My friend Joe Corona at PeakFormance Consulting recently penned this fun and timely article. With so much over-serious information on health, safety and the economy, I thought a some helpful information on a bit more playful note would be nice. I think you’ll find Joe’s way of looking at how we all get through this year to be inspiring and perhaps bring a smile to your face.
We all know how important it is to remain positive in these challenging times. But it is a whole lot easier said than done, right? Based on recent interactions with clients and others it is quite clear that maintaining a positive attitude is difficult these days. With so much information coming our way, much of it very confusing and conflicting, it creeps into every facet of our lives and can affect our well-being. How do we stay positive when facing so much negativity and uncertainty? How can we maintain a foundation of positivity as we work our way to this “new normal”? Can it be done? It absolutely can! So, for this month’s article I am focusing on the very important subject – positivity. After compiling feedback, I developed a list of five dynamics that seem especially challenging to our attitudes. Then to make it a bit more fun, I thought what better source of inspiration than drawing on the genius of classic rock and roll (my favorite!). Here are five rock and roll inspired strategies to help us maintain a positive attitude:
“Don’t let the sound of your own wheels drive you crazy” – Take it Easy, The Eagles
As human beings we have a natural desire to associate with others. We crave interpersonal relationships for support, variety, entertainment and our overall well-being. We rely on others to help us think through challenges, solve problems, provide advice and valuable perspective. We need each other to help deal with, and occasionally distract us, from the messiness of life. A 2010 report from the Journal of Health and Social Behavior cited evidence suggesting that interacting with others in a personal or professional setting is important for both our mental and physical health. The pandemic has threatened our ability to interact naturally with others. You are likely spending considerably more time in relative isolation which causes the “sound of your own wheels to drive you crazy”. So how do we bridge the gap and maintain interpersonal relationships that are so important? A few suggestions:
Build social interaction into your exercise schedule. Schedule walks, runs, bike rides, etc. with family, friends and neighbors. Either connect by phone or develop a socially distanced approach. It is an excellent way to knock out your physical fitness and social interaction needs at the same time.
Virtual Gatherings – Many organizations, families and friends are scheduling virtual happy hours or meals to stay connected and socialize. Its certainty is not the same as face-to-face, but it is a great alternative!
Don’t be afraid to open up – We are all struggling to adapt to an unprecedented situation. So, opening up to others about your challenges is a great way to put them in perspective and help you recognize that you are not alone.
Network, Network, Network – Dedicate a certain amount of time to reaching out to professional connections. You will find they are just as anxious to hear from you as you are to connect with them. What a great opportunity to connect with those you may have lost touch with.
2. “Don’t stop believin’, hold onto that feeling” – Don’t Stop Believin’, Journey
Perhaps we are becoming little tone deaf to what seems a bit clique at this point, “we will get through this”. It can be difficult to continue to believe it when you are in the midst of uncertainty and disruption. But we alone determine our own reality. Every morning when we wake it is our decision to choose positive or negative. Think about some of the biggest challenges you, this nation and the world have endured. Some really tough stuff! But no matter how challenging the situation, we always find our way through it, and today’s challenges are no different. The disruption that we have experienced over the last several months is unprecedented for sure. It has shaken us to the core. But we will endure yet again! “Don’t stop belivin”!!
3. “Just hold on loosely, but don’t let go. If you cling too tightly your’re gonna lose control – Hold on Loosely, 38 Special
This is very sound advice right now! Faced with so much uncertainty, having unrealistic expectations will cause more anxiety and frustration. No one really knows what the new normal will look like, not even the so called “experts”. Uncertainty is part of today’s normal, a reality we need to accept and adapt to. If you “cling too tightly” in pressing for certainty, “you’re gonna lose control”. As hard as it is, we need to “hold on loosely” to this very uncertain situation and accept that it will continue to evolve. We all want to know when the kids will return to school, when offices will reopen, when team sports will resume, and when this nasty virus will go away. We will get answers, we just don’t know when. So, lessen the tension and anxiety that uncertain expectations cause, and “hold on loosely”. As difficult as it is, we need to work on becoming more comfortable being a little uncomfortable as it is necessary to maintain a positive attitude.
4. “Once I rose above the noise and confusion, just to get a glimpse beyond the illusion. I was soaring ever higher” – Carry on My Wayward Son, Kansas
Are you sometimes overwhelmed by information overload? In this digital world we are continuously connected to massive amounts of information, much of which is negative. Our mobile devices, TV’s, radios, and computers are like fire hoses blasting information 24/7. Tell me that doesn’t challenge the attitude? We need to occasionally “rise above the noise and confusion” so we can think, reflect, and reason our way through these difficult times. Get “beyond the illusion” of negativity that so influences are well-being. So, lets “rise above the noise and confusion” and remember the many things we have to be grateful for. It provides much needed perspective on what is really important. It will cause us to soar “ever higher”!
5. “Take my hand, we’ll make it I swear. Livin on a prayer” – Livin on a Prayer, Bon Jovi
Deep down we all genuinely believe we are going to endure these challenging times. But life can get pretty challenging, and thus make it difficult to maintain the conviction we have in our heart of hearts. “We’ll make it I swear”! We will endure by relying on our faith, each other, and our trust that human ingenuity will rise above. So, if you are inclined, please continue to pray for this world, those affected by the virus, and a speedy return to normal times. Let’s all take the time to extend your hand to others and tell them “we’ll make it I swear”!
In conclusion, in this Walk of Life (Dire Straits) I see trouble on the way (Credence). You’ve got to roll with the punches to get to what’s real (Van Halen). Just know that every rose has its thorn, just like every night has its dawn (Poison). So, Don’t Give Up (Peter Gabriel), we will endure with a little help from our friends (Beatles). Despite this Land of Confusion (Genesis) This world still looks the same (The Eagles). So, Listen to the Music (The Doobie Brothers) and Let the Good Times Roll (The Cars). A new day will dawn for those that stand strong (Led Zeppelin).
Rock on and stay positive my Friends!
PeakFormance Consulting specializes in advising executives and organizations on how to develop high-performing leaders and teams. Joe can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
John Schaefer is the founder of Schaefer Recognition Group. He represents Incentive Services and helps clients optimize their approach to recognition, employee engagement and performance management as they work to engage employees, grow their culture and gain an competitive advantage.