Sunday, September 19th, 2010
Have you ever noticed how positive people are more resilient?
Lately I’ve been thinking about the importance of attitude. Back in 2009, I put myself on a no complaining diet for 30 days. It was a tough and enlightening experience. I realized how much I complained and that I needed to do something to change.
After looking back on my career, I realized how much my complaining has affected my productivity. Whenever I complained, I would wreck my confidence. I used to get so down on myself that I couldn’t do any meaningful work. I thought it was just the way I worked. I did busy work that didn’t challenge me or demand me to be creative.
At one point my complaining was so bad that I caught myself complaining about gifts that I received from generous friends and family. It was a splash of cold water down my back. I was sabotaging my own happiness.
I knew it wasn’t helping my career or my personal life, so I vowed to make some changes.
That’s when I put myself on the no complaining diet. It was one of the best 30 day trials I’ve ever experimented with.
What I learned
My complaining focused my thoughts and feelings on what I didn’t like about a situation and never opened my mind to the positive in the situation.
No job is perfect, but I was avoiding hard work because of the possible negatives that could come out of the situation. I debated whether I should try to develop a new project or check my email instead. My email always came first.
Checking my email was a crutch I kept falling back on again and again. I knew I had to stay busy to avoid depression, but I wasn’t working any smarter.
I realized that I was complaining about myself before I even started a project. I would complain about the work and the possible mistakes that might occur. This negative attitude kept me from engaging with my work and my co-workers.
The no complaining trial helped me understand the kryptonite effect that my complaining had on my attitude, and I figured out ways to focus my energy on building my confidence through positivity.
I needed to develop tools to help me build a more positive attitude. Over the past year and a half I’ve used 5 tools to build my confidence and develop a more positive attitude.
1. Create a Happiness Plan
Every person who cares about his or her life should have a happiness plan. When you are happy, you are less susceptible to heart disease and you’re more creative. That means you need to figure out how to be happier. Yes, it does take a little work, but a simple plan can make a big difference.
If you want to learn more about creating a happiness plan then click the link and you’ll discover how to set up a plan that fits your needs.
The biggest improvement to my career happiness has been keeping a one sentence journal. It helps me assess my career and make adjustments.
You have to figure out what problems you keep running into and how you can improve the way you respond to them. Reflection is a much underused skill. The more you understand how to improve your attitude, the more you can cultivate a resilient mind.
2. Understand How You Transition Between Tasks
I’ve talked about transitioning between tasks before because this is a personal development opportunity that is often ignored.
When you finish an email, what is the next thing you do?
You probably just go to the next task. This is a bad habit. If you can create the habit of taking a few seconds to celebrate your previous task, then you can create a more positive attitude for your next task.
3. Know Your Kryptonite
There are certain tasks that will drain your energy. The more you can tune into this feeling, the less likely you are to subject yourself to these tasks.
Yes, there will be times when you’ll have to do work that you don’t like. It’s a part of every business. You can’t escape it. The idea is to do more fun stuff than crappy stuff throughout your day. Every person’s balance is different. You’ll have to discover what works for you.
The best way to do this is to create a routine. Can you figure out when to do your creative work that fits into your hot spot (the time of day that you have the most energy)? If you love to write and you are at your best in the morning, then block out this time to get into the writing zone. Use the afternoon to do the work that drains you, just take time to do some fun stuff in between to keep your energy at a high level.
4. Levity Your Face Off
Many of us take our careers too seriously. We don’t take the time to laugh at ourselves and the situations we are in. If you really take the time to look at your life, it’s very funny.
A friend taught me how to create a little levity when I’m feeling overwhelmed. Let’s say you have a client who is breathing down your neck and is being unreasonable. A good technique is to say (out loud) what is happening and after each sentence say “ha, ha, ha.” This will allow you to create some emotional space between you and the situation.
5. Stay Curious
You want to believe that you are curious, but are you really? Do you ask your co-worker questions about why they do what they do? Do you ask a client to explain how they came up with a certain concept? You just want to do your work. It’s easier to dive into work then the messy world of digging for more information.
You need to think about what you need to learn from a situation then figure out who can teach you the ropes.
I’ve been stuck in ruts before when I have stopped being curious. What a huge mistake! I was writing boring stuff and no one was feeling the love. I was flopping around like a fish on a rusty deck. When I hit my lowest I began to ask people on Twitter some questions. I asked them what they did to stay motivated. The answers weren’t as important as my own curiosity.
You need to start asking the right questions. The questions that make you want to dig deeper. Once you dig a little deeper, you can find out what the core problem is and that’s where you can turn your attitude toward a more positive direction. One that will get you taking action on the problem.
I haven’t completely stopped complaining, but I have reduced my complaining by at least 80%. Because of this 30 day trial, my career has bloomed.
Because of my attitude shift I’ve been asked to do more events. Recently, Amway contacted me to be a part of a project that I want to share with you.
Share Your Positivity with the World
Amway has put together a fantastic contest. They want people to tell their amazing stories. There will be a $10,000 winner and 9 $2,500 winners. Check out Amway’s Positivity Project Facebook Page and website.
To get you started they ask a few questions that might help you get your creative juices flowing:
> Has the power of positive affected your life?
> Have your positive actions had an impact on others?
> Has positivity impacted the life of someone you know?
> Has someone else’s positivity had a profound impact on you?
> How might you spread positivity to others if given the opportunity?
Amway wants people to tell a story of how positivity makes a difference in people’s lives. Make sure your entry is awesome and you will have a good chance.
Full Disclosure: Amway flew me in to visit their facility in Michigan. They interviewed me and other experts in the positivity field. This trip proved to me that Amway is dedicated to creating a more positive society. The Amway founders were very philanthropic, so it really fits into their mission. Check out the video they put together highlighting my mission of bringing superpower development to small business owners. I see a lot of mistakes, but overall I have to say, I did a good job.
Good luck! Just think: $10,000 to forward your cause. That’s some sweet cash.
* Need help leveraging your superpowers? Then check out my Superpower Coaching to see how I can help you become happier, more productive, and less stressed out.
* Evita of Evolving Beings talks about living out dreams through conscious and focused intention. I believe that we attract into our lives what we feel we deserve. Evita she deserves beauty and life provides. Click here to check out her post.
Image courtesy of bluekdesign