We’ve all found ourselves in a bad mental state at some point in our lives. We all know what it’s like to be stressed, depressed and overwhelmed – and how hard it is to make the transition to a more positive state-of-mind.
Here are four easy steps to a more positive state-of-mind. I should probably first give you a bit of background:
Many years ago, before I began this wonderful career of training, consulting and speaking on customer experience, I owned a small chain of toy stores. The crippling recession in 1990, combined with my own inexperience in dealing this sort of thing created a level of stress I had never before encountered. I will never forget the paralyzing feeling of depression and helplessness. I will also, however, never forget some amazing advice I received.
Write Your Own Future
Ken Gill, our accountant at the time, and someone for whom I had a great deal of respect, gave me these words of wisdom: “Life is a journey,” he began, “and like all journeys, you are always in motion. This place you are in today is very different from where you were five years ago. It is also very different than where you will be five years from now. Learn from the past. Accept the present – both good and bad. Write your own future.”
The second thing he told me began with the famous quote from Chinese Philosopher Lao Tzu. “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step,” he said. “You can’t change everything overnight. The important thing to always keep in mind, though, is that you can change something overnight. One or two small steps every day may seem insignificant right now, but if you continue doing this for just one year, it means you will have taken hundreds of steps. When you finally look back, you will see how far you have come.”
Ken was right. I followed his advice, and made it my mission to accomplish one thing every day. The change was amazing. My state-of-mind and motivation began to improve dramatically – along with my situation. It didn’t take a year. It took maybe a week for a positive state-of-mind to take over. I’ve never looked back.
Over the years I’ve learned that this practice isn’t just valuable when times are tough. It makes the good times even better, and helps reduce the number of tough times we encounter. It’s worth a try. I can’t guarantee it will work as well for you as it worked for me, but I know for certain that it won’t make things worse
Here Are The Four Easy Steps:
- Take the time some evening to sit down and envision what you would like your life to look like in five years. Broad, general terms are fine. Write it down (this is important).
- Once you’ve done number one, think about what you need to achieve over the next 12 months to get you on the right path. Write this down too.
- Begin writing down random things that you can do to reach your one-year goal. Break them down into really silly-small bite-sized pieces. One of mine was ‘clean my desk’ (although this actually took two days :-)). Don’t worry about putting them all in sequence, or about making sure your list is complete.
- The next day, do something. Anything. Try to pick something that you can accomplish that day. Do the same for the day after, then the day after that. Keep writing stuff down – things that you think of that need to be done to achieve your goal.
There is a fifth step (not mandatory and quite selfish on my part): Send me a quick note in a month and tell me your progress. I’d love to hear!
“There are times, moments, events in our lives that give us glimpses into what is really important. The key is to recognize them when you see them.”