The power of positivity is real, make no mistake about it.
But in order to feel the full benefit of what is often called ‘blue sky thinking’, you have to truly commit to the idea, until it becomes a habit.
It’s so much more than having to always look on the bright side of life, or being able to look for the rainbow in every storm. You can leave that to Monty Python and Sporty Spice, because in business, being an optimist requires a lot more than a memorable phrase and a catchy tune.
It requires dedication, resilience, persistence, experience, knowledge, versatility, and now, more than ever, realism…
…that’s right. You do need to occasionally cloud that blue sky thinking with a fluffy streak of realism, especially when faced with things beyond your control. Planning for ambitious growth is one thing, planning for unrealistic growth is something else altogether,
Now, you might be thinking that giving yourself targets that are realistic is all a bit ‘glass ceiling-ish’, but you’d be wrong, and here’s why.
Setting your sights beyond the reams of the realistic is where the real glass ceiling comes down, because you’re never going to get there. You limit yourself to falling short every single time.
By reeling in your targets, just a little, not too much, especially in the early stages, you allow yourself a good opportunity to reach them, and to smash through them.
That’s a good feeling, a feeling that becomes addictive, fuelling you onwards to your next success.
Each little success builds confidence, and the development of a healthy cycle of effort, which leads to success, which in turn leads to confidence (and all the way back around again) is a sure fire way to supercharge your positivity endorphins. Trust us, it works.
Marathon runners break down their races mentally into smaller sections, because it feels good to get to a way marker. The prospect of running 26.2 miles can seem daunting, even to experienced runners, but if you break that down into chunks of 5 and a bit miles or whatever, all of a sudden, you have a fire in your belly to reach the next marker.
This is the same kind of attitude that we need to apply to our businesses.
Realistic targets, reachable goals, real success, renewed confidence.
How do you go about kicking off with the blue sky thinking bit then?
Well, we’re not suggesting a hoppy retreat in the Himalayas for everyone, but you could start with some positive self affirmation.
If you’re self conscious about this sort of thing, don’t worry, it works if you do it in the mirror, or even say it to yourself in your head.
We are what we think, and we get to choose our thoughts, a lot of them anyway…
…so why not start the day with something along the lines of…
“I am going to make a real head start on some big projects today”, instead of, “bloody hell, I’ve got a lot of work to do today…”
Reframing your thoughts is a great way of boosting your positivity. Yes, you might have a lot to do, but shouldn’t you therefore be grateful for being busy? What if things are quiet? Well, there’s an unexpected opportunity to work ‘on’ the business, rather than ‘in’ the business. You’re always saying you could do with a day or two to get the website sorted, or to get to grips with your social media.
Worrying about things is never the way to fix things, and in many cases, things that we worry about our beyond our control anyway.
So, take control of what you can control. Find the balance between acceptance and defiance. Accept what you can’t control, and then show everyone, including yourself, that you can reach your targets anyway, no matter what you’re faced with.
Standing in front of the mirror and telling yourself that you’re powerful, respected and valued isn’t for everyone, we know that, but the necessity to believe in yourself (and your business) is there for all of us, otherwise how can you expect anyone else to believe in it?
You have to dream it, and then you have to do it. That’s blue sky thinking for you, on a grey, grey day.
Let’s look at that cycle again, the one that will fuel your positivity, boost your productivity, and just plain make you feel good.
We said it was something like…
Target. Effort. Success. Confidence. Repeat.
And it goes a bit like this…
What is the goal? Is it realistic? When you know what the goal is, and you’ve established that it’s reachable, you have to put in the hard yards to get there. Work as much as you need to in order to get there. It won’t be easy, that’s too far the other way, but when you get there, allow yourself to enjoy the success. Accept the praise, reap the rewards and add another few lumps of coal to the confidence fire you’re trying to start.
Don’t allow yourself to stay up there for too long though, because then it’s time to set the next target, to stretch yourself just that little bit further. And when you put the graft in, you’ll get there, sooner or later. And guess what, you’ll be able to feel that sense of achievement and the resulting boost in confidence, too. Before the cycle starts all over again.
Target. Effort. Success. Confidence. Repeat.
Blue sky thinking is all well and good, but if you forget about the changes in weather, whatever they’re brought on by, you’ll never be able to stay dry in a shower or warm in the winter.
Think big. Thing positive. Be optimistic. But be realistic as well.
You owe it to your success, and you owe it to your confidence.
You owe it your business, and you owe it to yourself.