Are Your Blinders On?

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

• Robert Frost, from “The Road Not Taken”

We spent our Thanksgiving weekend with our small family and close bubble of friends. There was laughter, delicious food, and the cozy merriment that comes with any good holiday. Although life is so vastly different during a pandemic, there is still so much to be grateful for.

I was reminded this weekend about having a choice. Life is so full of ups and downs, isn’t it? The longer I’m in this life, the more I know it to be true! Our lives are a series of choices. Sometimes life feels like it overwhelmingly concentrates on the downs (ugh, of course this would happen!), and vice versa (those ‘winning at life’ days). What are we to do when those disappointing turns and paths guide us exactly where we don’t want to travel? We choose. We remind ourselves that the choice is there: choose to invest in the bad things and the fear, where one thought leads to the next, pulling us into those downward spirals; or we can choose to reframe the situation and invest in whatever piece we can be grateful for. We can choose to head in a different direction altogether.

It’s important to do this to counteract the negativity bias that we humans have. Even though we all have more positive emotions than negative, that bias means that the negative ones can be so potent they take over if we let them. We’re like those Clydesdale horses with the large blinders on – narrow vision, only seeing the bad right in front of us, nothing else is apparent. This is the reason that a practice of gratitude is so important. Taking the time and effort to articulate or make notes about what you are grateful for, to learn to reframe situations, and to be able to share this in the way we lead our teams and organizations.

One of my coaching clients said recently that this practice, without a doubt, is what got her through her first year of starting a new business, in the midst of a pandemic! It was the daily reframing, and taking note of what was good, that kept her in the right head space to carry on and be successful. It was that daily practice of gratitude that kept her positive emotion high, allowing her to see more possibilities and to be more creative and innovative with her decisions (because these great outcomes are the side effects of increased positivity, along with increased optimism and immunity!)

This is one of 50 daily practices we will discuss in Leading A Better Place To Work , our online course being launched this week! Other practices, such as learning how do an effective team debrief, and learning the principles of positive organizing can substantially change how you lead your teams and your organization.

Where do you want to be this time next year? What would you like to be different about your leadership, the positivity of your team or the culture of your organization?

Here are a few ways to get started in achieving your vision:

If you’re like me, 2020 probably wasn’t the year you were expecting it to be! (What an understatement!) And as for 2021? Only time will tell.

Back in April, I wrote a blog post called The 10 Gifts You Will Get From Being In Social Isolation and gift #10 was all about the gift of gratitude and how much it resonated with me during this time. How I felt I was always quite grateful (having practiced this for years), but being in isolation made me that over-the-top kind of grateful. And, there’s nothing like an ongoing pandemic to help you truly continue to put things into perspective.

To end, I’m really grateful that even during this unusual time, in an unusual world, I can still teach. I can still plan and have the big dreams about the transformation of workplaces. Technology allows me to still launch online courses out into the ether to reach people like you who might join in so that I can share what I know to be true: YOU can create a better place to work.

(And all just in time for 2021)!

P.S. The Leading A Better Place To Work course will regularly be $297 but we are offering it at introductory pricing to the first 100 participants for only $97. Choose to be one of those lucky people!

Follow this blog for more ideas on creating your better place to work!

Deborah Connors

Deborah Connors teaches leaders to radically shift culture so that people can flourish. She is an engaging speaker, storyteller, author and coach.

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