Don’t Look Back – (5) Tips on how to always look forward.

I certainly cannot speak for anyone else, but one of the things that really motivates me is looking forward to something. Even when there is not anything monumental on the horizon, I can look forward to something as simple as sharing a cup of coffee with a friend. Having something to look forward to is simple enough to accomplish. It is a highly achievable experience. When I find myself less motivated, I realize I might be thinking about the past, instead of looking toward the future, which I find to be incredibly exciting.

Taking time every now and then to reminisce about what you have done in the past, and the accomplishments you conquered, joyous experiences you relished, and perhaps even some less-than-ideal days is normal, but should not consume your thoughts. Nor should looking back be something to be tough on yourself about, as many people dwell on What IF thinking. This serves little purpose, consumes too much energy, and is a habit which we should all try to reverse.We are all guilty of What If thinking, but what if instead of focusing on the WhatIf regarding the past, we apply this thinking towards the future?

When we interrupt our negative thinking, or thinking that is less constructive, we do ourselves and others a favor by changing our attitudes towards just about everything. Thinking in terms of possibilities versus reviewing our playback tape is what highly successful and motivated people do. It really is not that difficult. The first challenge is to recognize a pattern of thinking about what has already happened, especially since you cannot rewrite what has already occurred. The good news is that you do have control over the script for what can happen next. Stop and really think about this for a minute. Yes, you do have full control. Don’t let it happen, make it happen!

Having something to look forward to is highly motivating for me, but everyone is different, so this might not, in fact, work for you. However, here are five tips to refocus your energy and attention on looking ahead instead of in the rear-view mirror.

  • Think of someone you admire. Now imagine yourself in their shoes. What are their most admirable characteristics? Are some of their traits ones that you could borrow, or implement?
  • Spend time outside. Being near or around any type of nature, or simply breathing in fresh air, can reset your thinking, and put you in a better, more positive frame of mind.
  • Do something nice for someone else. Thinking through the process of doing a kind gesture for someone else forces you to think ahead and plan out the activity, even when it is a simple action like putting a blanket on your child or significant other when he or she has fallen asleep on the couch.
  • Put together a plan. It can be almost any type of plan – a vacation, a dinner date, a birthday party, opening the pool . . . The simple act of starting a plan will create the need to look forward.
  • Get out of your routine. No matter what time of the day it is, you probably have some type of routine. Do something entirely different during your day, and start thinking now what it might be. This will give you something to look forward to, and put you in a position to have to think about doing something later.

Changing how you think about the future can create positive results. The natural endorphins released from the brain when you are thinking and doing constructive behavior will help.

I know you can do this and promise it’s worth the effort.  I have coached many people who felt the same way you do, and guided them to be able to do this well, and every day. Give it a try. T

O

 

 

Karma and kindness. What’s your impact on others?

By Kathleen E. Murphy

With all the sad news overwhelming us this past month, I started thinking about what could I or others do to help to offset all the “negative” things and vibes happening in our world. One thing I saw which was posted on-line was a list of kind things someone could do to inspire more acts of kindness. Most of these acts could be applied in a professional environment, but were namely intended to occur outside of a business environment.

Last week I attended a marketing technology event in Boston and American Author, Entrepreneur and fellow Marketer Seth Godin was the afternoon keynote speaker. One of the questions which came up at the end of his speech, was what can we do to offset all the negative news? Seth indicated that although the news is real, and is certainly sensational, he brought up a point which struck home and related to television journalist Wolf Blitzer. He asked the audience to think about why Wolf is always in the “situation room”? If he is always in a “situation room”, then there must be a situation going on, and of course this will then automatically sensationalize the topic related to the “situation room”. In other words, by establishing Wolf is in a “situation room”, naturally evokes a negative connotation. This then feeds into what the media is often criticized for which is to promote topics which are geared only for ratings purposes. This is one reason I prefer to obtain my news from sources which are more “neutral”, and actually focused on not putting their own spin, usually a negative one on the topic.

Now, back to what can we do in a professional environment to begin a chain reaction of inciting more acts of kindness. There are plenty of examples of what we can do, and I wanted to share with you ones I have participated in, or been the recipient of. I would love to hear back from people about the random acts of kindness they are doing, or on the receiving end of. We can all certainly use an infusion of kindness, and positivity in our daily lives. The trick will be to not become complacent and stop being kind to others each day. Here’s my list of acts of kindness which I hope you will benefit from and use:

  1. Smile at everyone you see and say hello to them too. Yes, everyone.
  2. Bring in some “treats”, healthy ones if you can (e.g., fruit) to share with your colleagues, once a week if possible. Inspire others to participate too.
  3. Buy some flowers and put one flower in a small cup of water and place it on as many people’s desks as you can. I actually did this one day, and passed out over (40) flowers, without telling anyone who did this. The reaction people had about receiving a single flower was so much fun to see how happy it made them.
  4. Bring in an item or items from your home to be donated. Put them in a box, ask others to contribute one item, and then take the full box to your favorite charity.
  5. Send your colleagues an e-card. There are a number of “free” e-card options. Here is a link to (11) places to find “free” greeting cards .
  6. If you have a special talent (e.g., you play an instrument, are an artist, know how to make things – websites, quilts, sweaters, clothes, robots, jewelry), offer to share your talent or teach them about your talent during a break or prior to or after work.
  7. Take some photos of your colleagues at work, share them with them, and then let them decide what to do with them. If they have kids, it might be fun for them to share the photo with their kids or significant others to have a “random” photo of them at work.
  8. Have some extra books around your house? Bring them in to share with your colleagues. Leave them in a public place with a note that they are for others to now enjoy. They can keep them, pass them along, or bring them back in for others to read.
  9. If you have access to tickets of any kind, offer to give them to the first person who sends you an email to claim them. The tickets could even be to a local middle or high school play or concert.
  10. Offer to donate an hour of your time to a colleague outside of work who might need help with a project (e.g., they are moving, they need help assembling something, they need help in their yard or with fixing their car or something in their home).
  11. Celebrate people’s birthday’s and accomplishments – even the ones which might seem insignificant. The point is to have more celebrations for the sake of creating smiles and opportunities for people to focus on something positive.
  12. Genuinely compliment as many people during the course of a day you interact with. It could be something as simple as they have neat handwriting, or are always on-time to meetings.

This list is clearly only the start, and I hope the actual catalyst for others to think about the kind things they can do each day to make other people they work with and their lives a bit brighter each day. What kind thing(s) will you be doing today?

Kathleen E. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Strategist and CMO of Market Me TooMarket Me Too has expertise in bridging marketing and sales teams and providing organizations techniques to accelerate their market growth, regardless of the industry they are in, or the business stage they are presently at. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com.