The Bright Side of Not Bremaining

This is for the people who are not feeling that chipper about the way the nation voted on June 23rd. Which I guess includes those ‘Leave’ voters who are now experiencing something akin to buyer’s remorse.

There are five things we can do to improve the impact of the vote on us:

1. Seize the opportunity to exploit the doomsters’ reaction.

The prophets, politicians and journalists of gloom lost no time in impacting City sentiment negatively. They are already living the recession they assume is inevitable – and it’s affecting the numbers. Self fulfilling prophecies are a psychological fact of life in the City as much as anywhere else.

In a recession most organisations pull their horns in, cut costs, stop recruiting and halt new investment. But some others take advantage of their competitors’ defensive positioning and invest for growth, reaping the benefits in a market where they are suddenly relatively unopposed. Every downturn has its winners. This could be an opportunity for your business…

2. Clearly distinguish facts from perceptions

The vote is a fact. Its impact on our mood right now is not. It feels like it is I know. But it’s a result of our perceptions of the facts, not the facts themselves.

Leaving the EU is in itself an expectation (for most if not all of us) but it is as yet far from a fact. How far from a fact it lies is one’s personal perception.

The impact of eventually leaving is a matter of opinion – absolutely not a fact. It is a perception, an expectation. We do not know how it will change our economy, the Union with Scotland, jobs, house prices, and the future of the EU itself.

The action you take in the coming months is massively dependent on your perceptions. The same is true of those who honour you with their followership. And furthermore THEIR perceptions are very much affected by YOUR perceptions.

Action point: give your perceptions a sense check. Reframe any negativity possible, look for opportunity, dispute your own negative assumptions and feelings. This is NOT to say throw aside your judgement, but rather to improve it by constructively re-examining you owns assumptions.

3. Proactively manage your emotional state – and your colleagues’

The benefit of reframing the situation so as to upgrade the positivity element in our current psychology is absolutely huge (see earlier blogs). In summary, by making our default emotional state more positive and less negative, it will improve and possibly even transform five key areas:
a. Creativity and solution finding skills
b. Analytical reasoning
c. Motivation
d. Grace and influencing effectiveness
e. Resilience

It’s pretty obvious that we all need as much of those as we can get right now.

4. Reject the negative conditioning of the campaigns

I blogged earlier about the insidious way campaign messaging gets into our unconscious minds. Whenever you find yourself thinking in line with the negative messaging, challenge and dispute it mentally.

We would all do well to start by abandoning the B word – just like I did in the title of this blog. Every time one uses it the anxiety, regret, sadness, anger and frustration most of us in business are experiencing is awoken in the unconscious. These may then overflow into our conscious – whether they do or not, they are instantly reinforced, with a consequent harmful effect on the five key skills above.

But it’s not just our performance. Doing everything we can to eliminate those negative emotions has a direct impact on our happiness, wellbeing and quality of life. Worth the effort I reckon.

5. Catastrophising and venting make matters worse

I know it doesn’t feel like it. It actually feels good to let off steam. It feels professional to analyse the risks and downside so we can prepare.

However, here’s the thing about catastrophising. It is associated with depression, pessimism, self esteem damage, and learned helplessness. Top performers in terms of how much of their potential they are manifesting, simply never do it. Going on about possible negative personal outcomes that might never happen sets up negative expectations that can self-fulfil.

And here’s the thing about venting. It is a particularly powerful form of self programming that embeds the unwanted feelings even deeper in the unconscious. The level of emotion involved actually accelerates the rate at which the neural pathways you want to eliminate are strengthened.

It may be counter-intuitive, but venting makes it worse, and as proof of that consider this. If you’re a person that vents you’ll frequently feel the need to do so. By contrast, if you’re a person who doesn’t you’ll rarely feel that need.

Venting and catastrophising are not the same as constructively talking things through. They actually self perpetuate and make things worse.

In closing I have a plea to make: please let’s all guard our self-talk, let’s talk into being the future we want, not the one we fear. As a gift from me to help our self-talk for a positive future, I’ve added a download link here to a free self-talk script recording and there are other resources which you might find useful to download as well.

If you’d like further help on how to maximise your organisation’s chance of turning the EU challenge into an opportunity seized, please get in touch

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