In my experience, a lot of leaders think “positive thinking” is about thinking happy rah-rah or touchy-feely thoughts or re-framing a thought to make it sound positive, for example changing the word “sh—“ to “fertilizer.” Or they think of that Stuart Smalley character on Saturday Night Live who made positive affirmations in the mirror. (I don’t want to be that guy!)
That’s why I don’t use the term positive thinking, coined the term powerful thinking, and developed the Managing Thought® process. Because to me, positivity isn’t about getting rid of the negative thoughts we have and replacing them with positive thoughts. It is about being aware of the 60,000 thoughts our brains present to us every day – one a second – and choosing to hold thoughts that are in alignment with who we aspire to be and what we truly wish to create – as leaders and as organizations.
In my experience, most of our thoughts are based in fear, focused on what we don’t want vs. what we do want – and we don’t even know it.
When we think about the time we don’t have enough of, the opportunities we don’t have, the customer we lost, the payments we can’t afford, the sacrifices and cuts we have to make, cash we don’t have, customers who aren’t buying, banks who won’t lend, the decisions we are forced to make, and the competition we’re up against, we are not thinking powerfully.
When we think that we don’t want to be viewed as a commodity, the economy is bad, my organization isn’t innovative, my people aren’t engaged, or that I don’t like this or that about my employees or suppliers, again, we are not thinking powerfully.
When we think thoughts of fear, self-doubt, worry, criticism, judgment, anger, frustration, anxiety, negativity and other disempowering fight, flight or freeze thoughts, we are not thinking powerfully. And when we think about surviving, we are not thinking powerfully, because we want to thrive.
When we think powerfully, we are thinking thoughts of vision and purpose, wonder and possibility, focused on what we want, on what truly matters. Our thoughts are inspired, creative, and impactful.
Most of us have not thought about our thoughts. We have no idea what we are thinking in each moment. We have taught ourselves to turn our power to think and to create our reality over to our brains.
Yet we have the ability to pay attention to our thoughts. We always have a choice to focus on what matters and think in powerful ways which affects our ideas, our decisions, and our results. This awareness creates stillness in this fast-paced, ever-changing world and affects how we inspire others, how we lead, what we create from any situation, producing a distinct competitive advantage.
It is time for us to take back our power, to stop re-acting, and start choosing thoughts that serve us in our lives, our relationships, our organizations, our communities, and, through the ripple effect, the world.
How are you using your 60,000 thoughts today?
For videos on how to be aware of your thoughts, resist negative thoughts and think powerfully, go to http://www.managingthought.com/managingthoughtseries. For a PDF and audio podcast with practical tools on how to focus on what you want, go to http://www.managingthought.com/forwardthinkinggentlereminder/volume8/focusonwhatyouwant
Mary J. Lore is a mentor to corporate leaders, multiple award winning author, keynote speaker, and founder of Managing Thought, LLC. In her career, she has served as a CPA, a crisis management and business turnaround expert, and an entrepreneur. Hailed by business leaders around the world, her multiple award-winning book Managing Thought: Think Differently. Think Powerfully. Achieve New Levels of Success and audio book Managing Thought: How Do Your Thoughts Rule Your World? not only change the way you think about success—they change the way you think, period. With a groundbreaking approach to harnessing mental power, Mary helps individuals and organizations turn counter-productive thinking into inspired action and significant results. If you’d like to take Mary’s 52-week online course in self-awareness, go to www.MindfulnessMonday.com Mary serves as an expert resource for Vistage, served as a Chair from 2002 – 2010, and was a member during the 1990s. Visit Mary at www.managingthought.com and www.maryjlore.com.