Catastrophizing Your Way to Success!

Success ambreen-hasan-346960The big opportunity has presented itself. You’ve been offered the dream promotion you’ve worked so hard for, and you nervously accept it. Or your company gets the opportunity to do the joint venture with the big name partner with which you’ve always wanted to be associated.

In a split second, it starts. What if I’ve bitten off more than I can chew? What if I’m not really ready? What if our company cultures clash? What if my team doesn’t live up to the other company’s expectations? What if I’m not just demoted then? What if I lose my job and everybody has heard about my failure. THEN what will I do? What if my company’s entire reputation is ruined, and we don’t just lose the opportunity to joint venture with them again, but we lose other clients? We could be ruined.

We can be our biggest block to the next level of success that we have prepared for and dreamed of achieving. We get in our own way by allowing a little natural nervousness to grow exponentially and create a world that doesn’t exist. If we stay there, we can bring that negative reality into being by spending our time in self-doubt, instead of spending our time focusing on what that allow us, or our companies and organizations, to outperform. Recasting nerves to the perspective of being a little excited and anticipating great things coming our way can be a powerful and necessary reframing.

Instead of the negative catastrophizing downward spiral, we can turn that on its head with one simple shift. What if I exceed their expectations, and this is the beginning of getting opportunities I can’t even imagine right now? Then, I could either get another promotion with this company, or maybe, that company I’ve always thought I’d love to work for will notice me and I’ll have options for my next career move.

What if the joint venture goes so well that they want to do even more work together and we grow to a much larger company than I ever imagined? What if other companies notice the success of our joint venture, and we have choices about who to partner with in the future and which jobs we want to take, instead of having to take everything that presents itself?

As a leader, we need to take notice of what messages we are sending ourselves, as our behaviors, conversations, and actions will emanate from them. Others will pick up on these cues both subtle and direct and act accordingly. If we want to build success, we must repeat the stories and intentions to ourselves that have us moving into the positive future we design along the way. It’s not just the words we tell our employees and customers, it’s what we tell ourselves.

This does not mean ignoring true barriers or challenges before us. It does mean focusing on that one issue and not projecting it to disastrous and unlikely consequences. What if we solved this problem, and in the process found a way to deliver superior customer service at a lower cost? Reframe your troubles to opportunities and catastrophize yourself positively beyond your wildest expectations.

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