So, it all started one morning as I was sitting outside on the patio for our morning quarantine coffee hour. My husband was listening to his normal news station with earbuds in, so he wasn’t paying any attention to me. I have to say, this current situation of quarantine has changed our routine and our behaviors. For example, he is home more, which is both a blessing and a curse. We get to spend more time together...and we get to spend more time together. Then it happened, I had one great idea for the day which turned into multiple great ideas. I was on fire! Of course, because he was the only person in front of me at the moment, he became my human target. He slowly took out his earbuds and in typical husband fashion looked at me with a puzzling look and said “Whoa!” It was at that moment he coined my behavior as “popcorn brain." We had a good laugh, but it was true. I tend to have an idea which then just explodes...like popcorn popping. He listened and I talked. But, I realized what was happening became what I now call “Positive Productivity.”
On a side note, as a Gallup Strengths coach, I work with individuals and teams to examine their top talents (through the Clifton StrengthsFinder assessment). I help them find what motivates and energizes them to become more successful in life. Also, I help them discover what keeps them unmotivated and unfocused. One of my top talent themes is Positivity®️, which during a pandemic and quarantine can be quite useful as a Strength. I often see the bright side of what can be a negative situation. I focus on outcomes that bring out the best in any situation.
So, back on the patio. I had a realization on this particular morning, that there were people who were struggling and not handling quarantine life well. I felt compelled to do something. Like many, I’ve spent most of my time reconfiguring my business, but I’ve also been studying and reading about human nature in times of crisis. In a crisis, we can be driven by multiple factors, including fear. The question becomes, how do we take that fear and move towards personal growth?
Through my social media posts, I have shared helpful day-to-day hints for working and living remotely. While helpful to some, others remain stuck in their fear. Fear of the unknown. Fear of the apocalyptic nature of the world. Fear of social isolation. In this state, how does someone begin to move forward? Recently, the work of psychologist Martin Seligman was shared with me. His work is grounded in positive psychology. He developed the following simple, yet powerful exercise.
Each night before you go to sleep:
*Think of three good things that happened today
*Write them down
*Reflect on your role in why they happened
Perhaps the key to letting go of the fear is recognizing and celebrating the daily positives. Think of the power in that. A conscious attempt to replace negative behavior and thoughts with positive ones. Once there is a mental shift, personal growth is possible. This unprecedented time in our history has given us many reasons to pause, but I am confident we will all come out of this better on the other side. There may be struggles, but we can try to find the moments in the struggles that will lead you to a moment of personal growth. Acknowledge it. Celebrate it.
So, I leave you with these thoughts. You are the architect of your life. During this time, how will you work towards personal and professional growth? What opportunities will you create to enhance your life? When you find yourself in a moment of fearful thinking, what will you do to move past it? How will you tap into your Strengths to stay energized and focused?
How will you practice Positive Productivity?
Dr. Vicky Goodin is a Certified Gallup Strengths Coach. These days you can find her being Positively Productive by chatting up remote coaching Strengths groups on Zoom, drinking coffee on the patio, kayaking on the lake behind her house or Instragramming photos of her adopted stray cat Peeka (@Peeka_Boo_Kitty). Her Top 5 Clifton Strengths are Positivity®️ * Strategic®️ * Arranger®️ * Communication®️ and WOO®️.