On this bluest of Mondays, I’m glad I don’t have to face the daily commute to work, battling the weather and rocking up drenched to the skin: life as a pirate worker (read remote) at FizzPopBANG has many benefits!
But as the seasons change, so does my mood, and I’m sure I’m not alone in this. With limited day light hours and the central heating permanently on, I struggle sometimes to remain positive. The weather impacts my wellbeing and my attitude towards certain things. When the sun is shining and life throws me challenges, they somehow feel surmountable, or at worse I’m able to find the positive in the situation. But when its dark and miserable, my pessimism rears its head and I sometimes find it hard to see a way forward.
I’ve been privileged to coach a few people on their emotional intelligence in recent months. I think this has heightened my awareness of my surroundings, my feelings and my mindset. The profiling tool I use explores not only behaviours and feelings but also attitudes, as the foundation to EI. I can’t advocate this enough. If you want to change behaviours then you have to start with the attitudes you hold about yourself and others. And it goes without saying that if you hold more positive attitudes, then your feelings are generally more positive and in turn this means demonstrating more positive behaviours.
Now, I’m not saying you can hold a positive mindset all the time and that this will fix everything, especially when life throws you potentially life changing challenges. Unfortunately, I’ve personally experienced some of these challenges in recent times which impact my nearest and dearest. It’s hard to not jump to dark places. But, by seeing the positive in situations and hearing the optimism from my family and friends regardless of where they currently find themselves, it gives me hope that we can grow, learn and stretch our resilience and create strategies to cope when things get tough.
Over the years I have developed my self-awareness and I have created strategies to support my “down days” to understand my triggers better, so I can try and mitigate the feelings of negativity before they take over my happiness and wellbeing. I’m also more aware of the impact my mood has on the people around me – at work and at home. I’m not always successful at turning the negatives in the positives, but I’m much better at managing my state and how I want to be seen by others than I was 20 years ago!
The foundation of any change starts with the mindset or attitude we hold (positive or negative). If we can re-frame this and seek to understand why we hold a certain perspective or belief, it increases our self-awareness and gives us choices about changing them to improve not only how we feel about something, but also our behaviours.
I started by exploring my self-limiting beliefs – little gremlins that tell me I’m not good enough or can’t achieve my goals. These were difficult to acknowledge but powerful to address. I learned to re-frame these and created empowering beliefs to tell myself instead. I sought out evidence to support and reaffirm these empowering belief – that I was capable and would see positives in my down days. If the gremlins rear their heads nowadays I’m able to swiftly acknowledge them and put them back in the box they came from. I choose to think differently about myself and give myself a good talking to!
I set out to illicit feedback from others around me. I had to tell myself that people would give me this feedback with positive intent. That helped me listen, not get defensive and then make positive changes in how I behave.
I also started to listen to my body more – it’s a pretty special piece of kit if you let it speak. I am now able to acknowledge physical signs manifesting in my stomach or tension in my shoulders; tell-tell signs that I’m feeling anxious or stressed. I’m able to check in more with my feelings and am able to label them correctly. I try not to suppress or ignore these feelings anymore; I sense them and find courage from within myself to work through them.
I force myself to take breaks and step away from the laptop. I try to switch up my working environments and head out into the day light, if I find my mood needs boosting. I reach out to members of my team to talk with them and ask for their support, through Google Hangouts or engage in a bit of humorous banter and trivial GIF sharing on the company WhatsApp group. It’s the next best thing to grabbing a coffee together when you work remotely!
And lastly I try to smile and laugh every day. Whatever life throws at us, whether that be bad weather or obstacles that sometimes feel overwhelming, I always to try to see the positive in some aspect of my day. For example, something I have successfully achieved or am proud of, or something that another person has done that made me feel good. Like a rainbow in a threatening sky, I see hope that these bad moods will pass, and I know I am able to bounce back by choosing to react positively and this will make me the happier and more successful person I want to be.
Say goodbye to the January blues and join us at The Learning Collective in London, to explore how you behave as a coach, spark the thinking of those around you and empower them to make the changes needed to unlock their success.
Want to know more? Click on the link below for more info and tickets:
PopCAST – Peter Czapp https://www.fizzpopbang.co.uk/popcasts
The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor