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