Don't Worry Be Happy
I am sure if you are anything like me you are worried, uncomfortable and uncertain of what's in store for us all in the coming months.
Last night for the first time in months I woke up in a cold sweat and feeling anxious, thinking about the coming months, post covid 19.
A Lot of questions flooded my mind, everything from finances to my kids' education, our students and how we roll out the academy, what will the impact of social distancing be on salon culture and revenue? The list goes on and on and you can fill in the blanks for yourself!
Years ago I participated in, and later coached, the Dale Carnegie courses. Dale Carnegie was one of the founders of human development and potential and was active in this field up until his death in 1955, and he has a lot of great insight into worry. You can read all about it in his book “How to Stop Worrying and Start Living”. I’m using this week’s blog to synthesize his massive body of work on the subject into what I hope are digestible tidbits for you to remember and apply to your life.
Manage Expectations Well
I find this idea to be a crucial one in managing mental wellness, and happiness. Isn’t it true that the source of every upset is an unfulfilled expectation? Are you creating inflated expectations, expecting too much of yourself or others? Planning for a lower set of expectations to be met allows you more room for positive surprise. Think of it this way; if you plan for the worst, anything else will cause less stress and worry, and maybe even feel like a win.
Are you looking at the facts?
We humans love a good story and we will apply meaning to just about everything. Before giving in to worry, make sure you get clear on the facts. Separate fact from fiction. Find someone who won't align with your story, who will challenge it, along with the meaning you’ve assigned it and your assumptions. We humans will gravitate to people who will agree with us, and benefit greatly from an outside perspective from someone who sees things just a little differently and can shake us from our own narrative.
You can choose your thoughts
Repetitive thought patterns are easy to fall into, but they won't change anything. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result. You can be conscious of your own thoughts - use that! Don’t let your negative thoughts use you! Everything is a choice, and you are your thoughts. Is the glass half empty or half full? Perspective is everything.
Authenticity and Gratitude
Be authentic - this is when we are most powerful as people. Pay it forward, be kind to people. And when the most authentic version of yourself does something for someone else - expect ingratitude. People are busy in their own worlds and you don’t need their validation anyway.
Just do it because you think it's the right thing to do. It is very hard to get stuck in worry and anxiety when you put your focus on creating good for others. When someone is kind to you, be conscious of meeting that with gratitude. Model the behaviour you want to see in others!
Take time to Reflect and Set Intentions
When faced with worry, sit quietly and reflect on the who, the what, and the why. Forgive and forget. Focus on loving-kindness to all. Get clear on what you want and what you need and then create an intention for it.
Use Criticism as Inspiration
It’s not the popular opinion, but I tend to think that people who are critical of you know you are capable of more and are noticing you not living up to your potential. This shows up personally for me as a leader. Specifically, when I don't lead at the level I am capable of.
Give your best, that is all any of us can do! What is your personal best? Can you call to mind an example in life of when you really got something handled. For me, it is when I choose to lead, get focused, and create the outcome that I want. An example was a lacrosse championship that our team won. I was the Captain of the team. I had decided that year we would be the champions. Everything I said, how I played, how I pulled everyone along was driven by that vision. It is an example of what we are all capable of in our own way. So, what of criticism that originates from within? Isn't it true that we can be our own worst critic? Of course, it is important to acknowledge and take responsibility for a mistake, but the game of fault and blame never works. Be kind to yourself! Get the learning and apply it next time you are in a similar situation. The key here is to respond well and keep moving forward.
Rest and Act
Relaxing is key. At times when I don't relax at home or work, I make more mistakes in my work and I make a mess in my relationships, both at work and at home. My creativity also suffers, do you find the same to be true for you? It’s crucial to keep this front-of-mind because, how effective is a stylist and entrepreneur who can't create?
Conversely, action is also key. Each of these things has a key role to play at a given time.
There are many times where I have dragged around a problem for sometimes months because I didn't act immediately when I could have. This lack of action has been the source of problems.
As you can see, some of these strategies will keep you from falling into a worry state before you arrive there, and others are meant to help pull you out when you do fall in. I personally find it daunting to keep this all front, centre, and usable in my life. So here’s my advice to you - write down the bold points, or print this whole post and put it somewhere where you can refer to it daily. Worry will always creep in, but you get to choose whether or not to let it overtake you.