My acquaintance Dr. Danial Amen wrote about his experience with ants. After a hard day at the office, he arrived home and found thousands of ants in his kitchen as he started to clean them up, an acronym developed in his mind – ANTs.?
Just like the infested kitchen, his patients’ brains were also overrun by ANTs. Yet ants in a different sense:?Automatic Negative Thoughts (ANTs).? And those thoughts were robbing them of their joy and stealing their happiness.
He started teaching his patients how to eliminate all of the ANTs because that’s what fuels negativity.
Every single time you have a thought, your brain releases chemicals.
Dr. Amen determined that every time you have a sad, hopeless, mad, cranky, unkind, judgmental, or helpless thought, your brain immediately releases chemicals that make your body feel awful. Your hands get cold and wet, your muscles get tense, your heart beats faster, and your breathing becomes shallower. Additionally, the activity in your frontal and temporal lobes decreases, which negatively affects your judgment, learning, memory.
The opposite is also true – whenever you have a happy, hopeful, loving, kind, or positive thought, your brain releases an entirely different set of chemicals. Your hands get warmer and dryer, your breathing becomes more profound and more regular, your muscles relax, your blood pressure decreases, and your brain works better.
So, if you want to eradicate negativity from your life, work on disciplining your mind to get rid of the ANTs and developing ANTeaters to patrol the streets of your account. (Side note: 2 of my sons our University of California (UCI) Anteaters!)??
Just as there are many species of ants in the world, there are different kinds of negative thought patterns (ANTs). Dr. Amen outlined a few we felt we all should learn to identify:
The masterful art of predicting the worst, even though you don’t have any evidence.
Where you arbitrarily believe that you know what someone else is thinking, even though they didn’t tell you. Many people do this, and more often than not, it gets them into trouble. It’s a significant reason why people have difficulty in relationships. I call it false projecting!
Thinking with words like should, must, ought, and have to. The words we use to talk to ourselves are significant. Guilt is a good motivator for change. Telling yourself, “I should go see my grandmother” rather than “I want to spend time with my grandmother,” only serves to make you feel negative.
Whenever you blame someone else for the problems in your life, you are a victim, and you can’t do anything to change it. Many of us play the blame game, but it rarely helps us. Stay away from blaming thoughts and take personal responsibility for changing the problems you have.
Calling yourself or someone else a derogatory name. This diminishes your ability to see situations clearly, and labels can be very harmful.
So now that you have met some of the ANTs that rob you of your happiness and peace of mind, what do you do about them?
Whenever you find yourself feeling mad, sad, nervous, or out-of-control, write down what you are thinking. Then identify which ANT species is infesting your mind and talk back to it.
Challenging negative thoughts (killing the ANTs) takes away their power and gives YOU control over your thoughts, moods, and behaviors.
The cool thing is we all get to choose how we play the game and learning how to kill the ANTs and develop an internal ANTeater is a great choice!?
Check out his book,? The Brain Warrior’s Way
Not sure about you, for me, it is overwhelming to see how the world has come together in this crisis. As McChensey, Covey, and Huling wrote so well in the “4 Disciplines of Execution,” when you have “singularity of focus,” the trivial gets minimized.
Yet, for me, it’s also a paradox, the dichotomy of our lives right now as we push forward in adapting to new work routines, new ways of connecting, and new ways of contributing to our communities. At the same time, we watch first responders, doctors, nurses, and even the local grocery store staff pour their hearts each day into serving others. It’s been inspiring to see the greatness in humanity.
This week at JPAR, we started a free series called the 8 AM club. The intention was to help our associates, staff, and business partners adapt to new routines, new ways of working and delivering empowering messages to help adapt during this time of transition.
On Monday, Seth Denson shared the power of a solid foundation. “Did You Build It Right?”
Tuesday, Tanya Waymire shared “How You Choose To Show Up Is Everything.”
Wednesday, Jose Ruiz shared the science of “Being Intentional.”
Thursday Germaine Gaspard shared a powerful message about: “Know This: What You Are Becoming Is What You Are Doing.”
Friday, we capped off the week with Sylvia Marusk, who shared: “Stress – the Silent Killer.” Getting Out Of The Stress Response & Getting Into Restore & Rest.
The series is just one step we are taking to ensure our JPAR associates, staff, and partners don’t just survive – they thrive.
Next week’s theme? How to deal with things when they go out of control.
If you don’t like it, change it.
If you can’t change it, change the way you think about it!
It seems we are all spending a lot more time sharing, talking, and communicating on video platforms and social media. This virus event will change us in ways we’ve never imagined. Yet here’s what I know – we are all in it together.
As I was thinking, just a few weeks ago, most of us would say, “we don’t have the time!”
Time is currency.
And now we have all the time in the world. What will you do with it?
Here are a few action items to consider:
Throw out the OLD rules
One of my favorite movies – Apollo 13 – has a scene where ground control is calling up a new procedure for the astronauts. “Aquarius this is Houston, we’d like you to rip the cover off your flight plan!”
Your 2020 business plan just changed, and I’d like you to rip the virtual cover off your plan and write a new procedure.
At JPAR, we have written a 21-question digital business review, now is the time to dig into that review and rewrite the plan.
First, make sure your database is ready to support you and your growth. My surveys show 50% still work off sticky notes and spreadsheets… now is the time to get organized.
Second, find a market that fits your selling style. Then, find an area ready for your focus. Hyperlocal expertise will never be more important. Be a specialist, not a generalist.
Third, leverage video. A bad video is better than no video. Consistency and value are key.
Fourth, social media. Be helpful. It does not need to all be about business.
Fifth now is not the time for marketing as usual.
