Like many of you, the epic scale of the Coronavirus outbreak has humbled me with its power. There is an enormous amount of uncertainty as we find ourselves at a time of extremes.
We are forced to change our daily routines to adapt to a new reality. Personally, my three daughters are home due to school closures. I imagine that many of you are in a state of shock and disbelief, perhaps similar to what we experienced right after 9/11. You may be worried about your jobs, paying the bills, and taking care of your family.
It’s easy to place our attention on the negativity that is all around us. However, when you focus on the problems, you trigger your brain to send a batch of hormones into your body that make you feel nervous, and you experience more stress in your body. This is because your brain is wired for certainty. You are biologically programmed to experience stress when you perceive that you may be in danger and you cannot control the situation.
This is a problem because when we operate from a state of fear, we become incoherent and neurologically inhibited from thinking clearly and making the best decisions.
I spoke with several leaders this week who are feeling a great deal of fear about the future of their companies. For instance, when I trained a group of CEOs about how to master their mindsets, several shared that they feel confused and anxious about the potential impact of the outbreak. One of them, whose business has been severely impacted by recent events, said that he needed to lay off half of his staff a few days ago. The uncertainty and inability to control the situation can feel frustrating and overwhelming.
“If you’re always focused on what you can’t control, you’re going to feel overwhelmed. You’re going to feel fearful. You’re going to feel frustrated. You’re going to feel stressed. You’ve got to focus on what you can control, not what you can’t control.” – Tony Robbins
So, what can you do to deal with the uncertainty in the best way possible so that you can become the leader that others need right now?
You can choose to focus on what you want. You can take control of your mind and your emotions to create certainty in your own mind so that you will not be controlled by fear.
Instead of focusing on the current problems that are out of your control, choose to focus on a better reality. According to quantum physics, by focusing your energy on your desired future reality, you are collapsing infinite possibilities into physical matter. You are literally creating a new future reality.
“If where you place your attention is where you place your energy, then the moment you take all of your attention off everything known and material in your 3D reality, you are opening the door to the quantum field.” – Dr. Joe Dispenza
Here are four simple ways to focus on what you want in order to feel a greater sense of certainty, build your immunity, and create a better future.
1. Protect Your Mind
In a world of uncertainty, you can give yourself certainty. Keep doing what you’ve always done to the best of your abilities—take care of your body, look after your home, do your work, be a loving spouse, parent, friend, and so on.
You can also achieve certainty through your thoughts. You see, the one thing you can always control is your thoughts. And if you can make your thoughts positive, it will change your entire life because your thoughts dictate your feelings, your feelings dictate your actions, and your actions dictate your results. When you focus on fear-based disempowering thoughts, you get worried and it upsets your immune system. Your immune system doesn’t like stress. It likes calmness and positivity. It wants to know that everything is going to be okay.
How can you protect your mind to stay calm in the midst of uncertainty?
“Every Day, Stand Guard at The Door of Your Mind” – Jim Rohn
Avoid exposing yourself to negative news. When limiting thoughts enter your consciousness like, “oh my goodness, the world will never be the same,” you are weakening your immune system. So, acknowledge the depleting emotions and then choose to “be casual” about it. Focus on what is working and find a different meaning to the current problem. In other words, by reframing the problems that you now face to what is working, you are able to shift from a state of helplessness into developing an effective strategy and taking action.
2. Condition Your Mind
Your mind responds to the pictures that you make in your head and the words you say to yourself. Choose to focus on positive mental images and empowering words that are aligned with your desired future. In other words, rather than focusing on the here-and-now, place your attention on where you want to be in the future. Train your brain to have certainty—to believe in—your future. This new picture will help you and others to move toward it.
So, take the time to imagine what you want and then write clear goals. Make sure that your goals are written in the present tense, as if you have already achieved your objectives. Then, visualize that new reality as much as you can, especially as soon as you wake up in the morning and right before you fall asleep at night. When you close your eyes and mentally rehearse your desired future, you change your body’s physiology, get into a coherent state, and condition your mind and body for success. As a leader, make an effort to communicate your vision and the simple set of actions that it will take to get there to your team. This will allow them to understand how the “impossible” can become possible.
You can also condition your mind by repeating soothing, supportive and empowering anchor phrases and asking yourself more empowering questions. For example, ask yourself “What can I choose in this situation?,” “What do I want to bring to this situation?,” and “Who do I want to be in this situation?.” When you ask these questions, you are more likely to identify positive actions like, “What I want to choose in this situation is courage,” “What I want to choose in this situation is to explore new possibilities,” or “What I want to choose in this situation is to remember that I am not alone and that I can ask for support and look for helpful resources.”
3. Feed Your Mind
Choose to use this time to focus on your own growth by programming your mind for success. For example, condition your mind by reading and taking online courses. I challenge you to read at least 30 minutes a day. Be sure to choose books and articles that will challenge you, teach you new skills, and inspire you to grow. Do something to improve yourself.
I invite you to listen and subscribe to my upcoming podcast, The MINDset Game™, to learn simple evidence-based tools and strategies to master your mindset (coming soon at www.veredkogan.com/podcast). I’ll share more about this podcast in next month’s article. In addition, use this opportunity to model others who are doing what you want to do so that you can find ways to add more value in the marketplace.
4. Feed Your Heart
What causes people to seek control or certainty is their desire to avoid having to feel negative emotions. So, take the time to acknowledge what’s difficult about this situation for you. Give yourself and others permission to articulate and acknowledge all of the emotions.
You can acknowledge how you feel by asking yourself, “What emotions am I feeling right now?” Allow yourself to feel and accept those emotions, rather than repressing them. Then, ask yourself how you want to feel and take a minute to do a Quick Coherence® Technique, developed by the Institute of HeartMath.
You can also feed your heart by demonstrating compassion for others in need. Focus on what really matters and look for opportunities to show kindness. You see, love is a light. The more we extend it, the brighter it becomes and the more darkness we illuminate. Be proactive in helping friends or strangers alike. When you share with others, the things you share (a smile, food, thoughtful words, toilet paper ☺) become more, and your life will have even more meaning.
This is our time. We can choose to feed the energy of fear, or we can show the world what it means to be loving. Perhaps this is an initiation of sorts in which we are invited to step into a new experience of our interdependence.
As you navigate this challenging time, take all of the recommended precautions—but also be bold in your love and constant in your belief that we will overcome this together. I trust that we will look back and realize that we had the opportunity to participate in a transformational time in history when compassion triumphed over fear.