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Keep calm and choose your attitude

Posted on 18/07/2016, 13:04

In conversations with business owners post the referendum I have noticed a “we’re doomed” mentality creeping into the conversation.

My job as a coach is to challenge that. After all, at the time of writing, the markets have pretty much recovered, the pound is still weak, no one is really sure what will happen and the sky hasn’t fallen on our heads!

I’ll then ask them what they can do to change things – and usually get a blank look in return. “What can we do?  The politicians have messed this up, the majority voted to leave, there’s nothing we can do but put up the shutters and hope to weather the storm”. I’m paraphrasing, but I’m sure you get the drift and perhaps similar thoughts are crossing your mind.

This kind of thinking is known as below the line thinking. In it we choose to blame others, make excuses or perhaps we are in denial.  This allows us to abdicate control of our lives and our business so we can sit back and say “it’s not our fault”.

There is a degree of cultural conditioning in this type of thinking, that forces us below the line as we are taught that others views and opinions are more important than our own. My parents (love then to bits), for instance were always critical of the fact that I treated my children as equals!

I’m sure you’ll agree that this kind of behaviour is not helpful at any time. Let alone after a Brexit vote. So now we have a name for this negativity – below the line – and as we can now identify it we can recognise it in ourselves and others and challenge it.

What we want then is empowering behaviour – above the line thinking. This is where, whatever the circumstance we:

Take ownership of the situation

Remain accountable for our actions and

Maintain responsibility for the outcomes.

This is ‘victor’ behaviour and I guarantee that every successful person you have ever met or read about demonstrates this on a daily basis.

It is our choice to be above or below the line – a conscious decision. Yes, life will come along and kick you in the unmentionables every now and then and our instinctive reaction will be to go below the line and bemoan our fate. Now we have named the behaviour and labelled it as unhelpful make a decision to get back above the line and take back control of your own ship.

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