- Leverage the free resources at KCM and NARConsider starting a FB group for your neighbors, moms’ group, guys groups.
- Host a weekly happy hour or weekly virtual meetups
- Send texts, calls, or ten handwritten notes a day – thinking of you, how about you doing, is there anything I can do to support you?
- Pause the door-knocking & flyer drop-offs
- Use FB groups as a way to be helpful not to sell yourself
- Turn off or update any automation
Build a solid ROUTINE
One size does not fit all! You’re probably tired of hearing the same old line… do these four things in the morning. The truth is my routine may or may not work for you.
There have been a lot of successful people over the centuries of human history. And if you look at just a few of them, they certainly don’t do the same things. But what they do have in common are daily routines, something that they do day in and day out, without fail.
The key is finding the routine that works for you.
In his book, “The Miracle Morning,” Hal Elrod outlines the science, system, and secrets of a powerful routine, even if you are not a morning person! One of the most powerful concepts I learned from Hal is to “set your intentions before bed!”
You know that feeling of connection when shared goals and interests bind us together? During this time, there has never been a greater need for connection, for services, for innovative solutions.
Wants and needs are all around you. We know the problem; can you provide the solution for your sphere of influence?
One example – a JPAR agent is featuring a virtual interview each day on Facebook with a local business owner that has a drive-through, delivery of drop off services.
Rely on EXPERTS to strengthen your voice
Separating charged emotions from facts and data is an essential skill these days. One of the best ways to amplify expertise and convey calm is to leverage other voices of authority.
One of the best is my good friend Steve Harney, Founder of Keeping Current Matters and, of course, our National Association Of REALTORS?.
And of course, we can all review reliable information from national sources such as the Center for Disease Control (CDC)
PASSION OVER PERSUASION
Do you find yourself getting mired in detail of this crisis? It is not uncommon – as I recommend above – to surround ourselves with technical experts and forget the power of human nature.
Crises are not solved with reason and data alone. We must never forget we are first and foremost humans with emotions. We have families and lives outside of deeply important work. When we lead with empathy, we demonstrate dedication and compassion for those we serve.
There you have it. Time is currency. And now that we all have some extra time, what will you do with it?
Throw out the old rules; build a new solid routine; rely on the experts to strengthen your voice and remember the most: your strategy matters and your passion rules!
Have you ever told yourself, “I don’t have enough time to do that?” Or “I’m so busy!?” When out of time or overwhelmed, it often can mean, “I don’t know what’s important right now.” Can you relate? If so, this article is for you.?
I recently ran across a fantastic author, Amber Rae. What I like about Amber is she is not a therapist, a neuroscientist, or even a life coach. She is a woman who is obsessed with the human condition, with what our emotions are trying to tell us, and how you and I can express the fullness of our gifts. Her book, “Wonder Over Worry”?is an official invitation to face our fears and create a life that reflects who you are.?
I’m SO busy! Here are a few questions to ask yourself intended to align your behavior with your ambition and goals better.
- What is my #1 priority right now??
- Are my behaviors consistent with my priorities? For example,
- Is there anywhere I’m saying “yes” right now when I need to say “no”?
- Is there anywhere I’m saying “yes” to that is not serving me or my goals at this time??
- How much of my time and energy is devoted to things that feel like a burden?
- Can I make them feel less of a burden?
- Can I delegate or do less of these activities??
- In terms of where you are investing your time write now, what brings you the most fulfillment and joy??
- How can you do more of that?? ?
“Don’t spend time beating on a wall, hoping to transform it into a door. ”??~ Coco Chanel
“I’m so busy” — three little words many of us use all the time?as a way to decline invitations. Think about it, and it makes sense, though: Time is the most precious commodity because unlike money, we can’t make more of it.
But guess what? Everyone is busy, so while you might think the message you’re sending with “I’m so busy” is, “I’m slammed,” what the other person hears is,
“What I’m working on is more important than you!”
Wow – is that the message you want to send to others? Stop saying ‘I’m so busy.’ Harvard researchers say this is what successful people do instead:
Take a rain check.
Let the other person know what you have going on. Telling others what you’ve been doing (even if it’s unrelated to work – for me like preparing for a Spartan Race) also allows them to get to know you better. In turn, the other person is invited to share updates of their own, which can help to establish rapport.?
Be honest and lend a hand.
Showing complete honesty and sincerity can boost the relationship. Depending on what the invitation is, here are a couple of examples:
- ?“I can’t make it to the brainstorming meeting because I have a few deadlines to meet. I’m not finished and to be honest, I’m a bit overwhelmed. Would it be helpful if I send my ideas tomorrow morning?”?
- ?“I can’t make it to your networking event next week because I have dinner plans that night. I’ve rescheduled it twice already, and I’d hate to do it again. But I know a few colleagues who would love to attend your event. Can I extend the invitation?”
The key is to show that you trust the other person enough, to be honest and that you care enough to offer support.
Be honest about your condition?
In a study from Harvard, participants found two valid excuses that resonated with others:
- I don’t have the money right now for that activity… with some context.?
- I don’t have the energy right now for that activity… with some context.??
The significance of the Harvard study?is that it provides valuable insight into how we can be more protective of our time without making others question how much we value the relationship.?
Rule the day or the day rules you!?
Unproductive busyness, bad for you… bad for your business.
Work increases to fill the time available.
Extra time fills with unimportant activities.
Ask yourself – How would you get your work done tomorrow if:
You only had 2 hours per day to complete it?
You only had 2 hours per week to complete it?
Then, write down only 2 mission critical items and test by asking:
Would I be satisfied with my day if only that happened?
What are the consequences if they don’t?
Complete those tasks by 11 AM the next day.