Uncertainty creates doubt, doubt creates fear, fear creates panic, and panic results in chaos. The thing about this sequence of emotions is that it can be prevented. The first crucial step to preventing chaos is in recognizing when uncertainty has begun. When you are able to see your emotions for what they are, you are better equipped to shift your focus on the future by harnessing optimism and clarity.
Too often, individuals and organizations normalize chaos, and in times of uncertainty it can happen faster than ever, taking hold quicker than we can even react. All it takes is a dash of doubt, and you can be on a chaotic rollercoaster of events. The difference for great leaders is that their poise prevails over panic, their calmness confronts chaos, and their fortitude fights fear.
Leaders who exhibit mental-strength-muscles focus on and visualize a brighter future for themselves and the people who they serve. Just think of a time when you anticipated something terrific, and it happened that way. This future-forward process for visualization is no different. When we take time to see our best selves by looking in the mirror for what we want to see, we actually then work to be that person throughout the day. Positivitivity is an intentional act and an ongoing decision. Positive leaders bring out the positivity in others through mental strength and the calm that comes with clarity of purpose.
The 3-Minute Challenge
The power of visualization cannot be underestimated. In The Rise, Sarah Lewis describes how superior archers transition to shooting less frequently, combined with other practices, like meditation, they begin to visualize more often. Seeing the arrow hit the target in their mind trains them to do so more accurately in practice. Taking time to clearly see our future, ourselves in it, and even how an event should unfold is an effective way to focus and improve our performance. This means that we must take time each day to visualize a better tomorrow, an improved outcome, and a better self. Don’t be afraid to dream big. Pick any area of your life and with clear detail write it out. Answer these three quick questions to start your visualization:
- What is one area of your life that you want to improve?
- How would it feel if you were mentally fit enough to be better in that area on a regular basis?
- What do your behaviors look like–visualize them in action–if that area is at its best?
Pro Tip: Visualization takes practice. Try not to get frustrated with yourself when you lose concentration or when your visualization is fuzzy. One way to practice is to think of a great memory and hold onto to that time and feeling in your mind. Spend a few minutes with the past to project the future. Maybe it’s a time when you won an award or when you took your kids to Disney and they met Mickey Mouse. Regardless of the event, the key is to home in on a specific moment–remembering the scene, the emotion, and the experience. This process will help you to understand more about what you want to feel and do as a focus for the future. Remembering the specifics of a quality emotional experience allows us to recreate them again more easily.
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