Stay Positive

4 Tips for staying positive

Stay Positive

Positive thinking will let you do everything better than negative thinking will. — Zig Ziglar

How often have you heard or thought the following? I have never seen things this bad. Things are really messed up. I am not surprised that happened, bad things are always happening to me. That can never work, it has never worked before. I really don’t see things getting better. I am really worried, the last time something like this happened it was really bad. I know I hear them quite frequently and often times find these things running through my own thoughts.

We have a natural tendency to seek the negative. It is probably in our ancestral DNA as a leftover defense mechanism for detecting danger. It may have helped our ancestors remain alert to hidden dangers and gave them an edge when facing a physical challenges. For us, it is a part of our nature that can get out of control and actually create danger for us. As this negative thought process tends to support worry and stress, it can drag us down both physically and emotionally. This leads to a chain reaction of worry and stress that consumes our energy, reinforces unrealistic concerns and robs us of our creativity. Ultimately, it robs us of our ability to appreciate and enjoy today.

In fact, this negative worry and stress cycle can lead to a condition called rumination. This is a term used to describe a process where by we relive a past negative experience including the emotions involved in a never ending cycle of preoccupation. We relive a single emotional event over and over again, remembering all of the bad things that happened and how that felt. This puts us back in that same situation again bringing those fear emotions to the surface that were originally meant to stir our action for survival. However, now they serve no purpose because we no longer need them. We survived. We are not currently in danger, but we make ourselves feel that way repeatedly. We have to break the cycle.

Negative things happen all around us everyday, we can’t avoid them. Ultimately we need to find a way to stay positive or we will be forever drawn into the worry-cycle that robs us of our happiness. We have to reprogram ourselves to see the positive. There are many techniques available to us to help us see the positive and stay that way. However, first we have to break the rumination cycle and stop letting our survival emotions keep us from achieving perspective on our past event and let us process it away.

One of the best techniques to break the rumination cycle is to reflect on events in the third person as it helps to remove the emotion. We no longer need the emotion, we are no longer in danger. We do not need the adrenalin boost to get out of danger. We just need to be able to process this event like any other event. A very helpful technique is to restate the situation from the perspective of a bystander also known as third person. State the event as if we are an observer. Say it simply and without emotion. After all, through the eyes of a third party, it was just another event. This is not meant to minimize the seriousness of the event, but just get us out of the action.

We will be surprised at just how much different the event replays when it is no longer happening to us. We will then see it without the fight or flight emotion of being the victim and be able to engage our reasoning to work our way through this event like we would any other event. Typically, we are able to analyze our experiences, learn what we can and abandon the rest. We do not dwell on the past or even relive the event, we just add what we have learned to our library of experiences.

To be happy there is very little other choice.

Here are 4 tips to help us stay positive:

Our Reputation is our Currency

4 Tips for managing our reputation account

Our Reputation is our Currency

“It takes many good deeds to build a good reputation, and only one bad one to lose it.” — Benjamin Franklin

One of our greatest assets is our reputation. Our reputation is a reflection of our character and our calling card for our future. Our reputation is the current accumulation of the impression others hold of our accomplishments. It is the net result of what we have done and the way we have done it. Even those who have chosen to produce nothing have a reputation. We each have a reputation. There is no escaping the fact that others consider our credibility and set expectations based on our reputation, and that either opens or closes doors for our future.

Our reputation serves to provide opportunity or stand in our way to our next success. In a way, it serves as a form of currency. We add to our account when we accomplish something that produces respect in the eyes of our observers. When we complete a task or activity or produce something of value, the net result of that accomplishment gets credited to our reputation. Completing a project with excellence, helping someone in need, taking time to teach another, producing a better widget, all are things that get credited to our account in a positive way. Think of these as a net deposit to our account.

We make withdrawals from our account when we do something that damages our reputation. Claiming someone else’s work as our own, not meeting our commitment, not completing the work we were paid to produce and other things of that nature, withdraw from our account. The rate of withdrawal may be much more rapid than the rate of deposit of positive experiences.

We borrow from our account when we ask other people to trust us or to trust someone else based on our recommendation. When we ask people to move forward with something they are not sure about, they do so based on the value of our reputation. If in their eyes we have proven knowledgable and trustworthy then they will take a risk based on our advice. We have loaned out our credibility and reputation in the form of trust. If our advice proves trustworthy then our account will be credited with interest. If our advice proves not to be trustworthy, then we will have lost the value of their trust and reduce the balance in our reputation account.

