How do you prepare yourself for life, for the ups and downs of everything that’s going on around you? Whether you are focused on being the best business person available, the best parent, the best child or the best sports man or woman. What is it you’re trying to prepare for and how do you prepare yourself to avoid those speed bumps in the road?
One of the big challenges we all have is that things get in our way. People do stuff we don’t want them to do, the weather goes wrong or we have a bump in the car – these are all things that are outside of our control.
Control the controllables that help you be the best you can be. You’ve heard it before. These are the things that make a difference, that make you stand out from the crowd and enable you to be performing at your best, most of the time, more of the time.
How do you get the armour, the body armour that forms your protection? Armour for when stuff goes wrong, so you’re able to flip it, you’re able to carry on regardless.
I focus in on several techniques to help me – some will relate to you, others not so much. What are the methods you have in your armoury to take back control and perform better, even when things do go outside of your control?
Meditation can help me sometimes, that ability to just tune out. Now I’m not a master here, I don’t or can’t sit still for long enough, I have the fidgets, there is way too much noise going on inside my head that prevents me from switching off fully. Then I create or find the next stimulation or distraction (as many of us do) and I pick up the phone, sit in front of a TV screen or switch on a computer screen, whatever it might be. I rarely allow myself to have that necessary space to just think.
You might want to consider mindfulness, which is in part meditation, just allowing yourself to tune out and get into the flow. The purists might disagree with that description but it works for me and I’m happy with that. So when stuff does start going wrong or things aren’t flowing at the right pace, I am able to just tune into the things that help me relax again, that get me smiling and in turn get me back on target. It could involve focusing yourself on a sport or going for a dog walk, climbing a mountain, or just reading a book. These are all the things where we (in the mindfulness world) are able to just reboot and reconnect while the ugly stuff is forgotten or left behind.
Consider the golfer who (I do this a lot), loses the ball, shanks it off the middle of the fairway or the shot just goes wrong. Well, as with all sports, as with everything in life, what happened before is already history. When you move on to the next shot, move on to the next day, make the next phone call or attend the next meeting, what happened before can’t be changed. There’s no point in worrying about the history of what’s gone on before, it’s time to focus on the things going forward. That’s such a powerful tool to help us build our body armour just knowing we can’t change the past, good, bad or indifferent, but we can focus very much on the future and see what’s going on.
Consider a different angle – the car starts to feel a little bit rougher for no apparent reason – it’s just a bit off, maybe it is time to get the tyres checked, just to make sure. I did this recently because my gut feel, my knowledge of the car or just my sixth sense felt I should check. Two out of the four tyres were way below the desired pressure levels. Immediately after this the car started to drive more smoothly, comfortably and economically. The reality was the car didn’t feel quite right. How often are you seeing symptoms like this where things don’t feel quite right? That’s when we need to take a step to the side and reflect, consider, get support, ask for help and ask more questions.
What’s most irritating to me is when I don’t ask, press pause or reflect I start to procrastinate, to FAFF about and waste time, energy and opportunities. These symptoms can be tracked and better understood by using one very simple tool that I have used on and off throughout my career. That is journaling, keeping a diary, just writing down or keeping a log of positives, things that go right and things that go well. Because when you’re reinforcing positives, all the time, no matter the size, it definitely affects our mindset in a good way.
At the time of writing this a client of mine is going through some very intense medical treatment and his Facebook page is his journal or diary where he logs the journey. The amazing thing is he’s so positive about what is going on through his treatment and it’s very powerful. He is sharing these positives and he is talking about the smallest of victories. Clearly, he could spend the whole time detailing how ugly and how painful all the problems are that are part of that treatment but he chooses to share the wonderful things people are doing around him and the stuff he finds that makes him laugh. Meaning that every time you read his information it’s not depressing it’s uplifting, very inspiring and seriously humbling as well.
Moving forward then – let’s assume you’ve got the power team around you, you have the right people in your support network and you are managing the noise in between your ears. This alone will give you more armour that you need to control the controllable and be more in command and more focused and more brilliant more of the time, most of the time.
If I have assumed wrongly here that you are in control, what are you going to do to change? These simple things prepare us for when issues aren’t in our control, enabling us to build our body armour to a state of constant readiness for a time when it gets called upon. Remember we are not looking for perfection, we’re just looking for a positive journey. And when it doesn’t work, we are able to drop it, forget about it, reboot and continue again.
As always, if you need help finding support and the people that can help you with all of this, let’s have a conversation. Who knows who I know that might be right person to help and support you.