Your article on negativity and naysayers helped me recently when confronted with a tough case at work. Thank you! I’m curious how you developed the pause, frame, and affirm technique. – Kathie in Alexandria, Virginia
Kathie, I’m so glad to hear the article made a difference for your work situation. Declaring your independence from negativity and naysayers is based on my experiences. At one point in my career, I went down a very dark, deep tunnel of negativity. A naysayer aided and abated this dreadful descent. Here is the story of how I climbed out and the tactics I learned.
The Perfect Storm
It was a perfect storm of swirling negativity at work. Our industry was experiencing rapid disruptive change, and the economy was in a nosedive, adversely affecting our industry and business. Our division in the company had become the corporate guinea pig for every radical, wild, and fanciful concept for operational processes. It was an atmosphere of uncertainty and frustration.
Here I was, in the center of this maelstrom. At my core, I am positive, optimistic, and embrace the glass “half-full.” Normally this attitude has helped me weather bad times and difficult situations. This is not to say that I can’t whine and complain with the best of them! But like an unsinkable buoy, I pop back up to positivity.
This time, however, was different. Along with the perfect storm weighing me down, a final caveat was a naysayer, a close business associate and friend. Her outlook has always looked to the shadows, the dark side of our existence. Her influence added a strong negative energy to the situation. Everything seemed bad and out of control.
It felt like I was free falling into a bottomless pit and I desperately wanted out of the situation. But how? Where was the parachute? Or better yet, a rope to grab and climb. At the lowest point I found myself sobbing in my shower. It was an all-out pity party. This emotional release was exhausting, yet, at the same time, calming. I was giving myself permission to feel and acknowledge my unhappiness and desperation to seek a way out of the cyclone of calamity.
A Fresh Mindset
With my emotions spent, I was able to examine the situation with a fresh mindset. It was a moment to pause and reset. I had a decision to make, and I chose to move forward. To stop thinking about what I had given up or taken away, and instead look for what I was going to get in return. Sure, the chaos of our industry and company in transition was still there. So was the rotten economic atmosphere. But like the phoenix that rises from the ashes, I recognized there were opportunities hidden within my reach.
To secure a balanced outlook, I limited my time spent with the naysayer. This provided the space needed to get back on track while maintaining our relationship. It was a soft reframe to assist with my pivot of renewed focus on my work. It was a juncture to meet new people within the company, learn alternate approaches, and embrace unique perspectives on our industry.
In a short period, by reframing the direction, my growth positioned me as a recruit for an executive role at our corporate level. When I look back and remember the overwhelming negativity, the silver lining of opportunity stands out: an affirmation of looking for and finding the good at a challenging time. It’s been my framework to navigate difficult situations ever since. The experience has emerged as an advantage, to look outside of my own paradigm and discover a new way, idea, or path to advance.
Break the Chains of Negativity
This story is about negativity, naysayers, and the very real trap that can seize you. The secret sauce is to recognize that you do have a choice. It can be brutally hard to choose the path that breaks the chains of negativity and naysayers, but you must leverage the experience to your advantage to move forward. This is how I learned, formulated, applied, and lived the pause, frame, and affirm technique.
Lynn Whitbeck is the co-founder and President of Petite2Queen. She is focused on identifying and evaluating opportunities for women at work, helping them define their personal roadmap. She dedicates herself to delivering tools and insights, embracing visualization of the big picture, and identifying and implementing the minutiae of detail. Lynn aims to share lessons learned along her journey and enable positive uplift for women.