IMPACT BLOG

HOW TO STAY POSITIVE & REAL WHILE OTHERS PANIC

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Blog post by Edward Maggard

Everything’s changing! Changes like the ones we are all facing because of the Coronavirus can bring all kinds of responses. Some people are fearful while others are acting paranoid and some seem to be in total denial. While all those responses are natural and understandable, there is a way to be both positive and realistic. Leaders need to embrace the truth and yet not get drawn into negativity.

The main thought is really to control what you can and focus on the positive. One thing we can control is the input we receive both in terms of content and quantity. I want to know what the latest real developments are, in this case with the spread of the virus and how to protect my family and myself, but I don’t really need to oversaturate my mind with news feeds and talk shows ad nauseam, ad infinitum. (For those of you who want translation, that basically means “stuff that goes on and on till it makes you sick”.)

That brings me to another thing we can control, and that is what we think about. This is a little trickier because we can’t turn our mind off in the same way as we turn off the television or shut down the computer. But we can choose, with practice, to focus on other things. I heard a brain expert recently say a few things that I thought were worth remembering and repeating. One is, don’t believe every thought you have. Your thoughts will lie to you. When you have negative thoughts such as, we can’t protect ourselves from this, or If I get this virus it’ll probably kill me, or I’m going to go broke and be homeless, you need to take charge. Choose to fill your mind with other thoughts such as this is a great opportunity to build relationships in my family, and look at all the good and heroic things people are doing to help other people, and my positive outlook is encouraging to others.

That same specialist reminded me of another thing that I hadn’t thought about in the current context. Stress compromises our immune system. So basically, worrying excessively about this virus may make us more susceptible to the virus itself. That alone is some good motivation to keep positive!

In the spirit of “putting your oxygen mask on yourself before you assist others”, this is something you can practice daily. When our spouse, children, co-workers and friends see our positive attitudes it will really help them do the same. Real impact starts with leading ourselves well.

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