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How can you relate?
You have deadlines at work. Things are busy at home, too--family responsibilities demand your time this week. You and your colleague had scheduled dinner--something else you have to do. And then, one of your family members gets sick--what else can you handle? When you stack (pile on) the totality of what's going on, you suddenly feel completely overwhelmed.
This activity is what we call "negative stacking." For many of us, it's something we do naturally out of habit.
How can you use gratitude as an antidote if this happens to you?
Let's talk about bringing your thoughts back from the mindset where everything is happening at once, and instead, let's shift them to gratitude.
You may be thinking, Ginny, you bring up this topic repeatedly. Even though you may know about gratitude cognitively, it is one thing to know it; it's another thing to practice it.
What does a gratitude practice look like?
Each of us has a unique set of circumstances that can lead to feeling overwhelmed, intensely disappointed, conflicted, or even like a failure for struggling to handle the situation you're in--after all, it is a lot.
When you practice gratitude, you gain confidence and believe in yourself and your abilities.
You also develop your growth mindset--where you see failures as lessons instead and use the experience to improve yourself and behaviors in the future to generate more constructive outcomes.
Unfortunately, the human brain intends to focus on what's missing and scarcity for survival reasons. It doesn't intend to help us thrive.
By practicing mindfulness and focusing on gratitude, we allow ourselves the space to be in the moment.
When we don't allow our brains to stack all the negative things that could be happening and shift our focus away from these disempowering beliefs, emotions, and thoughts, we transform our reality.
How do you break the cycle of "negative stacking?"
When you find yourself "stacking" all the negative stories in your head, you can pivot by feeling thankful about:
Where you are in your journey and career development--the good things about that journey thus far.
How much you've grown in the last X years.
How your spiritual practice supports you.
The people in your life who support, love, and encourage you.
The abilities you possess and the qualities you appreciate about yourself.
What is going well in your life now.
Every chapter in our lives brings new experiences, gifts, and challenges and contributes to helping us become who we are.
I've heard this quote from various people throughout my self-development journey:
People come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime.
Can you think of someone who has been in your life for a season?
For example, someone you were great friends with at school, and when school ended, you each went your separate ways?
We're always meeting new people with the potential of building relationships that can last a meeting or a lifetime.
When we focus on gratitude, we realize that each person we greet can be a teacher, mentee, friend, a connector to someone in their network, a catalyst to getting introduced to a spouse, etc.
What about someone you met for a reason?
Sometimes, a stranger or someone we know is in our lives to teach us qualities that we appreciate and value or those that we don't as much.
Who would you say has been in your life for a lifetime thus far?
Perhaps, these are friends, for example. They have been there no matter what, the good, the bad, and the ugly.
I have two hands-full of friends and family in this category. I'm very grateful for them.
Bringing it all together
Remind yourself of what's going well.
When you're having a tough day, struggling, and feeling like you're drowning, I'm inviting you to pause and answer the most critical question then, what am I grateful for now?
Gratitude is a practice. It requires us to be mindful of where we focus our thoughts.
What am I grateful for now?
What can I do/how can I be right now to release or relieve my stress?
What's the next step I will take? (focus on what's important and what you can control--and do)
Rather than stack and worry about the massive bundle of things you have to do, take it one step at a time.
Use the mindfulness gratitude questions above, and the overwhelm and feeling of inadequacy, failure, and disappointment dissipates.
This stuff works!
There have been highly challenging moments since I began my own business in 2017, ExecutiveBound.
I've questioned whether I made the right decision to be an entrepreneur, whether I'm on the right path, or whether I have all the resources to make this happen.
Now that it's been several years of running my practice, I feel that I am in a good place. I am on the right track, and I'm on my journey to fulfilling my full potential, one of my Whys. And the challenges continue, of course.
What makes the most difference for me is having a gratitude practice.
And practicing gratitude becomes much easier when you immerse yourself in a community of growth-minded leaders who are also on a professional and personal development journey.
You're lucky to find those safe spaces where others will be encouraging and supportive as you grow and reach your full potential.
If that's something important to you at this stage in your life and career, let's connect.
The Fearless Leadership Mastermind program provides that safe container where talented and advancing female leaders can retool and gain critical leadership skills, build a community of allies, and have the accountability to practice the new skills consistently and with guidance.
You can reach us at www.callwithginny.com to set up a complimentary strategy session and explore how our programs can help you and your leaders gain the tools and strategies leaders must possess to advance and thrive in their careers without feeling overwhelmed.
Live with purpose, live with joy!
Coach Ginny 💕
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Dr. Ginny A. Baro is an award-winning transformational speaker & leadership coach, career strategist, and #1 best-selling author of Healing Leadership and Fearless Women at Work. Ginny specializes in partnering with organizations and ERGs to develop leadership dream teams. And she supports individuals navigating a corporate hierarchy or transitioning into an entirely new phase of their career. She has successfully facilitated live and virtual leadership training and coaching programs for individuals and Fortune 500 companies with over 140,000 employees, and delivered keynotes impacting global audiences larger than 7,000. To learn more, visit ExecutiveBound.
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