Changing Your Thoughts and Actions

Right now is a very interesting time for us in the world. I’m sure many of you can think of different words than “interesting”. Let’s see…what are the words we’re hearing: “Downturn”, “crisis”, “loss”, “doom”, “things will never be the same” or “this is just the beginning, things are about to get worse”.

Everywhere we turn we are inundated by messages and comments that are all based on fear and lack. We’re being run by it. Someone said to me recently, if unemployment is at x%, that still means that x% are employed. Yes, unemployment higher than it’s been in a very long time. The point, however, is to notice what we’re focusing on here….lack and scarcity.

Now before I go on, let me say that I am not dismissing or belittling the difficult situation that many people are in. Many have lost their jobs and their homes. Some are just about to. That’s a reality. But with each situation that we’re in, we all have a choice of how to react. It’s how we navigate this time for ourselves that can create a different experience.

Ask yourself this question: In order to reach the goals that you have and feel more fulfilled, how would it serve you best to BE during this time?

You can choose to see things as dismal, experience panic, feel the doom and be a victim of the situation. That’s one possibility. You can also experience this time with optimism, hope, a necessary time of change and transition, the kick you needed to try something new or do something different.

As a manager, you can choose how to be with your team. Are you holding back information that may be creating more anxiety or are you providing regular updates about the current realities? Remember that what’s not being said can easily trump what is being said. People feel when words and actions are not aligned.

When I coach my clients, I get very curious about how this is affecting them. I clearly see the impact of how this choice – the choice of who and how they are being – impacts their lives. Bottom line: when you are clear and aware, you are able to more easily navigate change and take the necessary actions to achieve results.

Here’s one client’s experience shifting her mind:

“Heidi did a fantastic job in helping me to objectively look at how I was interacting with the zany world around me and where my interactions might have been holding me back or creating unnecessary noise or negativity. We were able to set goals for how I wanted ultimately be showing up, and then set strategies and establish the skills to make sure that that message was coming through my interactions in the world. What a difference it’s made in how people react to me, and the richness with which I see relationships all around me.”
– Senior Analyst – Franklin Templeton

If you’re committed to shifting your mindset, try some of these exercises listed below:

For you: Try some of these exercises listed below.

– Begin to notice the negative thoughts, patterns and beliefsthat you have throughout the day. Count the number of negative and fearful thoughts you have in a one hour period. Even on a good day, you’ll be amazed. Then begin doing whatever it takes to shift your belief and the energy to focus on the positive.

– Notice the impact that negative comments from others, the media etc have on you. How does this affect the way you feel about your own life? Watch how quickly your brain turns these general comments into a potential reality for you.

– Bring yourself back to the present as a reality check. Most of our fear and scarcity lies in what might happen. Become conscious of what’s true for you now and in this moment. Make decisions from that place.

For you and your team:

As a manager it is critical to increase your communication during uncertain times and changing environments.

Consider these tactics:

– Be more transparent and acknowledge the emotions that your team may be experiencing. You can significant reduce anxiety and increase employee buy-in to change by telling the truth. People experience what’s true. Your confirmation will earn their trust and you’ll stand out as a stronger leader.

– Evaluate your current communication channels and increase your method and frequency. Tell people when and how they’ll get updates and what’s going to happen. Will you have more weekly meetings? Send more emails? Check in one on one with more regularity?

Finally, let me humbly say that I am by no means a master at this task. I have moments where I find myself fully run by fear and scarcity. There’s no doubt about it. (I have friends that are probably reading this now and thinking of times when I should have been coaching myself.) But what I do know is that the more I am aware of what’s running me, the more quickly I can shift that belief. And when I shift that belief to optimism, hope, gratitude and appreciation, it has a tremendously different impact on my life. And it also makes it a lot more fun and fulfilling along the way.

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