Today’s post is an extension of a blog written last week. For those of you who didn’t read part one, here is a quick refresher: Shawn Achor is one of the leading research experts on the connection between happiness and success.
Last week’s post detailed Shawn Achor’s strategies to help individuals see their reality differently in order to become more engaged, productive and innovative in the workplace.
This blog, however, details three strategies to help you become successful not only professionally, but personally.
Strategy #1: Highlight your true meaning markers
Meaning markers are mental landmarks that represent anything you consider important, valuable or feel a deep emotional connection with. Examples of these meaning markets could include accomplishing something challenging, making a new social connection, helping a coworker, etc. It is very important for individuals to determine their meaning markers as early in their career as possible. Employees who do not find their meaning markers have higher stress and blood pressure levels compared those who are able to map meaning at work, and the same can be applied to an individual’s personal life. In fact, researchers from Wharton Business School found that individuals experience up to 3X higher levels of motivation, engagement, and productivity when our work is centered on our positive meaning markers.
Strategy #2: Reorient your map for success
The purpose of having a map for success is so individuals can have a literal or figurative plan in place to utilize as a guide to achieve success. Once a “map” is put into place, one must orient his/her map to determine the best and most efficient way to obtain his/her end goal.
Think of something you want to accomplish in your professional (or personal) life and think about all the resources (besides money) that can be used to obtain that goal – such as: intellectual skills, leadership and social resources. This exercise will help you shift to a more positive orientation by forcing your brain to focus on all the reasons why you are likely to achieve your goal, rather than waste time worrying about reasons why you might not.
Strategy #3: Map success routes before escape routes
Often individuals spend too much time determining escape routes away from problematic situations instead of turning the issues into learning experiences and moving in the right direction.
During one of Achor’s recent talks at the Google headquarters, an executive in the audience described an individual at a previous company who went around telling other employees how he expected to get passed up for a promotion. When the employee did not receive the promotion, he continued to spread negativity to prove that he was right about not receiving the promotion. The executive told Achor that while the employee had the technical skills required, he didn’t receive the promotion because he didn’t have a vision for success. How could the executive trust him to lead a team to success if he didn’t believe in his own success first?
Successfully implementing the above strategies can provide numerous benefits, such as:
Limiting stress: Staying positive eliminates stress by allowing you to better cope during hardships and powering through challenges.
Better results: Creating and committing to goals (and writing them down) gives you a 95% higher chance of achieving those goals.
Longer lifespan: The Mayo Clinic completed a 30-year study of 447 people. It was found that optimists had about a 50% lower risk of early death than those who had a more negative outlook on life.
The above strategies are not the only ways to achieve success. However, a positive mindset is going to be key for any success journey, professional or personal, an individual embarks on. Actually, research shows that when people attempt to have a positive mindset performance improves in almost every way - including productivity, creativity, and engagement in daily tasks.