“I’m worried that if I go back, people will see me as a failure.”
“How many times in your career have you succeeded?”
“Countless, I’ve had a very successful career”
“And how many times have you failed?”
Put like this, it seems a little ridiculous. Yet we’re all guilty of focusing on the negatives, the failures and the setbacks rather than the positives, the victories and the learns.
It’s a natural human trait that is consistently reinforced throughout our lives by the media, colleagues, friends and family.
Quick to make a joke about it, my dad would never miss an opportunity to point out a mistake or a failing. So it’s no wonder that, for a long time, I would focus on what I’d done wrong rather than celebrating the successes.
It took time and being consistent to get to where I can look back on a week, a month, a year and say “yes it was tough, but look at the success I’ve had.”
It took longer to understand that the opinion of others do not matter.
And I’m still working on how to live my life focused on the positives and not worry about the opinion of others.
But here is what I have done so far to help me, and hopefully it can help you too.
1. To help foster a positive mindset, write a gratitude diary. Every night before you go to sleep, write 3-5 things that you are grateful for that happened that day. It can be anything from “glad I have a kettle to make cups of tea” to “excited that I joined The Returners’ Tribe”. The only rule is that once you’ve said you’re grateful for something, you can’t use it again that week.
2. Combine the power of the gratitude diary with the confidence journal. Reinforce your positive mindset by reminding yourself regularly just how good you are.
3. See any failures or mistakes as learning opportunities. Celebrate them as ways you can improve. Welcome them.
4. Decide whose opinions matter (and whose don’t). I value you as a Tribe member or as a member of our Facebook group. I love my friends and family, but I decided that the only person whose opinion matters to me regarding my success is my wife’s.
This bit is really hard. Of course I care about what you think about The Returners’ Tribe. I value your feedback and often implement your ideas to improve Tribe and make it better for you. But this is different, and I have to keep reminding myself of this. Only my wife affects whether I see an event as a success or a failure.
You might choose your partner, a parent, your best friend, or someone completely independent. Just make sure they are objective, positive and you trust them.
Implementing these steps and working on your mindset is not a simple process, but it is definitely worth doing and doing right.
To have that ability to focus on the positive, to decide on your own whether you will be seen as a success or a failure, to control your own story is a very powerful thing to have.
And it starts now.