The Art of Positive Reflection

31 March 2017

Who doesn’t love a Friday afternoon, a time to slide into the weekend, take a breath, reflect on the past week and smile with the knowledge that perhaps a sleep-in is coming your way (if you managed to wrap up the cricket season with the kids!), or a chance to catch-up with friends and chill rather than racing around. These Fridays are even better when it is the end of a month or a quarter – you can really reflect on how things have been going in all facets of your life – did I achieve what I set out to do, have I learnt anything, did I challenge myself, did I make progress?

March 31 is a Friday, it is the end of a month and it is the end of the first quarter of 2017.

While it is not new to hear that people feel incredibly busy, overwhelmed or just not finding the time to get the right things done, for some reason it has felt even more evident for the past three months.

So, while I reflect on the first quarter, I note that my mind races towards what I have not done rather than all the great stuff (which includes a fabulous trip to Havana Cuba) that I have done. How do we focus on the positives and accept that the negative stuff is a reality, but not necessarily a constant?

I know the last week has been pretty frustrating – we lost the opportunity to employ a fabulous applicant for our business, Cyclone Debbie created havoc for our state as well as for our businesses – juggling kids out of school for two days, a strategic workshop I was attending (and really looking forward to) was cancelled, a client who we really do want to help does not seem to want to help themselves, a speech to a bunch of eager graduates was postponed and a supplier has missed their deadline which means we will be scrambling early next week.

Steering the Mind Towards the Positives

I am an optimist by nature; I can pretty readily steer my mind towards the positives, but this is not always the case and when I feel a bit defeated or deflated, I need a few reminders of how I can recognise what I did do rather than did not do. Some of the things that help me:

  • I ask myself the question ‘what was so bad as a result of x or y happening’ – more often than not, the answer is nothing, yes it was disappointing or frustrating, but nothing terribly bad happened as a result
  • I think about others who are less fortunate than me; perhaps those who are still without power from Cyclone Debbie or those who missed the job they were hoping for – by focusing on others, it is very easy to get a handle of what is real and important, empathy is a true-balancer
  • I am bold with my goals for the coming week, month or quarter – resetting enables me to focus on achievement and the future, two things I can influence, rather than the past which I cannot influence
  • I consciously drag my mind towards the opportunities rather than the negativities – I visualise myself squashing those negative thoughts and getting them out of my head
  • I get active, I activate those endorphins which we all know have a positive impact on our well-being and thoughts

Forging a positive mindset as our default position builds resilience; it fosters more collaborative and engaging conversations and provides clarity as you take the next step forward. Sure, there will always be disappointments along the way, but on balance, the positives always outweigh the negatives; it is all about our mindset.

Bring on the next quarter!

Kerryn Fewster

Kerryn is the Founder and Director of Change 2020. She has consulted extensively in the area of Transition and Transformation. She places emphasis on strategy development and solution implementation to minimise people and operational impacts associated with major change.

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