American Business Advisors is committed to Building Cash Cows® AND improving Quality of Life®.
Today let’s explore a simple way to improve your quality of life. Having worked with hundreds of business owners over the past 32 years, we have seen and understand what it takes to improve your quality of life and to make you great.
Ironically, what makes you great and effective can be the very attribute that defeats you! As business owners, you are independent, courageous, and sometimes stubborn. Tenacity and focused courage are your allies. You could not have started, stuck with, nor built your businesses without them.
But these same allies will betray you, when –not if!— you fall into a rut of negative thinking. That same focus can lead you into big trouble. Imagine the impact on your actions of these comments we’ve heard business owners say:
- “I’m not focused.”
- “There I go again. I’m not a [people, numbers] guy.”
- “This company can’t run without me.”
- “[So-and-so] are NOT who I want as clients.”
- “[Finding strategic partners/Quality consistency] is hard.”
- “If it weren’t for [Someone/Something] I wouldn’t be in this situation.”
- “Where’s the ‘silver bullet?’” [Said even when I know there is none]
These thinking patterns either put the responsibility for the situation outside the owner or reinforces patterns of negative belief. This kind of thinking, if pursued, will set you into a self-defeating pattern of thinking and behaving.
A couple of old proverbs frame our dilemma very well:
“Of [us] the proverbs are true: ‘A dog returns to its vomit,’ and ‘A sow that is washed returns to her wallowing in the mud.”’
(2 Peter 2:21)
We are not imagining this experience!
As business owners, we’re wired to do trouble-shooting and problem solving. As a result of doing that problem solving, it’s very easy for us to become fixated on the 10% of the problem we don’t control, rather than focus on the 90% we do. Most of what we perceive as a “crisis” may not be the event, comment or action but the catastrophic story we tell ourselves around that event.
There’s a pithy saying in the latest neuroscience research as summarized by Steve Parton: “Synapses that fire together wire together.”
Throughout your brain there is a collection of synapses separated by empty space called the synaptic cleft. Whenever you have a thought, one synapse shoots a chemical across the cleft to another synapse, thus building a bridge over which an electrical signal can cross, carrying along its charge the relevant information you’re thinking about.
Every time this electrical charge is triggered, the synapses grow closer together in order to decrease the distance the electrical charge has to cross…. The brain is rewiring its own circuitry, physically changing itself, to make it easier and more likely that the proper synapses will share the chemical link and thus spark together–in essence, making it easier for the thought to trigger. 1
“Synapses that fire together wire together.”
In other words, every time you choose to dwell on negative messages, you are starting to rewire your brain to think, believe and then act on those negative beliefs. Those negative thoughts will even begin to spontaneously come out of nowhere because you have built up those negative pathways in your brain.
Fortunately, the converse is also true: every time you choose to focus on the positive, you’re rewiring your brain to look for reasons to keep thinking in that new way.
How can you improve your Quality of Life? You don’t have to wait until some big event—the hiring of your COO, your key employee signing a deferred compensation agreement or your finalizing the sale of your company.
You can start today to choose new beliefs. Consider these new alternatives to the old scripts mentioned above:
- I have a set time to tackle my top 3 items.
- I get to focus on my talent as a detail guy.
- I have GREAT people who want this company to succeed.
- I want Ultra High Net worth individuals as clients.
- I had a great sale last week and have a plan to get my next one.
- I set aside this morning to find the work-around to this situation.
- I know there’s a “good enough” solution to this problem for now.
What’s one thought/belief you will choose to reverse in the coming week?
What difference will that make in your Quality of Life?