Hunt the good stuff
As a coach I work with many hard working, often ambitious people who want to be clear about what they want and how they’re going to get there. In a competitive world, entrepreneurs, leaders, heads of business know they must keep on going, persevere, never give up if they are to succeed. When working over long periods in this way, it’s easy to get ‘stuck’ in a pattern of keeping their head down, focusing on the targets and being extra aware of obstacles or challenges that might get in the way of success.
This can be exhausting and create a mindset where they only notice the negatives in every situation. What might go wrong? What if it doesn’t work? It could be better. This treadmill of negatives, in turn has a negative effect on our state of mind. Everything feels stressful, everything looks bleak. Everything they do, no matter how good, will never be good enough. It’s as if there’s an invisible whip that just keeps on pushing them forward, punishing them if they get anything wrong. Often, this way of thinking also affects those around them, as they pick up on negatives and mistakes, rarely noticing things that have been done well or that should be celebrated. This mentality often spreads into their private life.
This is not a great way to live and work.
Hunt the good stuff
As a coach, I challenge clients on this negative treadmill to step off a moment and recalibrate. It’s natural for humans to notice and remember negatives – we seem to be pre-programmed to do so (read about negativity bias here).
As soon as we become aware of our tendency, we can start to do something about it. Making an effort to “Hunt the good stuff” (Martin Seligman writes about this in his book ‘Flourish’), can lift the mood and lighten the weight. With practise (change is rarely easy), we can train our minds to actively search for positive aspects in situations. This doesn’t mean we stop being dedicated to our project or business, it doesn’t mean we ‘take our eye off the ball’, or that we become naive or unaware of challenges, but it does mean we will find more pleasure in our work and life, as well as be easier to live and work with.
To begin with, it’s important to notice the tendency for seeing the bad stuff. Just notice these thoughts and let them go.
Every morning when you wake up or as you brush your teeth, and as you go to sleep in the evening, make an effort to think of 2 or 3 good things that will happen / have happened. No matter how small, they are important.
Getting into this routine, will hopefully mean you start thinking of good stuff during the day. It might help to encourage others to do this, so that the “hunting the good stuff” idea spreads.
Start small and as you get the hang of it, let the good stuff take over. Clients find it transforms their thinking and makes everything a little more enjoyable.