Shifting sands

The pair of dumb bells had been sitting in the corner of a box for years now. Gathering dust. Rusting a bit. No one in my family was going to use them ever. Yet they remained where they were. Until yesterday. When I finally managed to give them away to a more worthy owner; someone who was a regular at a gym and was missing his daily workout regime.

Giving them away was almost like shifting the sands that had filled my mind for quite some time now. It made me reflect that how we humans love to hoard memories. Not necessarily the good ones. We invest in bad moments, bad job experiences, that family squabble, that disaster of an interview, the relationship that went awry, and so and so forth. If you consciously think about it, the amount of time this investment takes is mind boggling. It drains us out. It fills us with anxiety. It takes control over our subconscious and manifests itself in various self-destructing ways in our present.

What if were to instead focus on investing in good experiences? Imagine your brain to be a goodie bag filled with all the goodies that you have garnered over the years. What if you dip into this goodie bag and relive that awesome experience whenever you feel low and down? And then fill it in with another good experience so that there is never ever going to be a dearth of the good stuff that you have in life? Feels nice, eh?

Now, let us translate the above in our professional lives. In your goodie bag, put in all your lovely, beautiful, amazing and satisfying work experiences. That great press coverage that you managed to get. That fantastic campaign you were part of. The successful handling of a crisis. Your moments with colleagues. Those mentoring lessons that you were fortunate enough to receive. The gems of wisdom that the seniors freely circulated around. Gather all of these and more and make your career goodie bag. Make this bag your best friend to have. Give it a colour. A shape. A design if you wish. Have it close to your heart as well. Inhale the good experiences deeply till you feel them flowing through your blood. Exhale the chaos, the anxiety, the fear of the uncertain and just about anything else that troubles you.

Got a new project and have a new team to work with? Stressed about an upcoming appraisal? Your goodie bag can help you tide over just every worry that you may have. Problem is, we don’t do this often. We have somehow tuned ourselves to remember the bad moments more often. It is easy for us to relive tense moments than to relive the joyous moments of our lives.

We need to shift the sands and remove the cobwebs that surround our mind with negativity and pain. Invest in savoring positive experiences – make a note of that good moment. Savor it. Close your eyes and recreate it.

Here are some easy activities that can aid your overall experience:

  • Tell yourself that you are a lucky person. Again. And again. Once again. You don’t have to look into the mirror for this one! Just believe in the power of repeating that phrase. We are what we think of ourselves.
  • Share your professional successes with friends and colleagues. The more you share, the deeper the successes get engrained in your mind. Mind you, there is a big difference between being boastful and being humble. Stay humble about your successes. That brings me to the next one –
  • Be appreciative of what you have achieved, no matter how small that achievement may look or sound. The achievements that you have accumulated over the years will aid you in finding new solutions to the problems that you face today.

The next time you find yourself panicking over a press release gone wrong, or a story that didn’t quite sound right, or losing on that one client, remember the key to coming back on track lies within you and with you.

The views and opinions published here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher.

Sarita Bahl
Sarita Bahl is an alumnus of Tata Institute of Social Sciences and the Swedish Institute of Management Program. An experienced and versatile leader, she comes with nearly four decades of professional experience. She has over the years successfully overseen the communications and public affairs function and led the corporate social responsibility strategy for Bayer South Asia, Pfizer, and Monsanto, among others. Sarita has held multiple roles across diverse industries, the public sector, trade associations, MNCs, and the not-for-profit sector. Her areas of interest include advocacy, stakeholder engagement, sustainability, and communications.

As an Associate Certified Coach (ACC) from the International Coaching Federation (ICF) and Senior Practitioner (Mentoring) from the European Council of Mentoring and Coaching (EMCC), Sarita specializes in career transition, inner engineering and life issues. Sarita enjoys writing and is passionate about animals, books, and movies.

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