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Think of it like this: You attend a meeting that NN was in. When you leave, you approach Positive Polly and share with her, “It’s so frustrating dealing with NN. Why is she still here? All we do is constantly listen to her babble and unhappiness.”
Once you have your reframing options, pick one to take action on. Nothing changes until you act on it. Small actions make a huge difference. If you want to know the best leadership book to read, you may initially think you don’t know any. But your brain can solve that dilemma. It’ll reply with ideas to look up leadership books on Google, put a post on Facebook asking your friends for their recommendations, or look up Amazon book reviews. Then it’s time to decide which action you’ll take (i.e., choose a book and order it). Small, consistent actions are key to eradicating negative thinking.
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Your thoughts are the fundamental foundation of everything you do and don’t do, yet often you don’t consider them. When was the last time you thought about what you thought about?
Recognize your thoughts. There’s an exercise to help you specifically identify your negative thoughts. It’s called the stand up/sit down exercise. This is a great exercise to do as a team. Have someone read a set of statements. For every statement you agree with, you will move your body. Everyone starts in a stand-up position.
Before you know it you become a Negative Nancy, and Positive Polly sees the effect the original NN has had on you and the team. It only takes one person thinking negatively to bring down the whole environment, culture, and team. In order to help you, Positive Polly shares the following.
For example, if the first statement is, “If you’ve ever thought you’re not smart enough,” and you agree, you’ll sit down. If you disagree with the statement, you’ll remain as you were. If the next statement is, “If you’ve ever thought you don’t have enough time,” and you agree, you’ll move (either stand up or sit down, depending on what you did for the first statement). This repeats for every statement read (there should be about 15 statements read).
List all the ways to reframe the negative thought. There are two ways to do this reframing. First, you can say the opposite of the negative statement. Instead of staying, “I’m not a good enough leader,” you can say, “I’m an awesome leader.” The second way is to ask questions. For instance, “What courses do I need to take to become a better leader,” “What leadership book should I read to improve my leadership skills?” or, “Who can mentor me into being a better leader?” Your brain is constantly analyzing. If you say you’re not a good enough leader, your brain will validate it with all the ways that it’s true. If you say you’re an awesome leader, your brain will validate it with all the ways that it’s true. So, listening to the positive responses of your brain will make all the difference in your work and life.
Do you have a Negative Nancy (NN) or Toxic Tim (TT) that you’re keeping longer than you should? Would you let them go if you weren’t so short staffed? One Negative Nancy or Toxic Tim infiltrates the whole company, and their attitude spreads throughout, affecting everyone.
Most people think they are positive and optimistic—yet negativity shows, and they don’t even recognize it. In fact, 90% of your thoughts are repetitive. So, all the negative thoughts keep getting repeated, affecting how you show up, speak out, lead, and live.
The more you work through this process, the more positive thoughts you’ll have. You’ll soon recognize negative thoughts in others and can help them master their own mindset. You’ll become the Positive Polly and help develop a positive work environment that no one wants to leave.