Living with uncertainty and constant change, when everything we felt comfortable with is seemingly taken away, waking up full of enthusiasm and energy every day can be a challenge!
Inspiring others as a leader, encouraging colleagues or performing at your best at work and home seems impossible if you are struggling to get out of your PJs!
But there is a simple strategy that can lift your energy and performance, boost your joy and improve your ability to connect with others.
The one thing which you have total control – every minute of every day – is – wait for it – your thinking!
No one else plants thoughts in your head! You are the one who thinks your thoughts; you decide what thoughts you let in.
You are the one who tells yourself the stories that rule your life. You are not your story, but your stories rule your life.
The secret to waking up on the right side of bed each day is to observe what you are telling yourself. 95-99% of the time we are literally unconscious of the thoughts we have. Which means our lives are being created and ruled by those unconscious thoughts.
If you wake up and the first thing you think is negative – it can rule your whole day! It can set your mind on a path to unconsciously choosing to focus on what is going wrong or challenging or difficult. If you wake up grateful, and consciously choose to find things for which to be grateful, your whole day will be different.
My mentor Dr David Martin, talks about people tuning into the radio station – the frequency – of the person they want to be and the life they want to create. And he has a great question that helps you consciously create the life you want.
It is the secret to a joyful, productive, purpose driven, meaningful and fulfilling life that leaves a valuable legacy.
His question, that I am using now as my ‘true north question’ – part of the compass I now use to navigate my life – is: “Am I being the person I want to be in this moment?’
This sounds like a simple and easy thing to do! And it is. Making the decision to be the person I want to be was easy.
That one question, the true north compass question, can instantly change everything. Literally.
But first, I had to look at what sort of person did I want to be! And to actually acknowledge what sort of person I was showing up as under challenging circumstances.
Working out the person I wanted to be took some deep diving and work. It was kind, grateful, loving and honouring myself and others.
Actually reflecting on my behaviour, what story is driving it and showing up as the person I said wanted to be is a tad more challenging at times!
I have learned many valuable lessons in this process but two stand out. And this question and strategy has since helped many people navigate their way through difficult times.
I learned that I wanted to be a person who was kind, grateful, and loving, who honoured myself as well as the other person or people involved.
Working this out was not too challenging. Working out how to honour myself and others was more so. In this process, I (and others I have shared this with) have had to learn about boundaries; about what really matters to me (not what’s the matter with me!); and about what sort of life I wanted to create, direct and produce.
I had to learn the clues my body gave me to remind me to check what story I was telling myself – and ask myself ‘is it true for this moment’ or is it an unconscious reflex. For example, whenever I felt anxious, uncomfortable, fearful, confused, or disturbed in any way, I realised I was telling myself some version of the old stories of I was worthless or not good enough; that someone would find out I was not worth loving; that I would be voted off the island because I didn’t fit in or belong; or that I was unsafe in some way.
I am a work in progress but once I recognised the ‘feeling clues’, I had a strategy to work with. I noticed the feeling ….I checked in with myself and identified which one of those stories I was telling myself and then asked myself – was it my grown up self or my (roughly) two year old self telling the story! Inevitably, it was the two year old!
So I consciously choose now to ask myself the True North question in those moments. And I consciously choose to show up as the person I decided I want to be in that moment. The grown up that is as kind, loving, grateful, wise, honouring and as fearless as possible.
Generally speaking, I (and most of us) don’t want to be anxious, fearful, timid, angry, defensive, a bully or anything other than content or joyful.
My path to creating the life I want, the mood I want, the day I want, the results I want is to choose to be kind, loving, grateful and honouring myself and others.
If you recall the best boss you have ever had, it will not be someone who was brilliant at giving you awesome, high KPIs! It will be the person you felt cared about you and your growth. They were kind and caring (read loving!). Which didn’t mean they were a pushover or wimpy! It means that at times, kindness was shown by pushing or challenging you because they believed in you. And giving you the support you needed to shine.
Business today is – even more now than it has been – fueled by how people feel around you (in person or virtually) – which is determined by how you feel about yourself. We are not in the business of B2B – we are in the business of H2H – human to human; heart to heart.
That’s why your best boss always has been and always will be the person you felt good around. It’s what makes great sales people, leaders, teachers, entrepreneurs, teams – any business category – great.
It’s that capacity to feel good about yourself so others can feel good around you.
You feel good about yourself when you show up consistently as ’the person you want to be’.
That’s why using the True North question – ‘am I being the person I want to be in this moment’ – is such a critical life and performance enhancer in these times of change, uncertainty and disruption. It puts you back in control of your stories – which in turn determines your feelings, behaviour, attitudes, and impact.
It makes you the conscious creator, producer and director of your life, performance, impact and legacy.
And that can all be summed up with a fun formula!
REPEAT WITH LOVE AND KINDNESS