What if you could spend one day, one week, or longer with no negative thoughts or actions? What impact would that have on your life?
Dr. Emmet Fox, Scottish born philosopher, scientist and spiritual teacher, developed a small pamphlet in 1938 entitled, The Seven-Day Mental Diet. This tiny gem challenges the reader to take a “mental diet” for one week, which means you cannot think any negative thoughts or say anything negative during that time. If you lapse from the diet, you must start at the beginning again, at Day One. In this diet, you cannot use negative language or think bad thoughts about yourself or someone else.
I tried the diet, thinking how hard can this be? I created guidelines for myself: Remain positive all the time. Let my anger or frustration simply melt away. This meant no road rage, no negative thoughts about other people or myself. It sounded so simple. My first attempt lasted just a few hours before negativity crept back into my psyche. As I struggled through the first day, I was shocked to discover that I was more negative than I had thought. It was an eye opening experience. I would highly recommend this exercise if you are interested in improving your positive outlook on life.
Keep forging ahead even if you struggle the first few days (or minutes!). Over time, this exercise will become easier and you will notice a difference. Soon your newfound positive attitude will become natural to you.
“What do you do?” is the most common question people ask when they meet someone new. What do you think about these four words? How do they make you feel..as you ask the question or as someone asks it of you? It’s very limiting, narrowly focused and impersonal. Let’s analyze this question:
What is directed to what the person does, not who the person is.
Do is career focused and reflects an interest only in position and status. When you meet someone who is in transition or between jobs, or does not work, you put that person in an awkward position. Without thinking, the question could be demeaning to the other person. Let’s create a mind shift and change this phrase to “Tell me about yourself.”
Tell me encourages action; you want to hear about that person.
Yourself The focus is on the other person…not just the person’s career…what a concept!
Try this the next time you attend a function. You will be surprised by the responses. People will be delighted that you are interested in them. As you say this new phrase, remember:
- It focuses on the other person, not on you
- It allows you more topics to discuss
- It provides the other person with a choice of what to discuss
Networking is about building relationships, not just collecting business cards. When you see people at future events, they will know you are interested in them, not just their title or job function.
In this final installation of being on purpose, here is one last mantra for you to embrace: “Everything I do positions me as a true professional.” That means that everything about you determines your level of professionalism, like how you interact with others, how you dress, your attitude or how you respond to crisis or change. To me, the word professional represents a person who sets – and lives by – high standards, someone who delivers quality results, and is considerate of others. It’s not necessary only to have a white collar job to be considered as a professional. Anyone can be professional. It has more to do with one’s character than it does job status or income level. Anyone who comes in contact with customers or clients can benefit from some pointers in “Professionalism 101.” Consider initiating an open dialogue with your work team or employees on the topic by asking questions like, “How do you define professionalism?”, “What benefit could greater professionalism bring to us as individuals and to our company?”, “What type of behavior does a professional demonstrate?” or “How can we treat our customers or clients more professionally?” You may be surprised where the conversation leads you.