If and when you “slip into the pit or cave”, how long do you have to “stay down there”? Ready to manage your state and climb out for good?
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Would you allow me to do a little excercise with you please? Perhaps you can get yourself into a space in which you won’t be disturbed for a few minutes while we play this game, OK?
Can you remember a time in your life when you were really down in the dumps? You know, really sad or depressed? Can you? Can you recall a specific time right now? Remember it? Can you put yourself into the memory of that time? What did you see? What did you hear? What were you telling yourself? How were you feeling? What might your physical demeanor have been like? Shoulders drooping? Dejected look on your face? Perhaps even tears?
And as you remember that feeling, how do you feel right now?
Sad, dejected, depressed?
Isn’t it amazing how we can let a memory have such an impact on us and how we feel mentally and physically right now, just by recalling it? This is what we call putting ourselves in a state.
Now, please stand up a minute and go to the window and look out. What do you see out there? This is what we call breaking your state. A distraction to change or clean the slate.
OK, can you remember a time in your life when you were really fired up excited? You know, “jumping out of your skin” enthusiastically excited? Can you? Can you recall a specific time right now? Remember one? Can you put yourself into the memory of that time? What did you see? What did you hear? What were you telling yourself? How were you feeling? What might your physical demeanor been like? Arms waving? Fist-pumps? Massive smile? Goosebumps, maybe? Jumping around? Perhaps tears – but of exuberance and joy?
And as you remember that feeling, how do you feel right now? Quite different, don’t you?
Isn’t it just as amazing how easily we can break or change our state? This is what I mean when I talk about managing your state. If you can do this exercise and tangibly notice the difference then you have learned all it takes to always be in control of your state – bar one thing – it’s a choice for you to make it so. A decision.
As professionals it is incumbent upon us to always act “professionally”. I spoke about that recently in “Confidence, Certainty and Doubt”. But when it comes to advanced “soft skills”, we also need to be “switched on and fired up”; to have an enthusiasm that inspires and is contagious so as to motivate. Nobody likes being around a “sourpuss” and certainly not when they are “moody”. It is up to us to “manage our state” and to choose “to be up”. Might I suggest being mindful of practicing this at work but also in your private life?
So, may I share a story and a secret with you? Thanx.
A little boy says to his mum:” I’m bored – what can I do”? She says: “why don’t you go and ask grandpa how he feels today?” The little one tootles off and pops grandpa the question. In a short while he comes back and says: “gee, grandpa can sure rabbit on about his sore back. I’m still bored, mum, what should I do next?”
“Why don’t you go ask grandpa his most fond memory of you?” The little boy returns almost an hour later with a smiling grandpa in tow to get a drink. No sign of a bad back.
What a difference asking the right question made. Did you get the secret?
I also like to ask the “my state” question of myself: “am I a thermostat or a thermometer? A thermometer just measures and tells you the temperature. A thermostat however adjusts the temperature, putting you in control of whether you “turn up the heat” or not. If you are (pro)actively managing your state, and being sure that you are “up” more often than not, you can’t but have a more positive impact on those around you. At home and at work, right? That would make you a thermostat. You will be influencing others in raising their energy and hopefully raising their game.
So, having learned to manage your state, you can also help others in the management of theirs, simply by learning to ask the right questions that steer them into the territory you want to be in. Smiling, laughing and people with a more positive and happy demeanor are much more fun and also easier to deal with, and usually also far more receptive to your message. You can influence that. Don’t you think it’s worth “giving it a go?”