Fire your Head of Woe to beat negative thinking
And regain your confidence and spirit
New Hire: The Head of Woe
8 years ago at the age of 38, I divorced under very difficult and painful circumstances. My husband of 15 years, announced he no longer loved me and was marrying a younger, (beautiful) woman, who was already pregnant with their first child. My lovely home, which I had carefully remodelled, was sold as part of the process, but at a time when the bottom had fallen out of the property market. My company, caught up in the financial crisis, fired me. Within 6 months, I had lost my home, my husband, my job and had very little money. I spent my savings on legal fees. I gained 20 pounds and was now unlikely to have the family I so longed for. I was unemployed for two years.
I allowed a new person to take control of my life. I appointed a Head of Woe. I was fat, ugly, unlovable, broke, unemployable and a complete loser. My friends, little by little, tired of my pessimism and whining, started to put off seeing me.
One Saturday night when all my friends were "busy" I hit rock bottom and decided I needed to get my life back.
The first two lines of the Robert Palmer song Addicted to Love, can equally apply to anyone addicted to woe or negative thinking:
Your lights are on, but you're not home
Your mind is not your own
I finally started to implement the advice of every coach and therapist I had spoken to, who I could no longer afford to pay. Read: How to get rid of self-limiting beliefs
We wouldn't allow anyone else to criticize, berate, belittle, humiliate, hold us back, or put us down. So why do we give permission to ourselves to do that? This is a great video that shows how often we women do it!
Step 1: Start by defining your purpose.
It doesn’t matter how we feel now. How do we want to feel in the future? The area of focus now is our thoughts. Sad, anxious, worried, angry, afraid, whatever we are, we have to leave our feeling selves out of this process. Then we have to get on with this thought project. Negative thinking can be a downward and destructive spiral.
Define your purpose and decide on an intention. Write about it (creating a journal is a good idea) tell a friend. Reflect. Recite the intention out loud, or say it to yourself inside your head. Leave a message on your voice mail. Mine was to create a career strategy to get me into full time satisfying employment.
At this point anything that isn’t negative counts as positive. We need to find something small, to positively acknowledge about ourselves, our world, our surroundings, our families, work and friends. Read: 12 ways to change a habit -start small
[Tweet "This positive thinking will kick off a neurological action."] Pay attention, to feel it when it happens.
I am already x age and I have no job and no future. I will never be able to afford to buy a house and will never find the right relationship. I am a total loser.
Reset and reframe the thought:
The Head of Woe should go. Not our spirit. [Tweet "Invite the Head of Woe to leave the building, like you would an annoying friend."] "You are not good for me and I don't have time for this today. "
“But you know I'm right" your Head of Woe voice says indignantly.
Each time we challenge our Head of Woe, we have taken a step forward:
I am a healthy, intelligent and strong person. I am qualified in xxxx. I am fully capable of getting a fulfilling job. I will talk to a recruiter today.
Step 2. Redirect our energy
The amount of energy dealing with our Head of Woe will be more than dealing with the C.E.O. of YOU. You are possibly sleeping more, but not well; doing, but not achieving; and caught up in "busyness" with no results.
Re-vitalise that energy by breathing deeply and repeating your intention in your head. Feel your diaphragm lift and with it your spirits. Appreciate the baby steps of the process rather than the end goal. You will not get a new job/ relationship/other over night. [Tweet "Congratulate yourself for each baby step you take. "]Read: Take baby steps to reach your objectives
Reset and reframe.
When was the last time you were appreciative of yourself?
I sat on my butt in front of the computer all day not achieving anything. No one will ever want to hire me.
Reframe and reset:
I created a great resume today and researched some opportunities. I watched the Amy Cuddy video on body language and worked out for 75 minutes! I sat on my terrace in the sun with a great book. I joined Match.com
Step 3: Get granular
Be specific about the detail. Tell yourself how you will left your spirits. Taking care of yourself and being there for YOU, means you can take care of the people you love.
Make some new tiny habits that your Head of Woe would not approve of:
- Set an alert on your phone 3 times a day to trigger a pattern of breathing deeply or just appreciating the weather.
- Write a positive affirmation to yourself every night and morning. Read them out loud. Post them on social media, or on your refrigerator
- Congratulate and reward yourself for each catastrophic and negative thought you reframe. This process counts.
Step 4: Be resilient
This is not to say you won't feel sadness or disappointment. You will. They are natural and authentic feelings. But they are not the end of the world as your Head of Woe would have you believe.
[Tweet "Just remember to reset and reframe one beautiful thought at a time:"]
It's tough that I did not get that job I applied for. But I will ask the hiring manager for feedback and make sure I do differently next time. I got good interview experience and made a new network contact.
I did get a job, started (and finished) several new relationships and found somewhere (smaller) but comfortable to live. I am now 45 and will not have my own children, but my current partner has two, so I am blessed. I lost 10 pounds. I am healthy, with a great family and friends.
If you need help with your career, or to regain your confidence - check out the 3Plus programs for individuals
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Dates for the Diary
23rd January 2020 - How to build an employer brand that attracts and retains women.
In-house corporate workshop , Brussels
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