Businesses closing, people
losing their jobs… more than a few dreams crushed in the process – plans shifted to the back burner. I know that the recruiting industry has thinned out substantially, and I’m sure the same is happening in many other realms of work.
When I look back on my life thus far, the biggest failures really had everything to do with my thinking. I’d get down… frustrated… I’d embrace a sense of defeat. In retrospect, it was very counterproductive. My life never improved when my thoughts were focused on the negative aspects of my circumstances.
So, where is the light at the end of this tunnel? How can we regain focus and purpose in order to see it through to the better times?
Plan Your Thinking
Emotions are hard to control. The whole idea that you can just “think positive” is a load of (insert desired text)! Close your eyes, imagine the good, focus on the positive things… whatever!
If you want to feel good again and gain control of your mind, develop a plan. Develop a strategy around accomplishing your goals. Do yourself the favor of having a strategy and act on it. My old boss would always say, “Fail to plan, plan to fail.” He was right. Now that I own my own businesses, I see the importance of this every single day…
So, why don’t more people take their emotions back by planning? Well, I can’t speak for everyone, but I would usually hold off from planning for two reasons. First, my fear of commiting to the plan. What if something changes? What if I can’t accomplish it? What if my idea is useless? Second… I didn’t like the way that others wanted me to plan. Use this spreadsheet, fill out this multi-tier worksheet, put together this 100 page plan… I’m way too ADD for that stuff! So, I wouldn’t do it.
Mentally mapping out your plans is good, but writing things down will provide more structure. I agree with that, but I didn’t want to do it the same ol’ way… the expert planning way.
Towards the first part of the year, I was working with Alicia Arenas on the organization of SMACK Social Media, a training curriculum that we put together for people in San Antonio. Alicia showed up to the first day of our planning with this big drawing pad. In the center she wrote “SMACK Social Media” and drew a circle around it. What followed involved the addition of many circles and connecting lines… everything leading to an idea, project or task. What resulted was a great way to see the vision, plan and path to execution. What seemed overwhelming, suddenly made more sense in my mind. She called this process mind-mapping.
Here is a “mind map” for my business so that you can see it in action.
Planning as a Method For Coping
So, you may be asking… what the hell is this guy getting to? Good question!
My point is simple. The world is complex right now for many people… perhaps you. I’ve been there and I know how it feels. I’ve adopted a method for organizing my thoughts (thanks to Alicia!) that has drastically changed my ability to reach my goals and envision the future.
I don’t care if you are mind-mapping your scrapbooking plans or your professional development path… it works for almost anything. If you have a pen and a notepad, you can start taking control of your mind. With your mind in check and a plan in place, you are much more likely to adjust your thinking towards progress and leave the realm of negativity behind. Just keep pushing!
Give it a shot, don’t give it a shot… the choice is yours. Just thought I would share what works for me.
So, how do you stay positive? Do you have a ritual? Do you plan? Endulge us with your secret sauce!