Monday March 19, 2012
by Caroline Cooper, learnpurple associate
On Sunday morning the washing machine flooded, a saucepan boiled over and I burnt the toast. I just managed to stop myself blaming everyone and the world.
Although on this occasion this was all down to me and operator error, it did remind me that we cannot always control our experience. We can, however, control our response and therefore the outcome. Examples of this are when we allow others to influence how we feel, for example when someone criticises us or when a customer complains.
I'm sure we can all think of people we’ve met who are “Mood Hoovers”. They’re the ones who have got out of bed on the wrong side and made up their mind to stay in their negative mood; bursting your bubble and literally sucking your energy from you.
However, as Eleanor Roosevelt once said “No one can hurt you without your consent”.
As a trainer and coach I know only too well that the way an individual feels at a particular time determines their behaviour and thus results. The trick, therefore, is to feel positive and motivated on the inside, no matter what is being thrown at us.
Easier said than done? Here are my top four strategies for mastering just this:
Be outcome focused. It’s a proven fact that we get more of what we focus on. So if I’m focusing on something positive, for example “how can I make today a great day?” opposed to “I know today is all going to go horribly wrong!” I have a much greater chance of creating that outcome.
This strategy also translates well into the workplace. If people know what’s expected of them, and more importantly the outcome, there is a much greater focus and thus chance that they’ll achieve it.
- Always play from a 10. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy; if we approach things from a position of negativity the chances are we’ll end up with a negative result.
- In the workplace – if the leader makes noises that it’s tough, it can’t be done or that people aren’t up to the job, guess what? They’ll prove these predictions right. This doesn’t mean that they should make everything out to be easy; simply be mindful of the way they communicate the task in hand, ensuring it starts and ends on a positive.
- Re-framing. Even with the best laid plans, things can go awry from time to time. So when issues arise, rather than trying to blame others, approach these from a place of independency. Ask “what can I do to improve the situation?”, “What's in my control?” This is also a useful technique for those who wish to improve confidence levels. Developing this approach in the workplace can engender a learning culture, where it’s OK to make mistakes, as long as you learn from it and don’t keep repeating the same mistake. What better way to develop people and foster creativity and innovation.
- Emotion is created by motion.The way we feel emotionally affects the way we feel physically. The reverse is also true. When we move physically, we move emotionally, too. Thus our physiology will influence our feelings and the feelings of people around us. In other words if we mooch around all day with shoulders dropped, hands in pockets, expressionless with our head down we’re far more likely to elicit negative emotions, than if we're smiling, making eye contact and making gestures. It’s difficult, if not impossible to be negative if you stand tall, head up, and with a smile on your face and taking deeper breaths. Smiling and laughing also make us feel good and happy.
The behaviours which we express (winning or not), have a clear effect on the people around us and the results we ultimately achieve – and that is amazing to see. By recognising this and using the tips above it’s much easier to move yourself along the scale so you’re always playing from a ten.
What winning behaviours do you, or could you, adopt?