Reacting with mindfulness in the workplace is the perfect defense against adversarial thoughts. But what is mindfulness? It is the ability to be present in the moment and take effective action. There’s nothing to lose by practicing mindfulness, but a lot to gain, like empowerment and better outcomes in difficult situations. Throughout your career, you’ll come across challenging situations, whether it’s a conflict with a co-worker, demanding deadlines, or factors outside your control, that can influence you to react negatively. In the everyday bustle of life, our thoughts dominate more than we think (pun intended). Understanding the impact of negative self-talk is the first step towards mindfulness. Michael Annett, Managing Director at Pillars of Positivity, shares a few simple practices of mindfulness that will keep you grounded in the present for future career success.
Picture this: a situation might arise that will take you completely by surprise, and your gut reaction might be to react negatively: an eye-roll or a deep sigh. Your negative thoughts have led to negative behavior which has caused a negative situation: a downward spiral. It’s the total opposite of what you wanted to happen, and it’s certainly not part of your usual personality.
To counteract this quickly, Michael advises taking a deep breath and pausing for at least ten seconds. Just like we reset our phones when they give us trouble, consider this a mini reset for the mind. Control your antagonistic thoughts at this moment. What do you want to achieve right now? Accountability and mindfulness go hand in hand. Your actions are your responsibility and in your control.
Like any skill, it takes practice. By exercising short meditations, you’ll learn to control your thoughts while taking a step back at the same time. And a bonus of meditation? It opens the floodgates to creativity. If you won’t take us at our word, then let us introduce you to this turtleneck wearing individual. His tech innovations are part of your day-to-day life. His genius and creativity are acclaimed, but he was also known for his difficult personality which made it hard for others to work with him. That’s right, Steve Jobs was an advocate for mindfulness – so much so, that he built a meditation room in the Silicon Valley headquarters.
Take the time you need to reflect and redirect negative thoughts to productive actions.
Our internal monologue, or self-talk, follows us everywhere we go no matter where we are in our lives. You can’t escape your thoughts, and our mind goes where our thoughts go. Whether it’s positive or negative self-talk, these thoughts have power. Michael explains that these thoughts act like outputs we put out into the world without even realizing it. If we’re thinking it, chances are that we’re also acting on it subconsciously. Gaining control of negative self-talk is essential for both your career development and well-being. It’s mental preparation for the tasks and journey ahead of you.
Rein in those unhealthy thoughts with the practice of creative visualization. It’s straightforward enough: close your eyes and visualize yourself doing something successfully. The tricky part? Don’t permit fear, pessimism, or angry beliefs to enter this triumphant bubble. Believing that there’s a positive result at the end your actions will give you the boost you need. That mental shift will work with your actions, rather than against it. So next time, before a big presentation, a pitch or an interview, prepare mentally with visualization.
Take Usain Bolt: he didn’t become the fastest man in the world just by thinking it, but mindfulness shaped his determination. Before each race, he would visualize himself crossing the finish line.
His successful thoughts pushed him forward and the hours of training and vigilance did the rest. You wouldn’t expect that kind of result from someone who didn’t truly feel and believe they could do it!
Picture your success in your mind and let that realization wash over the rest of your physical self.
If those methods aren’t your style, then the vision board might be the game-changer. Many athletes, celebrities, and entrepreneurs swear by it, like Oprah, Jim Carrey, Steve Harvey and Ellen DeGeneres to name a few. Vision boards are a popular tool to set up the mind. Why? Because they are a physical visualization which makes it easier for our minds to process (seeing as we are visual creatures by nature). We learn through our experiences, so creating something like a vision board becomes an experience we remember.
Keep in mind that a vision board isn’t just about cut-out magazine photos and text. The intent behind the vision board is to also help frame our minds. Each piece you put on your vision board is deliberate. Your mental connection to it is what makes it impactful. Ask yourself what your goals for your career development look like at the success stage. There are no rules. Choose images and text that resonate with your goals. And always envision what success looks like for you!
This gift you have, the mind, is your tool to utilize in everyday life. Try it! Try it the next time you feel negative. —Michael Annett
When those pestering and damaging thoughts start to intrude in your mind, return to your vision board. Seeing it laid out in front of you will trigger the positive thoughts that lead to its creation in the first place.
With all these mindfulness exercises, the key thing to evoke is that it comes down to you. These mindfulness tools are only part of the equation. You have more power than you realize, so reclaim and embrace it! Your mind is a labor of love, and it’s essential to have it ready to go no matter the circumstances life throws your way.
As the semester winds down, you realize your professional image still needs work. If you’re wondering what to do next, maybe it’s time to start working on your brand.