When negative thinking kicks in, we often get stuck there. “And” is the way out.
Jennifer is a consultant on the fast track in a large practice in Los Angeles. She’s curious, bright, and open. She also manages big challenges at work. Like most executives, she wrestles with chronic busyness, frustration, disappointment, and, at times, self-doubt. In our work together, we regularly explore success as a part of her professional development and leadership goals. These are some of my favorite conversations, full of lively dialog and new discoveries.
“What do the most successful people you know do?” Jennifer asked.
“What do you mean?” I said.
“How do they stay motivated and want to keep going in hugely stressful environments?”
“The key lies in one three-letter word,” I said.
“What do you mean?” said Jennifer.
“Successful people don’t hesitate to use the power of ‘AND’ in any situation.”
Successful people see themselves and their choices in dramatically different ways. In fact, they actively seek out and choose perspectives that will serve them. Especially when they’re feeling their most stressed out and negative, successful people understand the power of “and” to allow two experiences to co-exist in your mind without getting stuck in a downward spiral.
Here’s how this works:
When your reaction is:
Using “and” does away with denying your legitimate negative feelings or feigning positivity. You’re pissed! You’re annoyed! You’re sick of it! You’re disappointed, or even just sad. You can be all of that while, at the same time, choosing a conscious response that is more effective and gets you closer to your goal.
As Professor Thomas C. Foster once said, “What a difference a preposition makes!”
In your toughest moments, will you use this power to redirect your energy and build a bridge to success?