Have you ever sat down and wondered how many potential opportunities you’ve brushed up against without realising it? Sitting across from someone at a boardroom table, or mingling at a networking event, or even at a braai, I often think about how many great connections or successful collaborations may have been right there in front of me, yet sadly went undiscovered because I was not paying enough attention.
Maybe I was distracted, indifferent, too self-absorbed or just in the wrong frame of mind. Maybe I just wasn’t focused. Whatever the reason, I will never know what would have happened if I had taken the time to scratch below the surface and really connect with people.
So, to overcome this problem I adopted two mental postures that I am going to share with you going into 2019 so that you don’t miss the connections and opportunities coming your way.
MENTAL POSTURE ONE – SHOW UP AND SWITCH ON
Present yourself. Your whole self. And, nothing but yourself.
What does this mean? It means showing up for those important moments whether they be a meeting or a brainstorm session, or your nephew’s birthday party, with your whole mind present. Switch off that constant indistinct murmuring in your mind and tune in to your environment.
Often, we are a million miles away - even when we are sitting across the table from someone. If you can change that, you will have infinite power.
So, some simple ways to do this include:
Press pause (or just activate flight mode)
It’s clear that being bombarded with constant messages divides our attention, making us less efficient and less productive. So don’t let that happen. At a meeting? Put your phone on flight mode. At your daughter’s prize-giving? Put your phone on flight mode. Having dinner with your spouse? You guessed it, put your phone on flight mode! Whether it’s for five minutes or an hour, give yourself the breathing space. You’ll feel yourself relax and any anticipatory anxiety fade into nothingness. This opens you up to a better quality experience in whatever you’re doing in the present moment.
Your connections will feel connected, and the outcome is always good.
MENTAL POSTURE TWO – ASSUME THE BEST IN PEOPLE
‘Always believe the best of others.’ That’s the solid lesson I learned from my former boss Theunis Pienaar at Kingfisher FM. At the time I was the Sales and Marketing Manager and I cynically thought it to be a naïve way of thinking. But over time, I saw how this advice helped avoid numerous petty misunderstandings and eliminated unnecessary drama. The value of this approach was especially valuable when he was assuming the best about me!
Always help people LIVE UP to your expectations.
The heart of this advice is that people are more likely to live up to your best expectations of them. Will people take advantage of this? Of course, they will, but the few who do take advantage are few and far between. And, they would have taken advantage of you anyway. Assuming the best of others, ascribing good intent to small blunders is essential if you want to have a happy and motivated mindset.
This means you ask questions before you judge.
Negative assumptions are best left at the door of any conversation. If we assume that the person across from us acted with good intentions, and ask sincere questions from that position, we’re going to end up having a better-quality conversation from the get-go.
I mean imagine arriving home after a fraught day, hot and bothered, in a bad mood. Wouldn’t you rather come home to a spouse or partner asking you, “What’s wrong, sweetie?”. Instead of someone getting the hump with you right off the bat?
At the end of the day, we all want credit for our better angels. A soft place to land. So, plump up the landing area, stay open, and see where it springboards you to.
The bottom line?
Our thoughts determine how we feel, our feelings determine how we act, and our actions determine our results. ‘Mindset’ is not an airy-fairy concept, it is the cornerstone of success and happiness. And let’s face it, can you even have success without happiness?
THE ‘MEANINGFUL MEETING’ SERIES
Developed by Shelley Walters, this series of short blogs is written for the salesperson, businessperson and entrepreneur who wants to connect positively with their colleagues and clients in 2019. All tips are designed to give you a simple takeaway which you can implement immediately into your daily life.