We all know that the economy is bad and things are tough! Many people are out of work and many more are afraid they will loose the job they have. Given this poor economic environment, it is crucial that you keep a positive attitude. The last thing you want to do now is get a negative attitude or become "paralyzed" by fear! Don't be like the woman, who although she was doing well on her job, became so preoccupied with the thought of being laid off that it started to affect her performance. She stopped performing at her best level. It became a self-fulfilling prophecy; her "fear paralysis" did indeed lead to her being laid off.
How do you stay positive and motivated? Simply thinking and saying "I'm going to be positive and have a great attitude" doesn't do it. Motivational quotes, posters, or notes on your computer or desk help, but they alone can't keep you motivated. You have to work at staying positive and motivated ... every day. It's not easy. You have to take deliberate action to have a positive attitude. You can't just think about being positive, you have to act!
10 Action Steps to Keep a Positive Attitude:
1. Don't fall into the "misery loves company" syndrome: If you find yourself participating in a "pity party" at work, politely excuse yourself. These parties are a fantastic drain on your time and energy, and they don't solve any problems.
2. Avoid "poison" people: You know who they are! They are the ones who are always complaining, being negative, or are quick to criticize your ideas. Since you may not want to totally eliminate them from your life, just arrange things so you only have to deal with them in small "doses."
3. Don't watch too much TV: When you're stressed or feeling down, a planned few minutes of watching TV can turn into hours.
4. Spend time with your kids, family, and friends: Instead of spending hours with the TV, rearrange your schedule and give some of that time to family and friends. I have young kids who think I am the "human crane." Pick them up, carry them, and twirl them, you name it, I do it. I must admit there were times when all I really wanted to do was just sit on the sofa, but my kids wouldn't let me. The amazing part, though, was that I always felt better each time after being exhausted.
5. Take a half-hour to an hour a day to motivate yourself: Read motivational books or listen to motivational tapes. I highly recommend the following:
a. What Makes the Great Great by Dennis Kimbro
b. Over the Top by Zig Ziglar
c. The Aladdin Factor by Jack Canfield & Mark V. Hansen
d. The Power of Focus by Canfield, Hansen, Hewitt
e. Live Your Dreams by Les Brown
f. If It's Going To Be, It's Up To Me by Robert Schuller
g. The Bible
6. Take an hour a day to become an expert: I got this idea from one Jack Canfield's tapes, where he talks about how you can take one hour a day to become an expert in your area or develop other marketable skills. You don't have to exhaust yourself trying to "cram" in new skills or expertise. An hour a day will get you where you want to be quicker than you think.
7. Try new things: Overcome the fear (i.e., fear of failure, rejection, or pain)! When you're learning or doing a new sport or hobby, you don't think about what's bothering you. Last year, I tried snow skiing for the first time, and now I am hooked! Believe me, when I let one of my daughters (who had taken lessons) talk me into going down a "blue" hill on my first day, I wasn't thinking about my "problems" while I was tumbling down half the mountain! My daughter later told the whole family how she had never seen anyone fall the way Daddy did.
8. Exercise: We all know about the physical benefits of exercising, but to me that's just a side benefit. The real payoff of exercise is the mental stress relief. When you're "gasping for air," your thoughts are very simple. Most important, regardless of how badly you may feel when you start exercising, you will always feel better when you're done.
9. Pray: It doesn't matter what your religion is or beliefs are, you need to pray to ask for the help and guidance you need. I'm not an expert in this area, but I know it works!
10. Reward Yourself: Set small goals or steps, and reward yourself on each accomplishment. Don't constantly worry or "burn-out," take time to relax and "smell the roses."
The key is to get your mind off your problems, and give yourself time to re-energize. The single biggest discovery I've made about staying positive is that you have to take action at your worst moments. When you feel so miserable that all you want to do is crawl under a rock, stare at the TV, eat ice cream, or sleep, that is the precise moment you either read (or listen to) something motivational, exercise, or spend time with your kids, family, or friends. Shortly after making this discovery, I was at church and as part of his sermon, our minister said "you may be having problems in your life, like financial or marital problems, that are overwhelming you, but when you are feeling your worst, that is time you need to pray and read your bible." At that moment, I knew I was on the right track. There have been times when I had to force myself to exercise or read, and no matter how badly I felt when I started, it helped. Did doing these things solve all my problems immediately? Of course not, but they helped me to maintain the positive attitude I needed to keep trying. Above all else, remember that "this, too, shall pass."
Roland D. Nolen is an author and motivational speaker on career success and diversity issues. He is the author of the book, Beyond Performance: What Employees Really Need to Know to Climb the Success Ladder. He can be reached at 630-665-4797, firstname.lastname@example.org, or you can visit his website: http://www.rnolen.com.