I love telling the story of how the name of my company was created. You’ve probably heard it so many times. It is really important to me because it isn’t just the name of my company. It is a reminder, especially when things are challenging, like most of 2020, that I can do hard things.
If you are new to our community, here is the short version of the story. Pre-contagiously positive days, I worked in the construction industry. One day on site, during the time I was right in the middle of practicing shifting my mindset, we had another five-alarm problem happen. The subcontractor who came to inform me was livid. As I sat there listening to him rip into me, I thought, “I cannot control the way he is feeling, or his reaction, but I’m not going to go down this rabbit hole with him. Instead, I’m going to shift into a solution-based mindset, and react and respond from that place, not from anger.”
So I did just that and after a few minutes into our conversation, he calmed down and said, “Laurie-ann, you are so fucking contagiously positive. I don’t know if I hate you or like you.”
A simple pause and inner Q&A helps me to stop, drop and think before I speak.
How would an empowered woman speak?
How would a woman with confidence react?
How would a woman who is kind and compassionate respond?
How do I want to feel when this is over, and is my current behaviour, attitude, actions or decisions supporting that?
By changing my default reaction and response from anger and yelling to how I would prefer to react and respond, I realized that I cannot control my external circumstances, or people, but I can ALWAYS control my own, and by doing that, it impacts those around me.
Since that day I have been practicing just that. It has been a perfectly imperfect practice, as most things are, but I always turn inwards when things get difficult.
I have been a life coach for 10 years and I can honestly say the thing that helps my clients truly heal is feeling their feelings. Going inwards.
In this share, I’m giving you three practices that will help you unleash your inner contagiously positive, which will help you strengthen your emotional, mental, and attitudinal muscles, which than helps you trust your intuition when you reach a decision fork.
So lets go inwards.
1. Program Your Mind To Work For You, Not Against You
The science is there, and we know without a doubt that our thoughts change the physical makeup of our brain. This means that what we think consistently changes our neural pathways. These neural pathways are what controls how we think and behave. This is how habits are formed. And that includes our reactions, responses, actions, inactions…all behavior.
Which means, the easiest, but not always the quickest way to quiet our negative mind is to talk to ourselves in ways that makes our brains work for us, not against us. This takes practice and repetition, repetition, repetition. You don’t think one positive thought and all your limiting beliefs and negative patterns go away. It didn’t take one thought to get you there either. It takes time to develop new neural pathways. It takes making a conscious effort to use language that supports you, changing the narrative, by retraining your brain one thought at a time.
Remember, negative beliefs are exactly that, beliefs. They are not fact and they have no meaning unless you give meaning to them.
Karma, as so many of us believe, is not our past mistakes coming back to bite us in the ass. Karma is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results. Wherever your attention is going, that is where your emotional energy is flowing and it is from that place that you are taking action from, or inaction from.
If your mind can lead you into the darkness, it can also lead you out, which means you can learn to control what you put out energetically into the world. You must trust in this principle if you wish to ever master your mind.
Begin to reinforce new neural pathways, which is what reprograming does, so that your mind works for you.
You can begin by doing the opposite of what you no longer wish to do. For example: If you react or respond to external triggers in a way that compounds the situation negatively, begin to respond or react the way you prefer.
So the first step here is asking yourself what your preferred reaction or response is.
Overtime, with a perfectly imperfect practice, your brain will just automatically react or respond by this new default that you programmed.
I highly recommend the Emotional Scale Practice to deepen this practice.
2. Don’t Let Unrealistic Fear Be Your Decision Maker
If you are not in a true, life threatening, this could ruin your life forever danger, your emotional discomfort will be temporary.
We have made our mind believe that anything out of the box, or different is a dangerous animal that we need to run from.
Being afraid of public speaking is not life threatening.
Being afraid of failing isn’t life threatening.
Being afraid of quitting that soul-sucking job, isn’t life threatening.
It might be temporarily scary, all new things can feel that way, but it won’t kill you.
