Updated: Jun 28, 2020
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... 😊