If You Go Along Physically, You Might as well Go Along Mentally

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I spent many years of my career in Learning and Development, including in internal and external customer facing training sessions and quite often, many of the delegates would turn up sullen faced and rather annoyed at having to attend training. In some instances, that is totally understandable given that banking regulation is frequently very dull, but in all instances, the company had invested a significant sum into training their teams and were quite pleased to be able to do so. 

The thing is though, much like many other things in life, if you show up with willing and eagerness to participate, the whole thing would be that much less of a miserable experience. You have to physically be there, so you may as well engage your mind into enjoying the experience and do what you can to fully engage in the day whether it is training or any other activity. 

In the winter, I can talk myself out of going to the gym quite easily because it is so cold and I have to get changed twice and leave in the dark, whether that’s in the morning on the way to gym or the evenings on the way back. Even talking about it like that here is making me not want to go to the gym tomorrow. But I really love the gym and going makes me feel great, strong and accomplished so I focus on those feelings that make me excited to get back there to work on my goals. When it comes to the gym, I can change my mindset quite easily so I realised I needed to apply the same principles to other areas of my life.

Every thing we do has a positive, even if it is something we dislike and that positive can turn the whole experience around. I am afraid of the dentist, not because anything significant ever happened, but as a child I managed to get myself so upset about the size of the needle in the anaesthetic injection into the roof of my mouth for a double extraction (to make space), that I refused to have dental anaesthesia thereafter, I’m tough me 😉 The noises didn’t help, nor did watching my brother almost fly out of the chair in agony. These days, I go to the dentist willingly because I know that check-ups and treatments prevent me having to be subjected to those horrible needles in future. It is the search for the positive outcome and the application of that knowledge, that keeps my head in the game. 

The human mind is stronger than the sum of all its fears, given the right thinking any situation can be turned around. Even boring training sessions or terrifying networking sessions or work conferences. If you give the situation, that you have to be in regardless, a chance and turn up fully present and engaged, you are likely to enjoy it a lot more, and you may even meet your new best friend.

How to be fully engaged

Remember why you are there. Whether it is a work, personal or social event remind yourself of the reason you are attending the event – is it career development? Is it to improve your health? Is it to expand your network? Is it to make new friends? And then expand on that reason by creating a picture in your mind (or journal) of what your life would look like if you had a better job or new friends or a stronger network. Keep that image in mind when you feel your enthusiasm fade.

Review previous experiences. Did you once attend a networking event that was awful and put you off networking for life? Now is a great time to review the event and highlight what went wrong, how you could avoid that happening again and what you would do differently this time. Then create a picture in your mind of what a successful event will look like. 

Win the Day. Set yourself small goals for the day, every day. Especially the days on which you have to attend an event you don’t want to. The goals don’t have to be huge, in fact they should be things that are reasonably achievable by you each day. By the end of the week, you’ll have loads of wins for the week. I don’t mean setting yourself goals like “Eat supper”, I mean small chunks of a big goal. For example, if you’re going to a networking event or just want to improve your current network, set a goal to connect with at least one relevant contact today, whether through LinkedIn, in the work cafeteria or the local coffee shop or at an actual event. If your goal is more personal, such as to write a book, you could set yourself a goal to write for 15 minutes every single day, no editing, just writing. Each paragraph begins to feel like a win and by the end of the week, you could have a full, unedited chapter. Small wins like this help your mind to identify success in your terms and help you to refocus.

Get out there and embrace life’s golden experiences. Life is wonderful and the world is full of predominantly lovely people. Go meet them and have some fun. 

If you would like to address how to get your mindset into tiptop shape, get in touch for a discovery call.

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