Do you know someone who tends to see the potential problems in every situation?
Or, is that YOU?
I am writing this article with a current client conversation in mind. His profession teaches him to be on the look out for the problems ALL THE TIME. Does the business of your business get in the way of fostering positive relationships at work? Avoid these mistakes in the whirlwind of your business is a series of information sent to you by email, devoted to helping you maximize performance.
Sometimes this way of thinking comes off as negative, or being a problem seeker. Maybe you would think of this person as a “downer” — always bringing the mood down. It may not be as cheery and uplifting as a positive attitude, but negativity can still be useful.
Back in the cave days, the world was a dangerous place. Humans had to be very cautious about threats from predators, to poisonous foods and plants.
In other words, a healthy dose of skepticism made the difference between life and death.
That was then and this is now. Even if your profession requires you to see the flaws to ensure quality service to the end user, you can train your brain to also look for possibilities and experience more positive relationships.
There’s a region in your brain, called the amygdala, that’s situated right near your memory centres. This region is like the “first responder” in your brain. When you encounter a situation, it does a quick safety check. It scans your immediate surroundings to look for potential threats, and then it goes into your memories, looking for any related dangers.
This circuit is not all bad, it just needs balance. Too much fear, and you won’t take action. Not enough fear, and you’ll act recklessly. Overused constantly and you won’t train your brain to find the solutions. You may also, not be very fun to work around. If your leadership could use the ability to foster more positive work relations, reach out to partner in possibility.
Coming from someone who always sees things with a positive lens and encourages others to seek possibilities, yes, I believe that skepticism has its benefits!
There’s another circuit in your brain, that’s sort of like the opposite of your fear circuit — that’s your motivation circuit, located primarily in the left prefrontal cortex. When this circuit is active, you’re feeling motivated, and confident that your goals are attainable.
Neuroscientists refer to 2 circuits in the brain, the fear circuit and your motivation circuit. These two circuits can’t be active at the same time, so when you move from one to another, it’s like flipping a switch.
Here are some principles I share with clients based on my learning of the topic. I find a few things work best:
Think of a goal you want to achieve. Anything from earning more income, to losing weight, to growing your business.
Now, get out a piece of paper and write down all of the reasons why you cannot achieve your goal — including anything you’ve tried in the past, that didn’t work.
Next, on a different page, write down all of the things you can think of and do, to help you achieve the goal. Even if you don’t know how to get there, write down “I will ask ____ for help,” or I will research ____ on Google.
When you do these steps, you’re practicing flipping the switch between your fear and motivation circuits. Step 2 activates your fear circuit, and Step 3 activates your motivation circuit. The point of the exercise is to get comfortable moving from healthy skepticism, to optimism and motivation.
When you feel yourself getting caught in a negative thought pattern, just stop, drop to a seated position, and invite your mind to do a “plot switch”.
Get out all of the negative thoughts, then switch and let the possibilities begin. If you start out by doing this on paper, you’ll soon find that you don’t even need it anymore. After time, you’ll notice that you do this in your head automatically.
Jennifer Jimbere is President of Jimbere Coaching and Consulting, Co-Founder and Resident Expert at Radical Joy Seeking Women’s Club and would like to explore synergies to work with you. Reach out to partner in possibility and learn how to up your positive experiences.
Maintain momentum and make it a great day!
Image credit and artist: LA artist and old friend Jennifer Verge
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