Not long ago I was working for a business owner that was very competent at his job, he knew his stuff, he was knowledgeable and educated. He could give good advice. His bedside manner and his style was something that I did not enjoy, however. I joined up with him with one expectation only to find out what he was like in the day to day job. He was a micromanager, generally unpleasant, changed his mind frequently, and was not a good boss, in my opinion.
I began to really focus on his mannerisms, his slightly hostile reactions, his general short nature. I was really getting unhappy. At the same time I was looking for a Plan B, for a way out. I was getting frustrated, depressed, even scared. I wanted to get out, get another job- any job- even if a step back.
Over time this attitude of mine created problems, as you can guess. I got stressed, even physically ill especially in the mornings before work. I blamed myself for misreading the owner, the situation. I blamed myself for putting my family and I in a bad position. I even felt sorry for myself.
Around that time I remember talking to someone and she were telling me about her job. She was a nurse and had a boss that had some of the same traits as the above mentioned items. She focused on her boss’s negative attitude and comments.
From an objective viewpoint, I was able to see that she was focusing on what didn’t work, she was paying attention only to the weaknesses. I suggested that she focus on what did work, and pay attention to what her boss did right, her boss’s strengths. (It was easy for me to see a solution when it was removed from my own personal life) She was miserable until she chose to focus on her boss’s good traits. Her day to day life became better.
I laughed and realized that her situation was essentially the same as mine. I was paying attention only to my boss’s weaknesses and traits that were problematic. So I began to list things he did well. He was good at X, Y, Z, and did certain things well. I wrote down that I had a job, a salary, benefits, and I would do this several times a week. I practiced gratitude. Since I was being hard on myself about the situation, I also wrote things that I did right in this situation and other times in my past – accomplishments, good ideas, good choices, etc. Frankly it was hard at first to list good things about him or I. Then it became easier.
Life wasn’t perfect. I still knew that I wanted to move on from that job but paying attention to the good stuff definitely helped my stress level, my health, my marriage, and it helped the relationship with my boss. I even did better at work, which improved the situation. I also made a list of what I wanted – before I knew that I didn’t want this position because of A, B, and C but I wasn’t clear on what I wanted. So I wrote down things I wanted in a new role. All of this made me calmer, more relaxed, happier. It seems simple, even a little silly but I am here to tell you that it helped a lot.
Eventually I did move on to another position where I was happier and I had more freedom, choices, and that was a better fit. I was even able to earn more money and put more into my own pocket. I had more control. I believe that my switch to focusing on what worked, instead of what didn’t work, helped me tremendously. Focusing on what I wanted, instead of what I didn’t want definitely clarified my actions, steps, and helped my future move ahead.
“Focus on where you want to go, not on what you fear.”
― Anthony Robbins
So….ask yourself from time to time…”What are you looking at?”
It is more than simply positive thinking….it is looking at the things that are working in life, things that you have done well, things that others do well, positive personality traits. Looking at what we want instead of what we don’t want can really make a difference, too.