This blog introduces you to my special brand of BIKE. I show you how to find your Best self, access your Inner strength, tune in to your Killer instincts, and use your Expressive voice. It's inspiring, spiritual, quirky, and it's all in your head. It's about ATTITUDE, not exercise, though that might be a side benefit.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

COPING STRATEGY: Package your Positives

I don't know where this thought comes from, other than from the fact that I believe it's much better to focus on what's going great in our lives rather than on what's going in the opposite direction.

So I like to package the positives. I like to bunch them all together in neat little notebooks and lists and images. I'm a visual person so I'm not surprised I do this. And I've decided it's good advice for anyone who's in a bind, no matter the reason. We all get in them, and we all need a way out.

Take work, for example, six months ago and maybe a little more, my work schedule was pretty much non-existent. I had so much going on in my personal life (my 11-year-old dog had died, my daughter was having a baby, and my boyfriend had just learned he was going to need open heart surgery) that I let work slip to the bottom of the priority list. It just wasn't all that important to me that I pitch 20 different ways to play under the desert sun. I didn't care. I had more important things to do with my time. My focus needed to be on the people in my life, and that's all there was too it. And that's what I managed to do. 

But when all the choas had passed, when my daughter was settled in her new life with child and my boyfriend had survived his surgery and his health was back to normal, I was still left with no work. I had no income coming in! Suffice it to say, I was not feeling so great about things then, and I started to worry and fret. A lot. I worried about the bills, about my bank account, about my future.

What on earth was I going to do?!

Luckily, I have a very limited ability to stand myself when I'm wallowing. I do it. I think it's necessary. We should all get to feel sorry for ourselves when we're challenged. But I'm not one to wallow for long. It's not a person's best trait, that's for sure. So I always manage to figure out what I have to do next, and then I start doing it. Although that doesn't necessarily stop me from worrying, it helps deliver me from self-doubt. Eventually.

So the first thing I did was the easiest and the most obvious thing. No work? Pitch! So I sat down at my desk to start pitching like crazy, to everyone about everything I could think of. I signed on with other writers to gather moral support. And I started using a friend's advice. Ask for referrals, he told me. That wasn't something I was in the habit of doing. And it took me a while before I got the hang of it. But I did. I started asking for referrals. I also started focusing on my own health and got back into a regular exercise routine. Sometime in between, I allowed myself to take a long trip I'd been planning, even though I questioned the timing and the cost. Then I signed up for yoga classes--something I'm doing with the boyfriend. Since I knew I needed to find a mentor, someone who would help hold me accountable, I shopped around for her. It may sound crazy, but I knew I needed a boss. So I hired one. Imagine that. A freelancer hiring a boss. But I did, and it's all worked out just as I knew it would. In time.

You have to have patience when you're going through a difficult time, especially in my line of work. Patience is a virtue, and all that. Guess what? I'm now seeing the health benefits. I'm less stressed. And work is coming my way. Life is starting to feel productive and peaceful again.

So what's the secret? I think the secret is to package your positives. The more the merrier, as they say. When things are going wrong in your life, that's the best time to begin to place focus on what's going right. Grab every little plus you can find and stick them all in a mental basket of goodies and focus your attention on that. When you are determined to improve, no matter what it is that needs improvement, you will do it. You will accomplish your goal because that is what you've decided to do. That is where you focus your thoughts. That is where your actions will lead you. That is why I've taken all the steps that I've taken, made the choices that I've made, and seen such good results. In one week alone I've gotten four new assignments! So package your positives, and then turn it into a gift. That gift becomes your promise that goes something like this: I promise myself success. 

If you make such a promise to yourself, that is what you will get.

So let me ask you: when was the last time you promised yourself success? If you haven't in a while, or if you've never promised yourself such a thing, take time now to do that by packaging your positives.

Here's how:
  • Think of all action steps you've taken lately to achieve a goal you have. 
  • Write them down. Write everything down you can think of, even the steps you've taken without much thought. Count everything. 
  • Rip or cut each individual step into its own separate piece of paper. You can be as neat and elaborate about this as you like. And you can have as many positive points as you can think of. Hundreds, even! Be creative.
  • Once you have your steps divided into their individual pieces of paper, physically package them by sticking them in a box, an envelope, or a gift bag, whatever you like or have handy. 
  • Decorate the package if you think that will mean something to you. 
  • Hold the gift and state your promise, and then place the package (this gift to yourself) somewhere so that it can act as a visual reminder of the success you have already. 
The next time you start to feel unsure of yourself, focus instead on what you've done to move forward. Write that down as a positive and add it to your package. Soon enough, that physical package won't be necessary. It will become automatic for you to focus on the positive. You will have changed the way you think and respond to challenges. Your physical reminder will move into your thought process, and it will become the mental message you need to continue moving forward at a much faster pace.

If you try this at home, come back and let us know how well it worked.


Cindy White said...

Love this post. Thanks for the pep talk!

Anjuli said...

What a great post- I love the idea "package your positives"-- This past week I've done alot of discussing on this VERY same topic w/ my hubby and others. Why is it we choose to see the one or two negative things and discard the 99 other positive things? When we package our positives we definitely will be more likely to see the POSITIVES rather than the negatives.

Great update!!!

BIKE LADY said...

Thank you, thank you, both of you.

Tia Bach said...

Wow. I'm going to let this marinate and come back tomorrow and re-read. I want it to really sink in, because it's just such wonderful advice.

Thanks for sharing this. Truly.

Joan Lambert Bailey said...

Thanks for a great post! We were just discussing how important it is to focus on the positive. I keep a daily journal, too, to capture my impressions of the day, what I'm reading, etc., and I found it really helped to focus on the positive. Once I wrote "End of a good day." I found my mind went to those things that had been right and wonderful. It helped me find even the good in a day that had a few dodgey moments, too.