Logic dictates that when things are going well, we feel better about ourselves and when things are not we don’t. Both are reactionary in that the messages we are choosing to send to ourselves are related to life events or situations that may or may not be within our control. But if you want to become more aware, an important first step is to recognize the emotional patterns we are creating by allowing these messages to shape our beliefs about ourselves and our abilities.
For me my positive attitude prevails the loudest, clearest and strongest not when things are going well, but just the opposite. I seem to muster quite consistently an amazing attitude when things are tough honestly, and struggle more to see life equally, and as consistently, as positively and full of possibilities when things are going swimmingly well.
When the chips are down, I find myself saying to myself “ your truest character shines through in your darkest hour and that’s far more important than what is happening right now.” This alone has caused me to carry through pretty much all of them with a clear vision and a strategy; and with my head held high and my super woman cape ready for heroic feats attached to my back. But give me a long string of positivity and I start asking myself ‘’When is the rainbow going to fade away?’
I have the ability to design my destiny. I can choose differently.
It was Katia Verresen, who counsels leaders at Facebook, Stanford, Airbnb, Twitter, and a number of prominent startups, talking about this very thing in an article sent to me by a dear friend, that reminded me of my need to continue to buckle down and work smart to improve my sense of well being- my self talk and attitude- on both my good and bad days minute by minute, day by day.
“You’re not going to build a billion dollar business on a string of bad days. It has to be a sequence of your very best days,” she says. “Your performance is tied 100% to your attitude.”
And indeed, it is.
So what goes into making a great attitude keep on running even when things are good or even when they are not?
Tony Robbins once remarked that he felt his success is due to the fact that he is able to control his emotions. How we react to a situation is usually based on how we feel about ourselves and what we think we deserve.
Early in her work with a client, Verresen will give them a scarcity vs. abundant thinking diagnostic. You can do one for yourself and rate yourself here. The goal is to separate out and identify the physiology, feelings and thoughts you experience when you’re in a scarcity-driven mindset vs. what you experience when you’re thinking abundantly. Being able to do this will help you truly feel the distinction and notice the tipping point between these two modes in your everyday life if you do. It’s a challenge for sure. I myself have been working on it for years and definitely have figured out a lot about my triggers; but if I want a shot at reaching the moon, I need to do even better.
Feeling your life is full of possibilities and abundance is really about your ability to see more in your life:
More options, more choices, more resources. And that starts with noticing more,” says Verresen. “You never have the full story. If you’re in a meeting, there are as many realities as there are people in the room. There’s always a different way to see something.”
And that’s the other part of ‘The Problem’: Your problem and mine. We’re biologically wired NOT to notice things. So here is the deal, you have to devote time to noticing. Because when you do, new doors open. Serendipity accelerates. You feel like the universe is conspiring to support you. But really, you’re just not limiting yourself anymore.
And then there is this little thing called Suspending Your Judgments. I learned how to do it in the last decade well and practiced a lot to get here for probably 5 years before that. Some people call this Beginner’s Mind, but the concept extends beyond embracing ignorance — it’s the capacity to release judgments and assumptions about everyone and everything. It surely takes you off of the life ‘roller coaster ride’ of high’s and lows because you begin to see that the world is not fair or unfair. It simply is. The more you can suspend judgment, the more you can learn from what neither blind optimism or safe pessimism brings. The more you learn you are more than the judgements that you held on to. The more you can recognize that the world is a complicated mess of many different points of view, contradictions, opinions and voices, and that they all of them are true simultaneously. By seeing through neutrality you open up your power base and growth potential.
Another key aspect is Priming.
“If your attitude dictates the information your eyes are able to see (or what your mind thinks they see), then you have to prime your mental state to see more — it’s just as important as flossing,” says Verresen.
Priming is engaging in any activity that boosts your emotional and mental energy. Sleeping right, eating well and exercising are part of it, of course, but it can also be something as small as taking 5 minutes to look at photos that make you happy. Know thyself and what makes you turn your positive attitude on is key.
And remember to be compassionate towards yourself. Honor and acknowledge your pain and that you are human. Studies have shown that self-compassion is correlated with much greater grit.
Also be generous. Research also shows that the most powerful and happy people are at the center of large networks constantly giving to their connections. This is how you grow a tribe — by being generous with your currency, whether it’s valuable introductions, technical skill, editing abilities, being a good listener etc. Don’t fall into the trap of feeling like you have nothing to offer others. You have a ton: attention, presence, kindness, knowledge, and access to resources that others can benefit from.
And finally be grateful. Gratitude is the muscle that makes miracles happen.
According to Verresen, looking at your world through a lens of gratitude reveals what might be hidden right in front of you. Myriad studies have shown that consistently and proactively practicing gratitude can rewire the brain and have lasting side-effects.
The ideal life changing attitude is Abundant Thinking — a mindset that gives you permission to take creative license to reach for your vision — and, on a daily basis, to have the grit to design your own life.
It’s going to take consistency to build trust and speed at doing it too. When you do something consistently, you work in the interest of the long-term. You resist being reactive. So do something that moves you toward your goals every day that will give you the built-in resilience you need to succeed on your good days and equally on your bad.
I am having a lot more good days then bad and so can you. I let go of the toxic people and situations in my life long ago and have worked hard, and will continue to work, on my attitude. I am determined to climb up the steepest part of the mountain using my own free will. Will you join me? It does not have to be lonely at the top. There is plenty of room for you too to enjoy the amazing view and to prosper equally. No one has to save you a spot either, as long as you do.
To your highest purpose and best self friends.
Do you know a woman who is making change happen in her community? Like my new facebook page, Women Making Change Happen, and tell me who she is.