THE POSITIVE EFFECT OF NEGATIVE THINKING
I have a special coaching tip for you today, it’s called the positive effect of negative thinking. And if you’re an entrepreneur with big goals for your business this year, this is for you.
Negative thinking? What?
Why would a Success Coach spend any time talking or thinking about negative thinking? Aren’t we supposed to just think positively about what we want and imagine it all happening perfectly? Isn’t that what manifesting and the law of attraction is all about?
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As you may know, I worked as a Costumer Designer and Assistant Designer behind the scenes on many big Hollywood films for the past 25+ years. One of the interesting things about the film industry is that it is masterful training for preparing for a lot of positive negative thinking.
In 2007 I was working on an HBO project called “Grey Gardens.” It starred Drew Barrymore, Jessica Lange and Ken Howard and it was an amazing film about the life of Edith Beale and the famous Grey Gardens estate (if you haven’t seen it, it’s a fascinating story and a must-watch cult classic).
One day I went to set, which was a train station platform. We were all huddled inside, escaping the cold, waiting to get our shot – which was of Drew (Little Edie) getting on the train and heading to NYC, saying goodbye to her father, played by Ken Howard.
Drew, Ken and I were chatting, waiting for the set up to be finished, when the craft service girl walked by and offered everyone a snack – hot dogs! Ken was hungry and happily grabbed a dog and proceeded to take a big bite…and then mustard squirted all over the collar of his suit.
Wow…you should have seen all of our faces in that moment. I think Drew actually screamed!
Ken was wearing a one of a kind suit that we had custom-made for him in the correct style for the time period of the scene. Plus, Ken was no easy guy to fit … he was 6 ‘ 7” (and a lovely gentle giant who unfortunately passed away in 2016). There was no other suit, and nothing else for him to wear that day.
Working in a costume department, all of the training and preparation is actually geared for that exact moment…the negative situation when an actor squirts mustard on his suit. Costumers are experts at preparing, anticipating and expecting the unexpected … and when it comes along, they immediately jump into action to fix things.
Don’t get me wrong – thinking positively about life, your business plans and what you want to accomplish is great. But it’s only half the equation, because often things don’t go exactly the way you imagined. And if all you’ve ever done is prepared for the good times, when things show up that are negative, difficult or a challenge, you won’t be prepared. You won’t have the mental toughness to keep going. When the challenge shows up (and it will) you will be tempted to give up because things just got real and maybe even very difficult.
Take a bit of time and think about your goals and plans for the week and then ask yourself – if things don’t go the way I’ve planned, how am I still going to accomplish my goal? (Achieving your goal is a non-negotiable BTW). If adversity shows up, how will I deal with it? Take a moment and think about how you can be flexible if you need to be. What other strategies could you use? What other resources do you have? How are you going to adapt? You don’t need to dwell in negativity and talk yourself out of trying to go for your goal, but think about being an entrepreneurial girl scout and get mentally prepared.
Oh, and Ken Howard’s nice blue suit? It was fine. We’d planned ahead by buying a very high quality wool fabric, treated it with a protectant in advance and cleaned away the mustard with a ‘Wet One’ baby wipe within seconds so it didn’t have time to ruin the day. Yeah … we were prepared and we got the shot. (And Ken was never allowed to have hot dogs again on our show)!