By Lori Milner: author, entrepreneur, thought leader and founder of Beyond the Dress
The world of an entrepreneur is a daily emotional roller coaster ride. When we don’t get the deal we wanted or wished we had said something different in a meeting, we tend to focus on the negative and ‘should have’s’. Here are some tried and tested steps I incorporate into my daily routine to stay focused on the positive.
Choose your thoughts
The first step to staying positive is to take control of the thoughts you think. Our inner dialogue – what we communicate to ourselves – has a huge impact on the way we project ourselves to the rest of the world. The first tool is when you find yourself in a spiral of negative self-talk, stop yourself and thought replace immediately. One of my favourite quotes on this is “Our thoughts make us what we are.” – Dale Carnegie.
Make your bed
This is very simple yet incredibly powerful and was quoted several times in the best seller book ‘Tools of Titans’. The reason that making your bed is so powerful is that it gives you a feeling of accomplishment first thing in the morning. It also encourages you to do even more tasks, enabling you to get more done. It teaches you that it’s the little things in life that matter.
It is also about exerting control where you can, because no matter what happens during your day, no matter how catastrophic it might become, you can make your bed.
And if you work from home, it provides an even stronger impact, as a disorganised external environment can be very distracting and ultimately affect your productivity.
One of the greatest gifts of being human is the ability to choose what to focus on. No matter where you are and what your situation is, your focus can be shifted to something positive. Take yourself off autopilot, take a step back and practice gratitude. As Tony Robbins says ‘You cannot feel angry and grateful at the same time’ so cultivate joy through gratitude.
Take a look at your schedule and assess how much of ‘you’ is included in it. When we neglect ourselves, we start feeling out of balance, and that’s when we start to feel out of control Put time in your calendar for yourself – be it exercise, meditation, family time, or coffee with a friend. You need to make time to reconnect with your thoughts and your goals to keep you on track. Never get so caught up in all the various roles you have to play that you forget your identity and your passions.
Let go of perfection
One of the main barriers to confidence and feeling good about ourselves is our innate pursuit of perfection. Ultimately, we are terrified that we are just not good enough, a fear that often feeds a crippling drive for perfection.
But the world doesn’t reward perfection. It rewards productivity. Only by wading through the imperfect can we begin to achieve glimpses of the perfect. So, how do we escape perfectionism?
The solution is don’t try to get it right in one big step. Just get it going. Don’t write a book, write a page. Don’t create the entire presentation, just create a slide. Pick a small, manageable goal and follow through. Then pursue the next. These smaller steps give you the opportunity to succeed more often, which will build your confidence. If each of your goals can be achieved in a day or less, that’s a lot of opportunity to succeed and leave you feeling more positive and boost your self-esteem.
Here’s to owning a positive head space.
LORI MILNER is the engaging facilitator, thought leader and mentor known for her insightful approach to being a modern corporate woman. Her brainchild, the successful initiative Beyond the Dress, is the embodiment of her passion to empower women. Beyond the Dress has worked with South Africa’s leading corporates and empowered hundreds of women with valuable insight on how to bridge the gap between work and personal life. Clients include Siemens, Massmart, Alexander Forbes, Life Healthcare Group, RMB Private Bank and Unilever to name a few. Lori has co-authored Own Your Space: The Toolkit for the Working Woman in conjunction with Nadia Bilchik, CNN Editorial Producer. Own Your Space provides practical tools and insights gleaned from workshops held around the world and from interviews with some of South Africa’s most accomplished women to provide you with tried-and-tested techniques, tips and advice to help you boost your career, enhance your confidence and truly own your space on every level. Own Your Space is the ultimate ‘toolkit’ to unleash your true power. It’s for the woman who wants to take her career to new heights and who is ready to fulfil her true potential.