Yesterday was a struggle. To be honest, most days at the moment are a struggle. I find myself lost in lockdown and tapped out of motivation. Wandering around the house or the park over the road, as if in search of something, but unsure of what and where to find it. I wake each day with the intention to make the most of it. Go for a run, do a little yoga, undertake some deep-focused work, home-school my son, spend quality time with him, cook a healthy meal, message my boyfriend, avoid alcohol, and too much coffee…and honestly most days I fail (and I’m rising at 5am every morning). It’s exhausting! (Feel familiar?)
If I sit with this feeling of an internal battle and ask myself “where do I physically feel it?”, it’s in my head and in my heart. Where is it for you? I realise that I’m longing for real human connection, that feeling I have when my dining table is full, with laughter and good friends, or with a room of workshop participants wanting to make meaningful change. I’m searching daily for clarity on where to next, and how to invest my most valuable resource – time – in a world where mother nature has pressed the pause button. I’m not seeking sympathy I’m just allowing myself the words to feel and observe what sits behind them so that I can move through the now in a way that is constructive rather than destructive. Doing so helps me to understand why I feel lost and alone, yet at the same time ready to change the world for the better.
Now the irony is that I am a Happiness Hacker, it’s my job. I spend my days teaching people how to make intentional change (we call it Intentional Adaptability®) so that they can find more joy in the every day. You’re probably sitting there and thinking well ‘she’s not very good at her job is she’ based on how I opened this conversation, but you couldn’t be further from the truth. I am and will always be my own imperfect experiment in the work that I do. I couldn’t teach Intentional Adaptability® if I didn’t live and breathe its practical application.
It’s through experimentation that I have come to truly understand the power of words and how they impact our ability to adapt intentionally.
Happiness is a word, how you define it in your own head will impact your ability to bring more of it into your day. Happiness for me is not skipping down the street painting rainbows it’s being able to ride the wave of every emotion that life throws at you (because let’s face it, shit stuff is going to happen that’s outside of your control) and knowing that you have the skills, the resources, and the support to come out the other side just a little better than what you were before.
If I connect back to the battle that I’m having with myself daily and how I can draw on what I teach to stop beating myself up, I go to the most accessible lever we have – words. Whilst there is a lot going on at the moment for so many of us that is outside of our control we can control the words we use in our internal dialogue and the words we allow into our environment daily. Let me run you through what I mean. The words I write down on my to-do list are impacting how I feel because I just can’t get through all of the things I’m putting on that page at the moment, in turn, that is impacting the words that I use in my head. Words like, “you’re not exercising enough”, “that wasn’t the right thing to eat”, “you haven’t taken Sax (my son) to the park yet”, “did you do a good enough job schooling him today?” What about your boyfriend? “Did you make contact with him today?”, “Have you worked out how to pivot your business model yet?” You get the picture.
The words you use impact your mindset which impacts your behaviour, which impacts the words… and the cycle just keeps repeating itself.
If those words are constantly negative (which apparently, we have a bias toward negative internal language) we are programming neural pathways that act as a barrier to positive action. So, what to do? I mentioned experimenting, which I’m a big fan of, us silver bullets are bullshit and there is no one-size-fits-all solution to hacking happiness. I’m going to experiment with:
- Fewer words on my to-do-list this coming week. I’m only going to write down the three most important things I need to get done each day (one must include self-care) and when I get to the end of the day and tick them off, I’m going to use my words to tell myself that’s enough.
- I’m also going to keep a notepad on my desk with two headings: words that I’m using that are not serving me, and words in my environment that are not serving me. I will note them down as they arise and in the context of words in the environment, I will note down the source e.g. is it a media source, a person, a podcast, social media? The point is, that without awareness there can be no change. Making these words visible enables me to intentionally practice reframing these words into more positive language and curating my environment so that the sources of words into my life are ones that uplift and enable me.
If any of my feelings resonate and you’re finding like me you are in this daily battle with yourself, consider how you can experiment with words to be a little kinder to yourself and allow a little more sunshine into your day.
If you’d like to explore the power of your words further as a lever to get out of the struggle and into a space of positive action that makes you feel more confident in navigating the complexity of the now join us for our latest workshop – Slingshot: Using Words To Propel Us Forward
Want To Know More About BKindred?
BKindred is on a mission to teach 10 million humans how to intentionally adapt, in order to future proof happiness by 2025. We put humans first in a world of technology, skilling your people and organisation to thrive in the future. Learn more about the Intentional Adaptability Quotient (IAQ®) and why it is the new competitive advantage. Are you ready for the future? Take your free Intentional Adaptability Quotient® Self-Assessment here. Unlock your IAQ® – The New Intelligence here.
This post was written by Penny Locaso, founder of BKindred on LinkedIn and republished here with permission.