In Change, Leaders

“Assume a cheerfulness you do not feel, and shortly you feel the cheerfulness you assume.” – Chinese proverb

Some days it’s hard to get our minds off of what’s wrong with our situation.  For the past couple of years, it feels like there’s actually lots of those days.  It’s easy to focus (obsess?) about everything that isn’t the way we want it, and once we go down that rabbit hole, it’s hard to get out.

One of the problems with letting that negative stuff take hold is that it takes up so much energy to be scared/angry/stressed.  Those are three of the most exhausting feelings there are.  And they’re contagious.  As leaders, when we’re consumed by what’s negative, everybody around us can feel it, and they’ll latch onto it too.

I wish it were easy to reverse that mindset, but it’s not.  If it were, we wouldn’t see so many people drowning in that negative cycle over and over again.  For some reason, it seems that it’s easier for most humans to be negative and exhausted than it is to be positive and energized.  We need to make a change.

Like any other change, adjusting your mindset requires you to be intentional.  You can’t just hope it happens.  You have to be purposeful.  And you have to start simple.  You can’t expect to do some incredibly complex mental exercise for twenty hours a day for five years to get results.  It has to be something relatively easy, something that isn’t a huge burden, but still has an impact.

I’m not a psychologist, but I’m around a lot of people in leadership roles, and I’ve seen some individuals who are very good at keeping their mindset healthy and constructive.  One thing they make sure to do is to keep positive things in front of them.

That might mean making a list of all the things that are great about their organization and looking at it every day.  It might mean writing down what the benefits will be to a change they’re in the middle of, and then reviewing it daily to remind themselves why they’re working so hard.  It might mean writing down the names of individuals who are important to you and thinking every day about how fortunate you are to have them around.

There’s no easy button, and if it’s bad enough you may need professional help.  At the very least, be aware of your mindset on a daily basis, because whatever it is, it will spread to others.  And then your problems will be exponentially worse.  Make a change today.

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