I remember as a child being told “Mandie Timns you ‘re all doom and gloom!”. I was always Mrs Happy, Positive I love life or Mrs Oh no the worlds’ ending. (That’s why I know we can all change, because I have!)
As a child I loved Lost in Space and the sad robot was who I was compared to most of the time. It’s not easy to change however it is something we can all do.
So last night I was lucky enough to slide into a beautiful full length ball gown covered in sequins, spend far too long getting ready and head out to celebrate the finest businesses of my home county, Essex.
As a coach and Founder of The Business Womans Network I realise that one of my super powers is that I love business. Not just mine, everyone’s! I’m so ridiculously proud of everyone’s achievements and I’m very happy to be regaled with your business story, passion and ambitions. Therefore to spend the evening with so many businesses that I’ve helped, watched and loved for years and to see their faces light up on hearing their name called out was sheer joy.
But here’s the thing. Many of the speakers and guests were also overjoyed at everyone’s success and passion however I couldn’t help noticing the doom and gloom.
Into too many speeches in my view Brexit reared it’s stupid, unruly head. (This is not a political post so you are safe to read on.)
Why does this matter?
Surely it is something that is happening right now and could impact on all businesses?
Last time I looked I was not a politician or the Prime Minister so getting stressed about Brexit achieves nothing. On a celebratory night to mention the B word was just as useful.
Have you noticed how two people both have the same end destination or goal and yet only one will get there despite similar skills, beliefs and passion, why?
And what does that have to do with Brexit?
Concentrating on the negative around us is not good for business, we do need to be mindful of what could impact on success, our teams, our suppliers and profit margins however ultimately you don’t have control over Brexit so talking about it only creates fear, tension, negativity and nervousness – and consider any big occasion in your life, were those feelings and thoughts useful or damaging?
It is mindful to remember that bad news sells, not good news, and as such if you want proof that it’s all doom and gloom you are going to be able to find it, however if you want to hear that business is good, people are seeing record breaking sales, profit margins and companies are sustaining growth despite smaller budgets, then you can find evidence of that too.
You see the human is a clever thing, it can look where it’s told to, the brain in all humans can be powered up for greatness or reduced to a nervous bundle of oozing do nothing just with a thought. So if you concentrate on the negative your actions will be impacted upon.
This is not pie in the sky, airy fairy “your coach believes in you” nonsense, this is factual. I can work with a team who know that there is no more money, there will be no extra staff, they do have far too many emails and the to do list seems to grow as fast as they tick things off – and despite what could be perceived as doom and gloom there company grows, the staff become happier and feel more respected, KPI’s are nailed and profits grow. What did I do?
So often when I’m working with a new client I hear “We want to achieve this” and when I ask them to explain it in more detail there is no depth to their want for that goal. Which means that in times of uncertainty as we clearly could be considered as having right now, it’s imperative that you choose the calibre of your thoughts. Remember bad new sells, and you are not a news story.
Define your own direction. Don’t get pulled into a negative rabbit hole. Concentrate on what you want and how you are going to ensure you will get there, we all know someone that has achieved great things despite the odds.
That’s all of us right now.
Ditch the doom and gloom. Leave that for your competitors. I established The BWN in the middle of the last recession. If I’d listened to the doom and gloomers I’d have believed;
The list was long, and I didn’t’ listen to any of it. If anything I have always found that when everyone else is stunned like a rabbit in the headlights that is the perfect time to think big, plan well, structure the actions and concentrate on what you really want. Because you are likely to achieve despite anything. It’s your choice where you choose to focus your thoughts, energy and actions – choose wisely.
Words you wouldn’t expect to hear from a business woman whose father taught her never lie. As Dad always says;
“Never lie, with a thief you know they will always try and steal from you, with a liar you never know where you stand.”
It’s a rule I’ve always applied to my life and every aspect of it.
But today I realised that’s a lie. Oh the irony!
You see I think sometimes we do have to lie, but the only person even now I’m lying to is me.
You see if I didn’t I’m not sure I could cope.
The last 4 years have tested me physically and mentally like never before. I have Lupus, Sjogrens, Reynard’s and Fibromyalgia. You don’t need to know what they are, just that if you wanted to know what that means, imagine going Christmas shopping for 10 hours in heels, then having a massive party night and waking up the next day with flu. That would give you a hint of the way it feels most of the time. So if I don’t lie to myself how would I get up?
I have to tell myself that I can do it, when I feel like I can’t.
I have to tell myself those steps won’t hurt, when they do.
I tell myself that I’m full of energy, when I’m struggling to put a pair of tights on.
I shout in my mind “Go for it Mandie, its mind over matter. And if you don’t mind it don’t matter.”
And when people say “How are you?” I say “Fine thanks, you?” That is not the British I’m fine when I know I’m not. That’s the I live with an illness that means I will pour medication down my throat every day of my life and I know that one activity too many can floor me for days. But I will not be dragged down by this and so I lie.
So I ask you, is that a lie?
Or is that protection?
Is that dogged determination to live life to the fullest and still respect my body?
Sometimes I wonder. Sometimes when someone who cares say’s how are you “I’d like to burst into tears and lean on their shoulder and say “I don’t want to do this anymore, oh woe is me, it’s not fair, rant, rant ,rant…..” But where would that get me?
A part from having people crossing the street to avoid me. I think that level of giving in is not good for you long term, you need to understand that we all need to know when to sob on a shoulder to someone and when to raise our heads high, suck our guts in, suck it up and say “Bring it on, I’m ready!”
I don’t have the attitude that some try to give me. “It could be worse” because that’s madness. Because let’s be honest it could be a lot better too.
I have the attitude that I can, and I will.
And sometimes I know I need to not lie to me and I have to listen to that voice that says “give it up Mandie, sit on your butt and accept life is over” As one helpful doctor once tried to tell me. Sometimes I pick up the phone to a friend and say “I need to talk.”I book myself in with my incredible friend and holistic therapist, Brenda Seaborn and let my body talk to Bren and let her fix it without my thinking. I know it helps and I let myself have those moments where I’m honest and I work out a new way to deal with things.
I bet you are thinking Mandie, you normally share work ideas, ways to grow my business or overcome my business obstacles and fears, how is this relevant?
Well ask yourself “Are you lying to yourself?” are there things that you are putting up with and allowing to be obstacles to your success?
As I like to say “If you allow that obstacle to stay, what are you agreeing to? What are you accepting you can’t achieve?”
Remember your brain is one big muscle and if you don’t train it to get the results you want, it will get flabby, out of peak performance reverting to negative automatic thought processes that keep you stuck.
So go on be honest with yourself and still have my attitude – “Raise your head high, suck your gut in, suck it up and say “Bring it on, I’m ready!”
(And if you are lucky enough to live in Essex or Suffolk, UK then you are lucky enough to have a try of Brenda Seaborn’s brilliance for yourself. Visit her website for more information http://www.banishstress.co.uk/ )