I first wrote down these five steps to keeping a forward-thinking mindset in the fall of 2020. The future was uncertain, and it was hard to stay positive. This week I joined the Accelerate Women Leaders in Travel Retreat in Kennebunkport, Maine and it served as a great reminder to look back at how far we have come, and continue to apply these methods as we move forward.
These five ways to keep a forward-thinking mindset will (still) help you stay focused on the key things to move your organization through any crisis and come out stronger in the end.
I am often accused of being overly optimistic, always looking for the silver-lining. I am a glass half-full person. When I approach life from this lens, I can see more opportunities than roadblocks and it keeps my entire team moving forward. I also know that focus leads to results and without focus we would be like a ship floating at sea with no sail, unable to chart our course through the rocky waters.
1. Stay focused on a plan
Having a plan to focus on is the first step. Whenever we create strategic plans for our clients, we call them “living, breathing documents” because plans sometimes need to shift. But the focus remains on the goals.
At Break the Ice Media, we follow the EOS system created by Gino Wickman and described in his book Traction. The plan the EOS system uses is a one-page summary that includes your organization’s core values, core focus, 10- year vision, marketing strategy, three-year picture and one-year plan.
Everything you do is rooted in your organization’s core values and core focus (or mission). We have leaned on these two things to help us through this crisis and to help guide us as we made decisions to change course.
The 10-year vision is your long-term goal, continually reviewing and updating where you are going helps you focus on what is most important. The three-year picture and one-year plan guide you to develop more tactical steps that you can do in the short-term to get you closer to your long-term objectives.
The marketing strategy on the one-page plan is a summary of your target audience, three unique differentiators and your proven process (how you get your work done).
One of the first steps that we took after the pandemic started was to review our one-page plan and update it based on the changing climate. This gave us the tool we needed to stay focused on the opportunities and move past the roadblocks.
2. Lean on industry and peer-to-peer networks
There is no better time to lean on your network than when you’re feeling lost, uncertain or overwhelmed. Your networks will help you stay positive and focused on the future. This is the time to lean on those who have supported you in the past, reach out with the tough questions that you are navigating and share your successes with your peers. These networks will pay dividends if you take advantage of everything they can offer you. Don’t hold back, use your network!
3. Control your news feed
The old adage “like attracts like” applies to your thoughts and attitudes as well. It’s the law of attraction that states our thoughts “attract” corresponding experiences into our lives. Likewise, when we are feeding our thoughts with negative information we will attract negativity into our lives. If we consume positive content we will attract positivity into our lives. Choose the news and information that you consume carefully. The more you can fill your feed with positive news, forward-thinking inspiration and silver linings, the more of that you will attract into your life.
4. Find the energy in others
As a leader, I know how important it is to lead with a forward-thinking mindset. My energy directly impacts my team and the energy that I bring every day energizes them. Likewise, I get my positive energy from my team. I seek out those moments that energize me like watching a team member’s passion for a new client they are working with, or recognizing those growth moments when they learn something new or witnessing the power of our high-performing team when they are all in sync. Look for those moments, take time to recognize the little wins. They will add up to a big charge of energy once you start taking them all in.
5. Get away
Get away took on a whole new meaning starting in March 2020. Especially if you are still working from home. Remembering to take a break, midday or at the end of the day – or both – will make a huge impact on your spirits. You need to recharge. If you are tired, it will be easier to succumb to the pull of negativity. To stay positive and protect the forward-thinking mindset, we must re-energize. Find your perfect getaway and commit to it. For me it is a combination of exercise, walking, being outside and breathing in the fresh air. What do you do to recharge? Identify it and commit to it!
Instead of feeling unsure in times of uncertainty, we can view these as big opportunities to innovate and reinvent our path forward. Adopting a forward-thinking mindset is the key to harnessing the power of the moment and building a stronger future!