Everything we do or say impacts our reputation and impacts how other people see us. With every interaction we are either adding or subtracting from our balance. We either continue to prove our trustworthiness or we diminish it. Every transaction either adds or subtracts from our account.

More than ever our reputation is being measured in public. Social media like Facebook and Twitter make it extremely convenient for others to vocalize their opinions of us. Metrics are available such as likes or retweets. If we publish, our readers may make comments. When we produce something our product may be reviewed on Amazon or Yelp and our comments may produce reactions. Consider that even our credit rating is a measure of our reputation. All of these things drive the total picture of who we are and either raise or lower the balance in our reputation account.

Our reputation is earned, not inherited or purchased. There is no amount of money that can buy a good reputation. Money may be spent to create positive messages, but in the end it is the people that we interact with that determine our reputation. Eventually, our true character will filter through the publicity and set the tone of our reputation. Our reputation is driven by our actions and how they are perceived by others.

It takes a long time to build a positive balance in our account but we can throw it away in a few minutes. We need to be careful how we spend our reputation. Do we continue to use it as capital to build greater success or do we throw it away by compromising our values?

Here are 4 tips for managing our reputation account:

1) Live our values. Ultimately our true values will be revealed. We are better served to understand our values and live up to our standards. Anything else will eventually be revealed in our reputation.

2) Think before we act. Is this action something that we could be proud of or does it fall short of our character? Pause to evaluate our action and not just follow the crowd.

3) Consider how our actions will be perceived. We need to act according to our values, but we need to do so in a way that considers how it will be received. Act in a manner that is encouraging and uplifting, even if the action is providing adjusting feedback.

4) Learn from our mistakes. We are not perfect and it is beyond our capability to be so. However, we can strive to do better next time. As we demonstrate our commitment to following our values our failures will be diminished and our reputation will be reinforced.

In the end it is all about living up to our values and making sure our actions reflect that. The accumulation of the net of our deposits and withdrawals from our account sets the value of our reputation.

Thank you for spending time with me today. I am very interested in hearing more about how you spend your reputation account.


Skip Gilbert

Get Out of Our Own Way for Success

4 Tips for getting out of our own way for success

Get Out of Our Own Way for Success

Have you ever felt like things are just going too good, there must be something bad around the corner? Or things are starting to go well, I’m afraid to change anything because I may mess it up? Or how about, things seem to be stable now, but I know something bad is about to happen? I know at times I have had these thoughts, how about you?

If we are having these thoughts, we need to get them under control. Anticipating that something bad will happen just because nothing bad is happening at the moment is a formula for failure. We are expending energy focusing on things that may (or may not) happen rather than enjoying this moment of success and pouring our energy into creating more success. Sometimes we just need to get out of our own way.

We may find that we are afraid of success. We dream big and develop good plans that are leading to success and then as success approaches, we become apprehensive in accepting the results of our success. As an example, we may have developed a great breakthrough that will significantly improve a critical process at work. As we move forward with implementing our idea, we are overwhelmed with anxiety around the small risk that it will fail. The pressure builds as we realize that we will have to make a number of presentations to the executives to get everyone to follow the new procedure. All of the energy we put into worry is just wasted effort. Our effort will more than likely be successful and our anxieties are usually overblown. We need to maintain the same confidence we had in ourselves at the start of the effort all the way through the end of the effort and things will be just fine.

When we sabotage ourselves we may find our impending success is not as impactful as it could be. We may find that we are pursuing something that will bring success and we either knowingly or subconsciously start doing things that will limit the success. For example, we may be pursuing our big breakthrough project and then stop doing the follow-through on our communications as effectively as we are able, such that the success may not end up being everything we know it could be. Again, our fear that the results may be bigger than we are or may expose our perceived shortcomings causes us to try to diminish the level of success. We are just getting in our own way.

By focusing on the negative possibilities we risk bringing on the negative consequences we are projecting. Much like when learning to ride a bicycle for the first time, we see the hole in the road and are so afraid of hitting it we actually drive right into it. When we become overly focused on the negative, we lose our perspective and end up being drawn into the thing we are trying to avoid.