When you are about to make a major change or shift in your life, fear can prevent you from making the choice to take action. What you are afraid of is not the choice, you are afraid of the emotional discomfort that the choice will bring you if it ends up not being what you wanted it to be.
We often hear the question, what would you do if you weren’t afraid?
While I love this question, most of us know exactly what we would do if we weren’t afraid. So it isn’t about never experiencing fearful thoughts, we need to learn to take action even when fear tags along.
So the question becomes: What new decisions can you make even with fear tagging along?
The magic happens when you stop trying to never feel fear, which is a very normal human emotion (feel your feelings), and instead, program your brain through the action of going through the temporary emotional discomfort, that you were actually safe all along.
If you are about to doing something that scares you, ask yourself this question when it comes up (and it will), is this life or death?
If it is not, which it usually isn’t, no matter what happens, I promise you, you are safe. It will be uncomfortable, you will be nervous, you may even sweat, shake, or cry, but it will pass.
3. Use Your Past As Guidance, Not a Prison
We often hold ourselves hostage to what we did or said, or didn’t do or say, or didn’t experience, or did experience, in our past.
I’ve made a lot of mistakes in the past and have had to atone for things as well. What I know now, that I didn’t know pre-contagiously positive days, is that I don’t have to be held in a prison to these mistakes until death do us part.
If you want to release those shackles and free yourself from the prison of your past, whether it is past mistakes, failures, pain, or if something just didn’t turn out as planned, you can decide to heal it, learn from it, and move forward. Once the action is done, it becomes our choice what we do next.
Elizabeth Smart, who was kidnapped when she was fourteen years old, endured nine months of being raped, starved, and shackled by her captures. She said, “I was victimized, but I will never be a victim.”
When I heard her speak for the first time, I was blown away by her resiliency, faith, and hope. It made me look at my past with an entirely different lens.
She also says not to minimize your own trauma. She said, “just because you weren’t kidnapped, doesn’t mean you don’t have trauma from your past that needs healing.”
Which means, it is important that feel our feelings. It really always comes back to that.
There comes a time in each of our lives where we have to let go of our fears, limiting beliefs, toxic thoughts, and all the things that are no longer serving us. The dark stormy cloud of our negative, painful, maybe even heartbreaking past can prevent you from moving forward if you do not choose to move forward. Easy? Absolutely not! But it gets easier as you feel yourself become free.
We all go through, are going through, or are going to go through difficult times in our lives, unfortunately, some more than others. For those who have been hurt by others, you cannot choose what other people do to you, but you can choose what you will do in the moments after. It might feel difficult, painful, frustrating, uncomfortable, or even unfair, but the choice does lie within you. You can stay and live in the pain or you can choose to find a way to heal and move forward.
Begin to take action from the new life story you wish to live by.
Some of us are so caught up in our old stories that we don’t even realize that our life is on one big repeated loop, where you find yourself constantly lying awake at night praying, wishing, hoping, dreaming that you could go back in time and do it all over again.
To get out of the nauseating loop, you are going to have to let go of living in the stories of should’ve, would’ve, could’ve. To do this, you can look at your past as chapters in your life story. Each chapter builds on the next, and you learn a little more about the main character (you) every time you turn the page.
Begin to embrace all the parts of who you were, who you are, who you will be, while taking action from who you want to be.
Every life chapter has been helping you to remember who you are. Think of it like character development. When you can see how far you have come and all that you have already accomplished, you will be able to move forward with confidence.
Your choices are where it all begins. If you make a “bad” choice, and you say, “I didn’t like that, that didn’t work out for me,” you can choose a different action, reaction, response, thought, belief, attitude, behavior or decision the next time.
Let’s take the conversation above to our journals.If you are not sure where to begin, you can explore it in your journal.
In what ways is my mind working against me?
Where am I allowing fear to be my decision maker?
How am I holding myself hostage to my past?
Free write the first thoughts that come to your mind and take it through the actions above.