By David Grieve, Leadership and Performance Coach
We’ve all stood there, in front of the mirror, provoking a jolt of positive feeling to pick ourselves up and go after it, haven’t we? Whatever is going on, whether it’s to convince ourselves we look better than we feel, or to get over nerves for our next meeting, we’ve all faced that mirror and thought “come on, pick yourself up, you got this!”. But too often, its short lived, unfortunately. Let’s be honest! Life gets in the way, things come up, new challenges, old challenges, belief’s that don’t serve you and bam, that positive feeling and optimism is gone!
How can you create positivity? Just google it! It’s easy! You’ll get a ready-made list you can quickly implement to become positive. It’ll go something like:
- Focus on good things,
- Practice gratitude,
- have a gratitude journal,
- do something kind for someone,
- try to be more optimistic,
- and so on…
And while, all of the above are all real contributors to bringing more positivity into your life and sustaining it, there is an essential part that needs to be emphasized.
Intention and Necessity.
You must become intentional and feel an agency about being positive, bringing positivity and staying positive. Without intention and necessity, it is fleeting moments of positivity and optimism mixed with prolonged periods of negativity, pessimism or mundaneness. So, let’s look at ways you can set that intention and keep it.
Before we do, why even bother? Is it all it’s cracked up to be? Well, being a positive thinker helps with stress management and can even improve your overall health but a key benefit that’s not as widely known is its ability to help improve your overall life performance. Life’s ambitious pessimists should take note of this and put strategies in place to see where it can take them.
Research has shown that, optimists tend to be higher achievers and when we are in a positive frame of mind, our brain is around 31% more productive than when it is in a negative, neutral or stressed state. Optimists have better overall health than pessimists, in part, because of this chemical interplay. A pessimistic cognitive style, a glass half empty view, narrows our mind to possibilities and opportunity.
The good news is that we all have the ability to build our positivity muscles, skill up and set new habits to create lasting changes in our behaviour and performance. Let’s become more positive for a happier more joyful experience.
Necessity is one of the most important factors when consciously creating anything. Without it, it’s a lost cause, half-hearted attempt and likely failure. There must be a need for that which you intend to materialize.
How do you create necessity?
Necessity isn’t what you have to do, it’s why you have to do something. Ask yourself why you want something, and the need (if any) will reveal itself. So, WHY? Ask yourself:
- Why do I want to be positive?
- What will being positive change for me?
- How can positivity improve my experience, situation, life?
- What can I have by being more positive?
- Why must I make changes to be more positive?
- What do I need that being more positive can bring for me or others?
If you can spend some serious time and effort on this, the next part of setting intentions and creating new habits will be so much easier. Why? Simple, you will now have a drive you have never felt before to be more positive and to do what it takes. You must know by now that nothing ever really happens accidentally. For sure, there is the odd occasion or phase that things just seem to fall into place but, in the main, if you really think about it, there is something deeper going on. You’ll see if you look close enough that you have made some changes to how you behave, the way you show up, the routines you keep, the things you do. Yes, perhaps it was subconsciously, and that’s my point, let’s not leave that to chance, let’s get intentional and do it consciously so you can create it when you need it and feel it when you want it and take back ultimate control of your own positivity.
Setting Intention – A journey with no intention, is a journey with no direction.
Let’s cut to the chase here. This is where you require personal responsibility, self-discipline and the ability to take action so that you do the work. High performers do this well, they have developed the skill (a skill we can all develop) of taking action, even when they don’t feel like it. Some say, “you can’t just switch it on”. Well, no-one says it’s that easy but, once you enable yourself to shift the paradigm you’re currently operating in to one where you have the mindset that getting to be positive is a basic function that you can develop and control, then you basically get to, literally, switch it on.
So, how intentional have you been about being positive? Have you made it a deliberate focus of yours with a specific reason why you will be positive? Or have you been wishing for more positivity whilst wandering around with an expectation of an alternative outcome that you believe you can’t control?
Building new habits.
If your new intention is to be more positive and stay positive, then we need to put a structure, a support in place that will enable you to sustain this and a great way to begin is to look at our habits and routines. A few questions you could ask yourself is:
- How do I start my day?
- What routines or habits are not serving me?
- What effort am I actually making to lift my mood and energy to be more positive?
- Who am I inviting into my space that brings more positivity?
- What could I be doing more of that will help me have a better outlook on things?
