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How to Stop the Doom and Gloom and Stay Focused During Challenging Times!

by Dr. Vesna Grubacevic

Are you focusing on the doom and gloom and getting even more stressed, worried or anxious about your life, relationships, health, career/business or are you focusing on and getting excited about the opportunities?  When was the last time you thought about what you really wanted?  Would you like to stop feeling frustrated, anxious and, instead, feel more in control?

One of my clients summed it up well years ago by saying, “Australians are talking themselves into a recession”.  You need to realise that in business and in life you get what you focus on.  If you focus on what you want, you will get it; and if you focus on what you don’t want, you will get it too.  If you think about what you don’t want, you will probably feel worry, stress, anxiety, fear, etc.  Remember that anxiety or worry is simply a warning from your mind to remind you to focus on what you do want.

A Self Fulfilling Prophesy 

Too many people are so focused on what they don’t want and what they want to avoid, that they miss seeing what they can have and the opportunities before them right now.  How often do you think about worst case scenarios or what could go wrong, then when it happens you say “I knew it was going to happen”?  It became a self fulfilling prophesy because it has been proven scientifically that your mind is unable to differentiate between what you vividly image and what is real.  The same applies on a larger scale in the economy.

As an economist for nine years during the 1990s, I have seen economic forecasts become self fulfilling prophesies.  When enough consumers and businesses buy into economic forecasts and adjust their behaviour accordingly, the forecasts become true.  Essentially, an economy is made up of a bunch of consumers and businesses.  Both consumers and businesses adjust their spending and investment based on their level of confidence about the future.  When economic forecasts of doom and gloom abound, confidence decreases, consumer and business behaviour is adjusted accordingly, and spending and investment decreases.  In contrast, when forecasts of boom times abound, confidence increases as does expenditure and investment, and as a society we create boom times.

I recently had several interesting experiences in retail stores.  I observed how the doom and gloom attitude of the staff impacted on their behaviour and on how poorly they served their customers.  Even at networking events I have observed some business owners, when asked about their business, go into a doom and gloom dialogue.  So instead of focusing on building relationships with other businesses and creating referral and cross-promotion opportunities, they completely miss those opportunities because of their obsession with doom and gloom.  I have even heard how some employers have recently interviewed well qualified candidates (for roles for which they were very well suited) and, due to the candidates’ negative attitude, the employers chose to hire other candidates. These negative people are creating their own self fulfilling prophesies – after all, who wants to do business with, refer business to or employ negative people!

Like attracts like.  If you want to attract positive people and opportunities to you, first you need to be positive yourself!  So watch your and your team’s attitude particularly at this time.  If you lead a team, ensure that your attitude remains focused on what you want (and assist them to do the same), so that their service levels towards existing and new customers stay high.  If you are pursuing new job roles, make sure that you prepare yourself in advance with a positive attitude.  This has become more important than before in differentiating yourself from your competitors.  With a positive attitude, you will also see and be better placed to act on opportunities as they present themselves.  Which self fulfilling prophesy would you like to create for your career/business and life?

Taking Back Control 

The best way to take back control of your career/business and what is going on around you is to focus on what is within your control.  There are three things that you can personally control – how you think, feel and act (including how you respond to situations and people).  If you focus on other people and events or circumstances beyond your control, you may get frustrated.  When you focus on what is within your control, you feel happier and more in charge of leveraging the opportunities before you.

Here is a powerful technique to help you to focus and take action towards what you want:

1.  Think about something in the future that you are unsure or worried about eg. a presentation, a promotion, a meeting, etc.

2.  Be clear about your outcome for that event ie. what you would like to achieve.

3.  Imagine a movie screen in front of you and see yourself in the movie like an actor/actress at that future event.

4.  As you watch the movie, see that event turn out exactly as you would like it to be, hear the conversations you would like to hear and feel exactly how you would like to feel.  Make sure you focus on what is within your control.

5.  Notice how you now feel better about that event and now look forward to it.

Highly successful entrepreneurs and athletes use this technique to visualise a successful meeting or game.  Research shows those athletes who visualise rehearsing and having a successful game do as well on game day as athletes who have physically rehearsed and practiced prior to the game!

Imagine how much better you would feel by focusing on what is within your control, and the difference that this would make to your business and personal success!

Permanently Stop the Doom and Gloom