7 secrets to positive focus to get past the pandemic

Mentor Joe Costello on putting the knock-backs and difficulties of Covid into context and having the right mindset for business transformation and success.

Covid career shock is a very real thing. People were humming along nicely and were then hit with a huge reset. It is difficult to stay motivated and focused when your career has been interrupted and your life altered in so many ways.

Joseph Costello, a business coach and personal mentor from Dublin has advice and perspective for troubling times.

“It takes a determined effort to quiet anxiety and build a more positive and focused mind”

These are his seven secrets to positive focus which, he says, leverage the power of the mind to help tackle challenge and achieve our potential.

Staying positive and succeeding

Motivation doesn’t just happen. You have to make a conscious, active effort to get and stay motivated, and then to transform that motivation into tangible results. No one can do it for you.

Maintaining enthusiasm, excitement and commitment can be difficult at the best of times, never mind during a pandemic. So, never be afraid to try a different approach.

These simple yet highly effective tools will help you to not just stay motivated, but actually increase your motivation after the initial burst of commitment.

1. Carry a goal card

Whatever the goal, personal or career-focused, a simple life-changing exercise is to get a goal card.

Grab a piece of paper or make a list on the phone. Write the goal, why you want it, maybe how you achieve it, and how you will feel at that point. Half a dozen clear prompts should capture the goal. 

Link a quote or phrase to it, or even a photo that represents your potential, or inspires you.   Look at it as often as you can. Do not underestimate the power of this seemingly simple motivation tool.

2. Get a support system

Talk to like-minded people who ‘get you’ or understand what you are trying to achieve. Many people are having a hard time, so support can be reciprocal.  The very act of talking through a problem or sharing an idea with someone else clarifies the focus for you.  

Reach beyond immediate family you’re probably already spending too much time with!

Schedule a set day and time to connect with your ‘supporter’, discuss your ideas and challenges, share your wins and breakthroughs, and remind each other of your goals and potential.

3. Positive messages

Just when you’re filled with possibility, the world has a habit of flooding in with bad news and discouragement.  Then, instead of optimism about what you can achieve, you simply feel you can’t!

Stock up on additional positive armour alongside your supporters and your goal focus.  

Get a regular motivational newsletter in your inbox, or a phone app with an inspiring quote a day.  Buy a book by someone you admire or re-read a motivational classic.  Look for online seminars or give one-to-one mentoring a try.

Make a concerted daily effort to keep your thoughts, conversations and your life all about positive messages and ideas, self-care, exercise and activity.  Don’t leave room for anything negative.

4. Mental adjustment

It takes a determined effort to quiet anxiety and build a more positive and focused mind.

The subconscious mind can’t differentiate between what is real and imagined. If you focus on things you don’t want, like getting sick, losing a job, or not earning enough money, the mind can make it real.

Start to think, not react. Actively reject what you don’t want, and do not emotionally engage with talk of bad news and hard times. Turn your attention to your self-image and to personal development.

Ask yourself ‘what do I really, really want?’ and think from the perspective of your potential and not from your limited self.

List clearly-defined goals and steps to achieve them. Then you can rise above current circumstances and bad news, and you have a goal and purpose that makes you jump out of bed each morning.

5. Work the subconscious mind

As it can work against you, your subconscious can also be your best ally. So hit the reset button.

Stop thinking the same old thoughts. Originate new ones, and, through self-talk, tell your mind anything you want to. Repetition is the easiest way to impress an idea in your mind, so get a positive affirmation to repeat every day, as frequently as you need.

Every time you look in the mirror, see the perfect person you are and the potential you have that cannot be held back, once you embrace it.

6. Habitual behaviour

We all have habits, good and bad.  Consciously examine your routine and habits and ditch bad ones. 

Ask why you’re doing it, how is it serving you, and decide to change it. Trying to change everything won’t work, so pick one thing at a time, starting with the simpler habits to change. Do it gradually so there’s less resistance to change.

Want an extra hour in the day? Set the alarm ten minutes earlier each day for a week, or every week for a month. Use the extra time to read or to plan, or for physical activity to boost positive mind-set.

Habits are just that! And bad ones can be changed by replacing them with a new habit.  Try it; do it with all sorts of habits, and the invaluable skill of resetting your mind is yours forever.

7. The silver lining

Look for the good and focus on it. But, nothing good came from Covid-19, NOTHING!

I suppose I got to enjoy a family dinner every night. We had a laugh with online fitness classes. I saw how amazingly supportive my partner is, when the chips are down. We examined our expenses and found sustainable ways to save money, without sacrificing anything. I converted garage space to a fantastic office, something I’ve meant to do for years.

Without the workplace distraction, I could more clearly see where we need to be, and how to get there. I eventually took that online course in using spreadsheets; how did I ever live without them?  We connected at a more real level with our customers, speaking regularly to them, listening and collaborating on solutions. 

Every business is working with the same constraints, so my competitors have no unassailable advantage.  I have time to think, plans in the making, and am ready to change the world ….

Taking control of your thoughts and focusing on the positive is crucial. Think about what you accomplished and the obstacles met and conquered.  Celebrate success and your potential to succeed. 

The view from the summit would not be half so wonderful were it not for the rocky road on the way.  It is important to remember that success is not just measured by the position we reach, but by the obstacles overcome while trying to succeed.

Bearded man in sports jacket.

Joseph Costello provides newsletters webinars, teambuilding, one-to-one mentoring and six month business coaching courses.