Four Habits To Keep You Positive And Strong, Every Day
I get lots of feedback. From all walks of my life. Most of it ‘constructive’ – where I must improve, miss the point, could do better, need to stop or start doing something. Most of it fair. Still- it can wear you down. I cope with it, positively, through these four powerful habits. Do you do this too?
They say ‘feedback is the food of champions.’ Ok- I get that and agree. I know I have to embrace feedback, to learn and grow from it. I am getting better at it. Often, though, people forget to give you positive reinforcement. They think you don’t need it. “Hey- you’re a strong person- you can manage. Man up!” I don’t know about you- perhaps you don’t need it- the positives. But I sure as hell do.
So this is a story about me. But I hope it helps you, if you are like me. You see- I need pretty regular hugging to keep me strong. And if those hugs are not forthcoming, then we have to learn to give them to ourselves. This is how I do it. It sustains me, makes me stronger, keeps me green and growing. First and foremost, we have to do this one thing really, really well:
We have to become our own best coaches.
Here are the four habits I use to keep myself strong- to ‘coach’ myself – every day:
- Be kind to yourself: Make sure the voices in our heads are kind. Take the feedback, learn from it, and give yourselves constant coaching on how you are doing, how to improve. But as Plato said: “Be kind, because everyone is fighting a tough battle.” And that includes you. And me. I give myself feedback with humour and kindness. I laugh at myself, shake my head at my foibles and weaknesses, forgive myself, and beam at my strengths and triumphs.
- Be optimistic: Dr Martin Seligman, founder of Positive Psychology, calls it Learned Optimism. We need to train ourselves to react to what happens to us with an optimistic view – to become outstanding ‘disputers of negative thoughts.’ When that voice says: “Hey Chris- you will fail. You are not good enough. You can’t make it.” That’s when we need to immediately dispute that voice: “Rubbish- of course I can! I am able. I can do it. I will give it a go. It will be fun. Let’s go!”
- Give Yourself Opportunities For Positive Feedback: I do this though the training I lead. I can see the generally positive impact on attendees. This boosts me. I also get reinforcement from this blog- why do I keep it up, week after week? I know it helps some- and that makes me feel good. Also, despite regular feedback slaps, I do get a lot of positive feedback from it, in writing and in person. This makes me feel worthy and wanted. It boosts me. Ok- I know that is ego driven- but I need it for my confidence. So I make sure I get it.
- Be Grateful: For me this is real. I have been training myself to regularly acknowledge the good in my life, and to feel gratitude for it. I was in Singapore last week, working hard, tired, missing home and worried about stuff. I paused, and reflected on how lucky I am, to have the experiences I am having, the colleagues I have, the challenges in front of me. How inspiring is all that! Plus I was grateful for the confidence of exciting options I have if I wanted to do something else. This time won’t last forever. It’s not all beer and skittles, but it is a blessing and keeps me ‘vital and energised’.
No matter what mood I am in, what I have constantly with me is my best ‘coach’ of all – me. The positive voice and actions help keep me strong, resilient, forward looking, enthusiastic, safe, nurtured, happy and real. Not all the time- but enough.
We need also to ensure we are catching those around us doing things right- sharing positive feedback with others, rather than being obsessed with the wrongs, and improvements needed. After all- “We are all fighting a tough battle.”
What do YOU do to stay positive? Tell me please- I am keen to learn new habits.
(Oh- and I just love the poster I saw at the desk of someone in our Singapore office last week. It’s the photo with this post. Now that’s what I call positive self-coaching! Go hard!!!!! ).