“It is impossible to feel blessed and stressed at the same time.”
As an up and coming executive responsible for multiple business locations, I was trained to make fixing problems a priority. I was taught to “manage by exception” by spending the majority of my time focusing on the shops that ranked in the bottom third in sales results. Simply moving the bottom third to the middle would have a dramatic impact on the overall results of the organization. We had record setting sales results and I received nothing but praise from my superiors.
Unfortunately, my intense focus on problems was turning me into a pessimist. My ego took a major hit as I read the anonymous feedback surveys from the managers that reported to me. To my surprise they perceived that I was picking on them and that I failed to recognize their progress. To make matters worse, my stress level was at an all time high and I was on the verge of burnout. What could I do to reverse this trend?
Thank You List
The main source of my stress was that I only focused on my problems without recognizing the positives. The solution was to embrace gratitude on a personal level. I started making a list and reflecting on everything in my life for which I was thankful. Areas such as my faith, family and friends were included. I would review this list before starting my day. I was amazed at how my productivity increased and my stress levels decreased. I became more proactive once I adopted the right perspective.
The Dime Test
Once I adjusted my perspective, I was able to address my team. I used a best practice known as the “dime test” to make sure I recognized the positives with my people. I would take ten dimes and place them in my left pocket. Every time I thanked one of my managers, I would switch a dime to my right pocket. My goal was to end each day with ten dimes in the other pocket. After about twenty one days, saying thank you became a habit and I no longer needed the dimes.
According to a University of Pennsylvania study, an optimist will outperform a pessimist on the job or in a business situation by as much as 50%. Making a thank you list and adopting the dime test will generate optimism, increase your success, and lower your stress.
Eric M. Twiggs
Your Procrastination Prevention Partner