By simply answering these questions you should start to get some insights into why you perhaps are not as positive as you wish you could be. To be able to reflect on these questions might give you a breakthrough on some things you can stop or start but, let’s outline some basic habits and routines you can implement to build on with your new found intentional desire to be more positive.
Things to consider stopping:
- Jumping on your mobile device the minute you open your eyes
- Sitting up till the wee hours watching Netflix or surfing social media (reducing your sleep opportunity)
- Taking everything personally and see criticism as a way to grow. Begin to look at things with an objective mind.
- Letting everything and everyone get under your skin.
- Over-reacting to minor issues, making a mountain out of molehills (by addressing the first two suggestions you might just see a huge improvement here)
- Saying yes to everyone else’s agenda. Say no more and guard your own agenda.
- Allowing fears hold you back. The mind tricks us but, remember that with the right necessity and intention, you can overcome any self-doubt.
Things to consider starting:
- Create more space in your life to breathe. If you make it important enough, you can.
- Build a solid morning routine. Hydrate, Stretch, Meditate, Breathe, Plan.
- Spending more time with positive people. Find them. Move away, respectfully, from those who drag you down.
- Being inspired. Find someone that inspires you and spend time with them. They might not be in person right there, but spend time being inspired (read, listen, watch).
- Remarkable, we all have the ability to inspire someone. Look around you for someone less fortunate who needs some inspiration and give it to them. Be that person.
- Paying more attention to your nutrition, health, well-being. Really, it deserves your full attention, you deserve that.
All the suggestions at the beginning are great too, practice gratitude, journal more, be more kind, practice positive self-talk, include them all. But they will all be temporary endeavours if you, first, do not create the necessity that will keep you driven and motivated to sustain it.
In parting, it would bring great pleasure, if you will allow, to challenge you try something that, if committed to it, will increase your positivity in such a way that you might just keep it up forever. Are you in? Remember, whether you feel right now you can do this, with the right intention and necessity, you can do anything.
For the next week, adopt the following:
- Wake up at a time that will give you 30 minutes more that you currently have in the morning.
- Refrain from spending your waking moments in your social platforms. Simply turn the alarm off.
- Spend your first 5-10 mins stretching lightly and taking in 1 ltr of water
- Spend your next 5-10 mins in a quiet spot.
- Sit comfortably,
- take deep breaths in through your nose and out through your mouth
- do your best to let your mind ease and imagine space
- Spend your next 5-10 mins planning your day where you’re sat. Literally sit and map out your day, what needs to get done, how it should look, who you will follow up with, who you will chase up, what you want to accomplish
- Keep in mind during your day that it should be joyful, even though challenging at times.
- Aim to have 1 ltr of water for every 3-4 hours
- Take a 2-3 minutes break every 55-60 mins. Stretch a little, breath, move, walk around, get out of your space, email, computer, environment.
- Give yourself 60 mins down time from tv and social media before bed. Shut it down 1 hour before.
- Give yourself 7-8 hrs sleeping time each night.
If you can take on this challenge, if you can ask the questions and create your own necessity, if you can get intentional about what you’re going to do to take action and make it work, you will reap the benefits and find yourself in a more positive, optimistic and joyful place.
Challenge will show up, it’s life, it’s always there, lurking in the background to trip us up. When this happens, fall back on your intentions, new habits and practices, trust the process and breathe. Find some space, sit back and take a few moments to breathe, it works, it is magical, and the best thing is, it’s always there for you. Use it as your support to regain composure, focus and energy to keep moving forward with positivity as your superpower.
Author, David Grieve, Bio;
David Grieve is Founder and managing director of You Can Group, private coach, trainer and facilitator helping individuals, professionals and businesses level up their personal and professional performance. He has increasingly been coaching executives and organisations who are getting to grips with new ways to improve leadership and team performance.
He runs the You Can Network Group which educates and promotes meditation, group coaching and training to level up in performance.
He has featured on several magazines and, is a contributing writer and author.
He has over 20 years of leadership and performance expertise in Project Management for the Oil and Gas Industry and has lived and worked in countries such as Singapore, Abu Dhabi, South Korea and Russia. Over a single decade period, he relocated his family, home and life five times until deciding to return to his homeland in Scotland late 2019.
Embracing, coaching and mentoring people from all cultures, races and ethnicity has given him a broad perspective and understanding of our basic human needs and desires.
David’s mission is to help individuals and businesses reach new levels of leadership and performance, potential and balance through change and transformation by inspiring self-mastery and empowering self-belief.