Worry VS. Positivity: Which one wins?
Be forewarned, this blog post isn’t for sissies. But if you’ve been inside the belly of the beast of your own mind, then you’ve probably seen the worst of it already. If you think you’re tough enough — I do! — then read on.
Do you want to know the real reason I talk so much about a positive mindset and motivational inspiration? It’s because <<NEWSFLASH!>> I have a dark side…
And I’ll bet you do too.
That dark side isn’t so concerned about my business, my clients, my children, my peace of mind, or anything I hold near and dear. It’s also not there because I pay too much attention to negative news, or read bad novels, or eat ice cream every so often. It has nothing to do with my intentions, my faith, my willpower, or the people I hang around. Yet it exists.
Why does the dark side exist? It exists because it’s simple human nature. You know the fable about the two wolves inside everyone: The angry, ugly, hateful wolf; and the joyful, generous, peaceful wolf.
The one that wins is the one you feed.
I never want you to beat yourself up for thinking negative thought every now and then. In fact, if a few nasty worries didn’t crop up at least once a day, you must be super-human! (Or you’re on a really fabulous spa vacation. One of the two.)
Guess what? Everyone has a dark side. Oprah, Sir Richard Branson, The Dali Lama, even Mother Teresa had a dark side. She wrote about her troubling thoughts in her diary and it was only after she passed away that anyone even knew about them. Now there’s a real hero; she managed her despairing thoughts, and simply did her work.
See, the dark side is the part of human nature that everyone possesses, but which successful, happy people don’t nurture. It’s the wolf they refuse to feed.
Every small business owner has a dark side.
Running a business is taxing for almost everyone I know. In fact, I get to meet a lot of my best clients when that dark wolf starts circling more often than the good one. They come to me to help them tame it.
Want to know the truth? I have the same wolf slinking around.
Yes, even shiny, happy business coaches whose purpose it is to inspire others to achieve their best… even I cope with that dark side — sometimes daily. But there a difference between the practice of negativity and the practice of positive thinking. Here’s how I hit the bad wolf upside the head and get on with life. And how you can, too.
Seven Ways to Combat the Practice of Negativity
- Repeat after me: List some mantras that help you release those thoughts. “No. I am not going to think that way.” Literally. This is a good practice, and an excellent place to start. Then replace those thoughts and words with positive thoughts and words. This may sound woo woo, but words have power, andI promise you, they will transform your thinking if you allow them that power.
- Meditate. There is power in meditation. Hear more about this on my podcast.
- Watch for the warning signs. Only you know what triggers the worst junk to rise to the surface. Maybe it’s a client’s question that reminds you of a really awful past client you had. Well, just stop it! With the power of your beautiful mind, release that memory. I give you permission to deal with the new client on her terms and your own (possibly new?) terms. Don’t let past experiences define your current situation. You know (at least I hope you do) that life is fluid and will teach you what you need to know. If you already learned that lesson, then trust the Universe, God, or whatever provident force you believe in, to guide you through a new experience. You owe it to yourself to discover a new path, even if your client is giving you the heebie-jeebies and reminding you of past failures. Every day is a new day and a new way of dealing with things. Trust what you’ve learned. Maybe your task is to review new ways to deal with difficult clients and train your energy not to attract those people to you anymore. Just saying.
- Learn business practices that you can do by rote. I love the fish Dorie’s mantra in Finding Nemo, and have used it more than once myself. “Just keep swimming.” Do the work you know works. If numbers center you, then turn to your books. If writing helps you focus, then write another blog post. If personal contact helps you find solid ground, then call a colleague you trust or make calls to prospects. Get your mojo through business practices that ground you, and allow yourself “wallow” on autopilot while still getting stuff done. Sometimes your most secure, good practices keep the bad stuff at bay.
- Do the work to get yourself through your subconscious thoughts and dormant beliefs. Let yourself go deeper when the same old thought comes up. Like the old child’s verse: “Can’t go over it, can’t go under it, can’t go around it, gotta go through it!” When something is really bothering you — again — then you haven’t worked through the solution well enough. You’ve probably just patched things up for awhile. Time to go deeper. What is the “good wolf” trying to tell you this time? Take a moment and see if you can summon up a new solution. Just because that dark side is up to its same old tricks again, doesn’t mean you can’t foil him anew. You may even reach out to a friend and bounce these thoughts off of an unbiased mind. A good friend or mastermind buddy will listen!
- Know that the dark side exists for your protection. Be kind to it, even though it doesn’t benefit anyone. Acknowledge that the negativity is there to keep you from harm. You have the ability to stretch yourself to a more positive direction of productivity and enjoyment. Challenge yourself, and do it!
- When all else fails, take a break. Seriously. Go smell the roses, redesign your office, read a novel, walk on the beach, volunteer somewhere. Just get your mind off the horror if you’re too upset to work. Your clients will never know, and you’ll re-emerge with some clarity and space.
Now it’s your turn. Do you have a superpower that helps you combat those nasty dark thoughts when they come up? Please share them in the comments!