By Jack Kelly
Right about now, we all feel that there’s a need to change our outlook for the better. After four months—or has it been four years?—of staying indoors, working from home and watching cities literally burn, it’s easy to grow weary and lose your enthusiasm, confidence and drive.
This could be a slippery slope. The longer you feel this way, the harder it will be turn your life around. Here’s the thing—it will take a little time and effort to effect meaningful change. If you truly desire a positive change in your life, you have to start changing the things you’re doing right now that’s not working. To change what you’re doing, you have to change your way of thinking. When you really want to change the defeatist negative thoughts, you have to change what you believe and start thinking positively.
I’d like to offer you some motivational mindsets and ideas to help you turn things around, improve your life, start feeling better and get through this hell of a pandemic.
You have three hard choices to make if you want to succeed. Ask yourself: Do you stay up way too late at night mindlessly scrolling through social media feeds and watching television? When the phone alarm rings in the morning, are you still tired and cranky? After the long commute to and from work and a long and exhausting day, do you flop onto the coach and just zone out? How many times do you tell yourself that you are going to make changes starting next week and you never start?
If this sounds familiar, you have some tough choices to make. Either you determine that you want to improve your career and life or take the path of least resistance and keep the status quo.
If you want to make real positive changes in your career and life, here is how to start:
- Accept where you are, stop blaming others for what happened in the past and take personal control of your life. Only you have the choice and power to change your destiny. Also, you have the choice to remain where you are. Both are acceptable options, but you will have to understand the long-term ramifications. If you don’t effect positive changes, your life will never magically improve. However, if you decide to embark upon a journey of self-improvement and actively seek out new career opportunities, the world is wide open to you.
- If you elect to challenge yourself, go outside of your comfort zone and reignite your career, then there is another tough decision you will need to make. Think about how you spend your day, the people you regularly associate with and the way you view things. Do your friends, co-workers and family drag you down? Are they negative and unsupportive of your dreams? What do you do with your free time? Read here to know what to do next.
Last year, I decided to disconnect from blindly belonging to any political parties, religious affiliations, hyphenated “American” tags, friend groups, sports teams and have taken up a “Zen Warrior” mindset. I wanted to experience the feeling of letting go and looking at things from a fresh perspective—known in Zen as a beginner’s mindset—without any attachments to preconceived beliefs. So far, it has been beneficial and liberating. Without pledging my allegiance to any specific tribe, I can now look at issues clearly without resorting to immediately taking sides.
When it comes to work, I’ve tried hard to be Zen. To me, Zen is the art of remaining in the present, appreciating the moment and letting go of any baggage. Now, I won’t take the rejection of a job offer so personally nor will I lose my mind when a candidate fails to show up for an interview. If I’m ghosted by someone, I’ll attribute it to their issues and not take it to heart. I don’t worry about past slights and indignities since those doors have closed behind me.
There is no need to be anxious about what will happen next week or in the following months, as it’s not here yet. I focus on a conversation with a job seeker as if she is the most important person in the world because, at this point in time, she is. Hyperfocusing on one task at a time—and doing it well—has made me much more productive and calmer.
I’d suggest that you try this with your own work life. It’s so easy to get ticked off when you’re passed over for a promotion, denied a raise and skunked on a bonus. How often do you cringe and feel your blood pressure rise when the boss walks into the room? Do you seethe when the work and responsibilities pile up and nobody notices how stressed out you are or even cares about your mental well-being?
Take a deep breath, hold it and breathe out. Clear your mind of the anger and bad feelings. Say a positive mantra such as, “I will use this lesson to inspire me to find a new job” or “I will help someone else out who is going through the same ordeal.” It’s not worth getting yourself stressed out over something that will soon pass and you won’t remember 10 years from now. Check out this article to learn more about how this mindset will greatly improve your life.
Lose the loser mindset and you will succeed. Calling for a snow day the night before on the possibility of a storm, out of fear of what people will say if you didn’t, is a loser mindset. This way of thinking is based upon what could go wrong, being afraid of taking risks, focusing on covering your backside and playing it too safe.
Unfortunately, most people navigate their careers in this fashion.They are too conservative and adverse to taking thought-out calculated risks. Most of the day is spent worrying, doing things to cover yourself if something doesn’t work out and agreeing with the consensus discussions out of fear of being original in voicing your opinion. This is a sure-fire way to just plod along in your career and never make it very far. You will be part of the great herd, shuffling along with the pack. You’ll blend in, go unnoticed and will be overlooked. Here are examples of loserthink:
- You go for a safe career, like being an attorney like your parents, even though you wanted to be a novelist and write the next great American novel. You don’t even take a few writing classes or try to join the college newspaper to prove it to yourself that you have talent.
- You have a great idea, but don’t share it in a meeting (out of fear) and then someone else brings it up to rave reviews.
- You work for a boss who steals all of your ideas and holds you back from internal transfers. Yet, you still harbor hope that he’ll change in the future.
- You don’t accept calls from recruiters because you worry that someone at work may notice and tell on you.
- You avoid networking events where you can make new contacts due to your self-diagnosed introvert personality. This becomes a perpetual crutch of an excuse for anything that takes you out of your comfort zone.
To succeed and advance in your career, you must abandon this loserthink mentality. In fact, you have to reprogram yourself to think the exact opposite. Forget the consensus opinion and offer your own original insights, ask for the raise, volunteer to take on all new challenges, meet with recruiters, search for new jobs, send out your résumé, don’t settle for working for a person who takes you for granted and take some risks to achieve what you truly desire.
If you think and act like everyone else and play it safe, by definition, you will be average—at best. If you want to make something of yourself, you must be bold, daring, confident and have faith in your abilities. Once you lose the loser mentality and adopt a winner’s mindset, you will become unstoppable.
Break the psychological barriers holding back your career. We tend to find reasons to blame others when our careers are not moving forward. Most of the time, we don’t look critically at ourselves. It could be attributed to a bad boss, back-stabbing co-workers, bad luck or some sort of discrimination and prejudice.
These things, unfortunately, occur all too often in the workplace. Those are not the only reasons that hold you back. Sometimes, you are your own worst enemy and do harm to your career development and advancement.
People have negative thoughts that play on an endless loop. We experience feelings of anxiety and insecurity. Many of us have a fear of failure and are scared of the unknown. This prohibits us from taking action and moving forward in our careers.
To become successful, it’s important to counter these bad thoughts and feelings. You need to adopt a positive mindset that motivates you into action. Waiting, wanting and wishing for a miracle to happen is not a realistic plan. What’s required is a hunger to achieve a desired goal, along with assertive actions.
To move forward with your career and succeed, you must let go of the past. Stop reliving bad memories and quit being the victim. You can’t undo the past, but you can build a bright, new future. Forgive yourself and others, so that you can move on with your life and career with a clean slate. Clear your mind to focus on the present moment and your goals for the future.
Stop saying it and start doing something positive. Take constructive steps to move forward. Keep in mind: an object in motion, stays in motion. If you don’t move forward, you are falling behind. It’s too easy to become complacent and take the path of least resistance by staying in a bad situation.
To succeed you need to let go of the past, ignore the negative voices in your head, take bold initiatives and don’t give in to excuses.