The professor of business and management at the Center of Positive Organizations at Ross Business School, University of Michigan, also advises that you ask yourself this:
What results do you want to create?
By doing so, he believes, you immediately put yourself in the future instead of solving problems from the past.
When you are stressed or in a low mood, you automatically try to find the root of the problem and the reason why you feel the way you do. You might get stuck in your attempt to explain the problem and twist and turn different solutions to it.
Sometimes the ‘problem-solving search’ leads to more problems and negative emotions, and you end up chasing your own tail. A classic example is when your thoughts begin to revolve around the ‘why’, which research suggests is part of the problem.
In his study, Making Positive Change: A Randomized study comparing Solution-Focused vs Problem-Focused Coaching, Dr Anthony M Grant demonstrates that solution-focused questions are most effective at getting people to generate action steps to help them reach their goals.
Meanwhile, author and hotelier Chip Conley explains how to change to a mindset of ‘positive challenge’, which contrasts with that of learned helplessness (where we give up and don’t try).
He offers these tips:
- Think of a project, an assignment and a task that you are currently involved in
- Write down all the things that you have control over
- Write down the things that you think you have little or no control over.
According to Conley, by doing these things, you will realize that you have more control than you think. By sharing and identifying pieces of what we think we have no control over, we often realise just how many human resources we can access.
Strengths and calling
Last year, Claudia Harzer and Prof. Willibald Ruch studied 1,111 employees in various German organisations. The results suggested that people who apply four or more of their top strengths at work have better health overall than those who use fewer strengths. Those who use more strengths also see their work as their ‘calling’, are more engaged and take more initiative.
Research has also suggested that people who do not act in line with their calling experience less well-being and feel more frustrated, which negatively impacts their job performance. People who haven’t found their calling display more indecision, stress and identity confusion.
Learning from experience is an art. Every week challenge yourself to learn something new. Remind yourself that there is a difference between who you are and what you do: ‘failure’ is something you are not, which is not the same as failure to do something or to behave in a certain way.
According to McKinsey, by committing to a behavioural strategy, you will see results in the form of better decisions and more engaged managers. Doing so is viewed as one of the best strategic investments you could make.