If I asked you what was currently stopping you from thriving in your life, would you know the answer? For me, there are 4 ways to stay positive regardless of what life throws at you. Those are the 4 things I want to share with you today.
I’ve had the pleasure of speaking with a wide range of people, all from different backgrounds and positions. Common answers I see are money, material possessions and sometimes, blaming their troubles on others:
“I can’t do X or Y because of this person”
Unfortunately, finding the true answer to this question requires more than a surface-level response. Similarly to how we struggle to understand ourselves if we don’t first learn how our brain works.
We can learn a lot from neuroscience but one important factor for everyday life is understanding that there is something bigger going on in your brain.
Our actions are representative of our thoughts and emotions.
If something makes us feel uneasy, scared or frightened we will simply try to avoid doing it at all costs. Trouble is, these tasks could be what is needed to push you forward, help you grow and to thrive.
Tasks that make us anxious cause us to enter a worried state. These thoughts circulate through our mind and prevent us from taking the action we need to. To start, we need to get these thoughts out of our head and into the open.
Ways to regain composure and look forward to the future
Writing down the thoughts that worry us is the first step to identifying exactly what is preventing us from thriving.
External influences like a pandemic can bring these fears to the surface. Negative thinking can bring about stress and can be a further detriment to your success.
Identifying what is holding you back is only the first part of the puzzle. If you have been feeling stuck, unsuccessful, anxious, worried or otherwise unlike yourself for a while, it is likely you are doing things in your life that are attributing to that feeling.
I have put together some key elements and tasks below that I believe will help you combat your worries and help you thrive, even when the world feels like it is crumbling down around you.
1) Stop Comparing Yourself to Others
Comparing yourself to others is top of the list because we all do it in some way.
It’s harmless to look at what other people are doing, their lives and compare them to where you are… right?
Trouble is, we are looking at what they have and what we don’t.
We invest so much time and energy into other people’s lives when in reality, that energy should go towards bettering our own. This can often lead us to resent those that seem to have more than us. It can also lead to us feeling like nothing we do matters.
More seriously, it can lead us to believe that we aren’t making a significant impact on the world or our own life.
“A flower does not think of competing to the flower next to it. It just blooms.” – Zen Shin
We often forget that these comparisons are not completely accurate. In essence, you are comparing your work in progress to their highlights. You aren’t seeing their behind the scenes.
A huge following on Instagram, a luxurious house and photos of holidays does not mean that they face no real-world problem. These possessions don’t guarantee happiness.
Happiness comes from within. It’s something only you can determine and seek out.
2) Put Your Goals in the Spotlight
Goals are a powerful motivator and help us keep track of what we are trying to achieve.
If, however, your goals remain in your brain, you’re less likely to achieve them. In fact, you are significantly more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down and share them with a trusted friend.
Writing out your goals doesn’t have to mean a multipage action plan. Whilst it certainly can be that, I’ve found setting a big, hairy, audacious goal (BHAG) to be an effective strategy for me and my business.
The concept of a BHAG is to create a long-term goal that seems insurmountable. One that you may never achieve.
A good reference for this would be a man walking on the moon.
This forces you to look at the decisions you are making, the people you are building relationships with and align everything to your one goal. Should you stop here with goal setting?
Of course not.
Your BHAG is something that will be continuous for years to come. Yet, having it in place doesn’t necessarily direct the immediate areas of your life. This is where smaller goals come into play.
Setting smaller, more achievable goals gives you something to work towards immediately.
Identifying ways you can increase your income is the first step if money is a worry for you. From there, look at ways you can earn more. Does it require you to focus on a promotion? A side job? Spending more time on lead generation?
Whatever it may be, setting clear, measurable goals will help you feel more in control.
3) Create and Leverage a Support Network
It’s not uncommon for individuals to seek accountability groups to aid them in achieving their goals, completing tasks or seeking out success.
A support network is a little bit different.
These people need not be others in your area of business, nor do they need to be colleagues. The crucial element here is having people in this network that you trust. True support can only come from those that understand and trust you.
When we go through periods of feeling lost, emotionally drained or feeling like everything is hopeless, it’s rare that these feelings disperse in a week. Realistically, these feelings may continue for a month or two, even if we commit to improving on them immediately.
You can only alter your environment so much until external factors outside of your control begin to take an impact. Other peoples actions, world events and your health are for the most part, outside of your control.
This support network enables you to talk authentically to those that are close to you, allowing you to tackle problems, find solutions and get on top of what’s troubling you.
One thing to keep in mind is that whilst your support network can be formal, it doesn’t have to be. There are those that are looking to form a supportive network for the reasons listed above, however, the same can be achieved simply by having a tightknit group of friends.
The key to managing these groups is to understand what works for you. Not everyone is comfortable being open with a group of strangers looking to support you. In those instances, speaking to these groups could create more worry than it helps.
These groups can also aid with your emotional resilience, allowing you to tackle problems in the future more easily.
4) Take Action
Have you heard of the Zeigarnik Effect?
In short, it shows that we remember tasks that were interrupted or otherwise incomplete in more clarity than those that are finished.
It explains why we have a tendency to continuously think about tasks that we left unfinished. If you have tried to work on a new goal but couldn’t help think about that one task you left half-completed, that’s the Zeigarnik effect in play.
Why am I telling you this?
Depending on how you look at the Zeigarnik effect, it could be seen as positive or negative. For me, I find that it’s a positive. My brain is actively wanting to finish the tasks I set out to achieve. The constant refreshers are a reminder, not a hindrance. Although I can see how people see it as the latter.
It’s clear that our brain hates leaving things unfinished.
That further explains why we feel sluggish, negative and like we have failed when we don’t see a task through to the end.
Taking action is ingrained in our biology. It started with the cavemen making tools from stones and continues to the present when we decide to work towards any task. If we don’t act, nothing moves forward…
Procrastination seems to be strongest when we are trying to start a task. Once we are past that hurdle, the Zeigarnik effect lingers over us to make sure we get that task done.
Taking action is always the first step. A way to make that easier is to create a systematic approach to completing the task you set out to do. It could be creating a step by step outline of what you need to do and in what order.
It could be as simple as creating stop points, allowing you to focus on other tasks knowing that when you return, you can pick it back up immediately where you left off.
Whenever “take action” is recommended, I find that there is less focus on why you should and more focus on just do it. How your brain functions in these moments are crucial to understanding how to set yourself up for success.
Continue to Thrive
It can be easy to curl up when the world is crumbling around you.
Fortunately, there are many things you can do to pull yourself out of the rubble and back onto the ladder of success. Learning to thrive when things are tough is essential for sustaining a positive outlook on life.
If you are struggling to cope with changes happening in your life or the world and want to climb out of the rubble, reach out and schedule a free discovery call with me here.