“Where attention goes, energy flows,” said Tony Robbins.
Our lives get defined by what we pay attention to.
If we pay more attention to the good things around us, we become happier and more successful. Researchers call it the happiness advantage.
If we pay more attention to the bad things, we generally get in a bad mood and miss opportunities.
There are always good and bad things around us. It is our choice where we direct our attention.
The problem is that we evolved to pay more attention to problems and threats. The people who looked out for dangers survived to pass on their genes.
So, how do we go against our natural tendency and start paying more attention to what we want instead of what we don’t want?
Here are some practical ways to do that.
Find the exceptions to our challenges
I was working with an executive, and he wanted to get better at instigating change in his organization.
Instead of focusing on what challenges he faced when trying to influence his colleagues, I asked him to share three examples of when he was successful in bringing on change.
He shared three impressive examples from his career, from instigating new product line launches to organizational structure changes.
Already, by focusing on what was working instead of what wasn’t, it was evident that he was already good at instigating change.
Then, we tried to decode what he did when he was successful. Well, what came up was brilliant. He came up with the PEST model of Change Management. I asked my genius client for permission to share it here, and I encouraged him to trademark this as it is excellent.
He was successful at instigating change when he was Persistent, Enthusiastic, gave Specific examples where the change worked, and Talked to many people in the organization.
So PEST stands for:
- Talked to a lot of people.
Remember folks, to be successful in bringing on change to your organization, you may need to become a bit of a PEST:-)
By focusing on what works versus what doesn’t, you can develop valuable models of success and build your confidence.
Celebrating is anchoring in a positive emotion and amplifying it.
It is something we often neglect to do with our teammates when we hit a milestone. By the time we reach the milestone, we are already desensitized to it; we take it for granted and we focus on the next thing.
Try to create a multi-sensory celebration for you and your team which could involve food, drink, flowers, outdoor experiences, etc.
Here is a post I wrote about celebrating last Sunday when we had a family celebration:
“Celebrating is a party thrown in the name of gratitude.
As you are climbing the mountain, take a moment to lift your eyes to enjoy the view.
You have come a long way.
Let yourself bask in the joy.
It is the moment of celebration that will create the overflow for you to serve others.
It is the moment of celebration that will motivate you to continue climbing the mountain… these views are really worth it.
Tomorrow we go back to work.
But today…we celebrate.”
Identify the lessons and silver linings to our disappointments
Find the hidden treasures in the ashes of your professional disappointments.
Also, look for the silver lining. Did a failure nudge you in a better direction?
Did you fail fast and saved a lot of misplaced effort and money?
Did you learn something that will make a difference in your future success?
Keep the lessons and let everything else go, no need to carry with us past disappointments.
Show appreciation to our team members
One of my favourite exercises to do with teams is a feedback exercise where you share three behaviors of your colleagues that contribute to the strength of the team and one behavior you would like them to change for the team to be stronger.
It is a challenging exercise, people are afraid it will harm their relationships, but it achieves the opposite. One of the reasons is that the ratio of positive things to negative things is 3:1. Ideally, we want our interactions at work to have a positive/negative ratio higher than 5:1.
Videogames manage to become so addictive because they use rewards and positive reinforcement abundantly.
Some of our deepest human needs are to feel valued and accepted, and appreciation does just that.
How can you show your colleagues more appreciation? You will both be happier and more productive for it.
There has been a lot of research about the happiness advantage; people who are happier have more professional success. This does not mean that we need to revert to toxic positivity.
When we feel negative feelings, we can accept them, experience them and let them go. No need to suppress or avoid them.
But, when we want to create success, we need to be deliberate on where we focus our attention, because this will define our results. Which of the tips above resonated the most?