January should be a month of hope and possibilities as we step into the new year. Yet my clients keep tripping on land mines of fear and loss which seem to be taking the fun out of their celebrations. I have two tips I’d like to share with you.
Brain Tip #1. “Anyone who thinks the sky is the limit has limited imagination.”—Unknown
There is so much going on in this world, you can’t know what’s possible until you start using your imagination. When you focus on the world as you knew it, you can only grieve your losses. Or worse, you worry about holding on to a world that has slipped away.
Both grieving and worry work against your ability to see beyond. Grieving slows down your mental processing in order to help you heal. Not only do you have trouble focusing, it’s hard to muster the motivation to create.
Worrying activates adrenalin, which decreases the blood flow to the brain. Your brain prepares you to fight or flee from your enemies, even though you have no idea who that really is (though we are never at a loss of who to blame). Not only is your capacity to create decreased, you tend to overwork your cognitive brain going over and over in your head what you should have done or what you have to give up now that things are different. Worrying saps creativity while doing nothing to make tomorrow better.
Instead, stop the downward spiral by choosing your emotions. You attract good things when you are fun to be with and when you feel happy, amused, grateful, proud, excited, and in love. Stop everything, look inside to see what is going on, and then choose how you want to feel instead. To help, try these ideas…
1: Breathe. Take “pay attention breaks” throughout the day and consciously regulate your breathing as well as your feelings.
2: Avoid situations that provoke you as much as possible, like watching the news and listening to gossip and talk about how long we are going to suffer. Let go of friends that do not support who you want to be and how you want to feel.
3: Slow down. Walk more slowly. Talk more slowly. Eat more slowly. Listen to your friends and family with interest, amusement and gratitude.
Brain Tip #2. Practice Karmic Capitalism.
My colleagues and I at The Pyramid Resource Group are reading a book titled, Peak: How Great Companies Get their Mojo from Maslow. The author, Chip Conley, suggests that human capital should be treated as highly as financial capital. In dealing with colleagues and customer, we practice “what goes around comes around.”
My life partner, Karl, has a business model based on Karmic Capitalism. He owns a personal training business. The moment his clients walk through the door, he warmly smiles and sincerely asks, “How are you?” He then listens to their stories, complaints, and wishes with rapt attention while he gently nudges them toward the treadmill and weight room. He is patient yet firm, knowing exactly what they need to get results. Most of his clients stay with him for years. And you should see the Christmas gifts he gets! They adore him. And they refer other clients to him and the trainers he carefully chooses to work for him. Where others in personal service businesses are barely hanging on, Karl’s business, Longevity, lives on.
Leaders, this is the perfect time to practice Karmic Capitalism with your employees and colleagues. Now is not the time to be greedy with your attention and praise. What time, energy and help you give now, you will get back in amazing ways.
In short, stop whining and worrying and start caring about others. The journey will be lighter and more enjoyable. And PLEASE, quit listening and reading the doomsday predictions. We create what we think about. On New Year’s eve I heard Maya Angelou say, “When you rise above it all, the bad stuff can’t stick to you.”Let’s lighten up so we can fly beyond the limits of the sky.