration for what you want to achieve by the end of the year, open your eyes and write your dreams down.
Obviously you WON’T be able to achieve all of these - no-one has a magic wand, not even me…
But you now have a list of possibilities that you would never have got, if you hadn’t allowed yourself to stay in Dreamer.
So enjoy the process, and enjoy the feeling of optimism and positivity this will give you.
By the end of these 3 Steps, you will have cleared the past, and laid an inspiring and motivating foundation for your future actions over the next 6 months.
In next week's blog we will be looking at turning these dreams into actionable goals…
And if you would like support in achieving those goals...
I am launching a new Group Coaching Programme, #Finish2020Strong.
This will help you:
✅ refine your goals so they are truly actionable
✅ hold you to account so that you do what you need to do to achieve them!
✅ and provide support and inspiration on the way, with powerful mindset and productivity tips.
It will start in July, so if you’re interested, email me on firstname.lastname@example.org to be put on the waiting list for the launch 😃
I can’t wait to get going, so that I can help you #Finish2020Strong 💪
Wishing you and yours a creative and inspiring week! 💖
p.s. to download the FREE loving kindness meditation I mentioned above (to help you focus on the positives, and let go of the negatives), please click here 🌟