Training June 2017

Positive Mindset for Leaders

Simple steps at the start of the day

How do we set up a positive mindset? More importantly, how do we set it up from when we wake in the morning and when we start work? What are we feeding our mind? What things are occupying our thoughts? How do we control what we allow into our mind? Who has influence over our mindset? Are we in control, or are we being controlled?

Usually, our start to the day begins with a quick scan of our email or social media to see what has happened overnight. The problems of yesterday and the ones we will be facing hereafter are brought straight into our brain from the start of the day. We then access the media in some other format, but the content is consistently the same—predominantly bad news!

Is this the best way to get us into a positive mindset? Unfortunately, it is a fact of life and we are unlikely to change the need to access our email or check on world and local events. We could just ignore it all, but in this fast-paced world that is a luxury that we won’t be enjoying anytime soon.

Balance is better
So we can’t shut it out, but we can balance it out a bit better. Accept that the start of the day is already working against having a positive mindset and accept that it is going to be like this forever. We need to take some countermeasures. We need to create some time at the start of the day to get ourselves into a positive frame of mind. The start of the day is key because once the day gets going, the chance for any type of personal reflection is absorbed by crises, meetings, a deluge of emails, phone calls and so on.

We shouldn’t expect that somehow this positive mindset pivot is going to happen by itself. We need to schedule an intervention. Schedule is the key word here because time is all we have, and how we use it means everything. If we want to become more positive, we need to take action.

That means scheduling time to allow that to happen. It might mean that, during our commute, we are listening to podcasts on educational or motivational topics that get us thinking in a positive way. It might mean we start the day by reading something on the train or bus that is pouring positive sentences into our brain. It might mean we are reviewing our goals and the reason for them.

Goals vs. wishes
Most people don’t have concrete goals. They have wishy-washy wishes masquerading as goals. They are usually high level and aspirational—I want to be successful, rich, happy and so on. These vagaries are suspended in the ether as well, because they are not written down anywhere. Real goals are concrete, written down and have timelines and milestones.

So what about a reset for our values every day? Have we pondered just what it is we stand for? Have we distilled our “True North”? If we have spent time thinking about what type of person we are and want to be, we will need to have an internal conversation about what our values are. Writing them down for review every day helps us to reconnect with what we believe in and our best self.

So setting aside time—before the work day really gets frantic—to review our goals and our values provides us with clarity about our purpose in life and our aims and direction. How long would this take? Probably less than 10 to 15 minutes, depending on how deep we want to take the process. Is that a massive burden? This reconnecting with who we are and what we want is a way to get us organised mentally, to make sense of what is happening every day.

The alternative is that we are a rudderless mind, being blown off course at the whim of outside forces. Leaders are supposed to be the best organised because they have been put in charge of the direction of the firm. Often, however, work sucks up all the time and our personal needs are sacrificed. We have the needs of the firm and needs of our own. We need to be vigilant, because it is too easy to get that balance wrong. Start the day by ensuring a positive mindset and the balance will be assured.

Action Steps

  • Create time at the start of the day for you
  • Review your goals
  • Review your values
  • Make time to inject positive information into your brain

Engaged employees are self-motivated. The self-motivated are inspired. Inspired staff grow your business but are you inspiring them?