Sunday, August 14, 2011

Look to the Positive


For every thing that goes sideways in our lives, there are twice as many things that go right. However, all too often we focus on the few mishaps rather than the positives. This negative focus sours our day lowers our immune system and makes us feel powerless. I notice this tendency in myself sometimes and have created a game I like to play when I catch myself spiraling downward. I call this game "Three Good Things."
I recently had a chance to play it, when I was traveling to Vancouver for a lunch presentation. Awaking to an early five a.m. alarm clock, my partner John gave me a ride to the bus stop. We kissed goodbye and I hopped on along with all of the other early morning travelers. Just a few blocks into our journey, the driver announced that the windshield wipers were broken and that we must get off the bus and he would try to get another bus for us from the depot. Chances were slim that we would still make it to the ferry terminal in time. Here we were standing in the rain, waiting for another bus that may or may not arrive in time for us to catch the ferry. People started complaining about the bus service, one person called her husband to pick her up and take her back home, the bus driver kept saying, "we are not going to make it to the ferry in time". In the midst of this doom and gloom, I began playing my first round of "Three Good Things." I challenged myself to come up with three things that were good about this situation and came up with the following:
1. Even if I miss the early ferry, I will still be able to arrive on time for my lunch talk.
2. I have a good book with me and two extra hours to read it in case we don't make the early sailing.
3. This bus driver takes safety seriously and is doing everything he can to get another bus as quickly as possible. I feel safe.
Meanwhile the doom and gloom talk continued around me until the new bus arrived and we all got on. The driver seemed to have his foot glued to the gas pedal and we somehow arrived at the ferry terminal 5 minutes before departure. Even though the ticket sales usually stop 10 minutes prior to departure, the BC Ferry staff let us on to the ferry. We were on our way to Vancouver - another good thing.
Before I created the "Three Good Things" game, I could have easily spiraled downwards with everybody else and gotten upset. However, I chose to have fun with my game and that helped me keep things in perspective.
Give it a try the next time you catch yourself thinking "oh no!" Take the challenge to come up with three good things. Sometimes it may be difficult to come up with positive aspects, however just engaging in the game and looking for the good things will help shift your perspective. Enjoy!
Julia James, CPCC, PCC, M.Sc. is a multi-lingual certified life coach, award-winning author and international speaker. She helps busy professionals around the world achieve balance in their lives through individual coaching and workshops. Author of the book, The Mini-Retreat Solution and the audio CD series, Guided Mini-Retreats for Busy People, she provides tools to manage stress effectively and to relax and re-energize quickly. Julia has been featured on Joy TV, CBC News, as well as in The Globe & Mail, Glow Magazine, BC Business Magazine and The Vancouver Observer. For more information visit: www.juliajames.ca


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