Basically, we are on a path for success and we get in our own way. The solution is to get out of our own way! The things we do to produce the success are the things we need to do to secure the success. We are more than able to follow-through on our good ideas. The success that comes our way as a result of our hard work is success that we deserve and we should enjoy it. Don’t stop short of the finish line, we are actually about to win the race!

So what can we do to get out of our own way? Here are 4 tips to help us.

1) Be consistent in our approach. Keep going with the things that have brought us this far. Keep going when we are starting to feel the pressure of success.

2) Maintain our confidence. Battle our own insecurities with confidence. Be complete in our preparation for the challenge. If giving a presentation, be sure to take time to develop it and rehearse. Be in the position of knowing the subject better than anyone else and we will have nothing to worry about. We are the expert and it will be apparent that we know what we are talking about.

3) Continue to be bold in our thinking. Bold thoughts put us on this path, bold thoughts brought us this far, bold thoughts will take us across the finish line.

4) Recognize those that helped. Chances are we are not the only ones involved in the success. Be sure to share the success with everyone involved. Do not make the success about us, but make it about everyone who helped and the success will flow back to us.

We did the work, things are looking good, now bring home the success! We deserve it and so do those around us. Be the leader all the way across the finish line, we are winning the race!


Skip Gilbert

Take Time to Celebrate Success

4 Tips to celebrate success

Take Time to Celebrate Success

The more you praise and celebrate your life, the more there is in life to celebrate. — Oprah Winfrey

How did things go last week? Which do you recall more, the successes or the challenges? There were successes, actually many of them. Did you take the the time to enjoy the success or were there too many pending challenges to take time to reflect?

If you are like many of us, the busyness of everyday crowds out our time to reflect on our accomplishments. We are busy in our multi-tasking mindset, trying to manage numerous things at the same time with little extra time. It seems that the only celebration is in the form of relief that something has come off the list of things that need to be done. Accomplishing something just gives us more opportunity to work on the other things demanding our attention.

When we take the time to reflect and consider our accomplishments, we most always find that we are winning. Who would have guessed it? It sure doesn’t feel that way. There are so many things demanding our attention that we do not even realize that we are winning in our battle for success. Most of the things we attempted worked and if we are focused on the right things, actually moved us ahead. We did the work, but didn’t take the time to appreciate the success and enjoy the satisfaction. Yet, achieving satisfaction is one of our biggest drivers toward undertaking an activity in the first place.

Satisfaction is the net reward of success. It is the great feeling that we get when we accomplish something that aligns with our values. It is the big reason we set out to accomplish something in the first place. Work without satisfaction is just a job. Work that provides satisfaction is success. We need to recognize our success to continue to motivate ourselves to achieve more. Not recognizing our success is like winning the game but not looking at the final score on the scoreboard. We have earned the opportunity for the satisfaction, we need to be sure to enjoy it.

The true impact of our celebration is to reinforce our learning. The things we learn from each experience are probably more important than the thing we accomplished. Our learnings go with us forever and the thing we accomplished we leave behind. Taking time to celebrate our success allows us to tie what we learned to our positive emotion of satisfaction and make it available to us as a positive tool for use in the future.

So let’s celebrate! Woo Hoo, we did it! Good for us! When we reflect on last week there were a lot of things that went our way and were accomplished. Large and small, the things we did worked. We held our own in a meeting, everybody got to school on time, we made progress on a big project, we even found time to cut the grass. A lot of things went well thanks to us.

It is important that we reflect on the accomplishments that were important to us. Of course we want to please other people, but if at the root of our activity we are not pleased with ourselves, we will not achieve satisfaction. Don’t be afraid to privately pat ourselves on the back. We deserve it. We do not need to be overly boastful, but we deserve the recognition for the things we accomplished.

We should also offer others the opportunity to celebrate with us. It may surprise us to find that others noticed our accomplishments and are excited for us as well. Who knew they even noticed! We are all pretty busy and just like us, they sometimes just do not have the opportunity to express appreciation.

How about it! When we take time to look at the scoreboard we are actually winning and we have a fan club! How cool is that!

So let’s take a look at some of the things we can do to make sure we celebrate our success. Here are 4 tips that we can use everyday: