It’s been a year, to say the least, and we have less than three more months left to go. This year has felt like one giant pivot after another. We had plans to make it great, and all those plans were scrambled. We dreamed of visiting home, but that trip did not happen in 2020 and probably for most 2021.
This year, we had to learn to adapt and live our best masked life. But it’s not the same as it was before. We may have had jobs at the beginning of the year and then lost them. Loved ones were alive at the beginning of the year and now they are gone as well.
Driven by plans for the future, we now feel lost. So much has changed in such a little time. When we look to our leaders for empathy and relief, they are just as lost as we are.
How do we not lose any more time and make 2021 not like #2020? Is there a point in setting goals when most of the goals for 2020 were not even attempted for this year? How do we plan when nothing is certain?
Well, we start with mindset. Over the summer, I had been volunteering for my alma mater and for a non-profit organization that assists immigrants who have moved to the US and had attained higher education to gain professional jobs in their fields here. You see I graduated from my undergrad in 2008. I went into the job field during the worst recession since the Great Depression.
That time rocked me, to say the least. I was miserable, and my self-esteem was at an all-time low. I felt like a failure and that I had let my family down. There was very little guidance on what I should do, and the older generations of my family really hadn’t experienced anything like that before.
As I have given my advice about finding a job as a new graduate during a terrible recession, I realized that the building blocks to finding a job remain at its basis, the same. It’s your mindset that matters the most.
Growth vs. Scarcity Mindset
When I was a girl, there was a saying, “the glass is half full or half empty.” In all honesty, I didn’t really understand that that meant then. It really took having to survive trials and tribulations and then figuring out how to have the life that I wanted to understand what that meant.
Right now, we have been rocked by scarcity. We as a global community our grieving the loss of our former lives the way that we knew them. And while taking the time to grieve is important getting stuck in that mindset that we will be there forever is dangerous.
If we focus too much on what we lost, we will never recognize what we have. And if we don’t recognize what we have, we are at risk of losing just that.
When I have tried to explain this to clients, the common response is, “I wish I could be more positive.” I am not asking you to look at solely the positive. I’m asking you to be realistic about where you are at.
Life is usually not black or white. We often live most of our lives in the gray. Yes, if you lose your job or are supporting someone who has lost their job, you do have to make financial adjustments so maybe that trip back home will have to be pushed off by at least 6 months. That is true.
But there is no time like now to evaluate what you really need in life. More than ever, people are evaluating their relationships and how they spend their time. Value those that fulfill you who are around you.
Changing Your Mindset Through Appreciation
In an interview, Hugh Jackman once responded to why he was so well-spoken about in Hollywood. He said that he was taught as a child by one of his parents that “everyone wants to be appreciated.” Think about that.
You feel like everyone is cold in this world and that the world has lost their empathy. Change it by modeling it yourself.
Tell someone how you appreciate them. Oftentimes, we are too busy during the day to tell someone how much we appreciate them in our lives. Now, that it is taking real intention to meet people in person or even online, tell those you care about how they make you feel. See how they change around you once you show them appreciation.
Gandhi once said, “be the change you wish to see in the world.” And now more than ever is the time to do this.
Have you ever worked at a job where you do so much and you so often feel that your efforts have been ignored? Have you ever imagined that you may be doing the same to someone else.
We oftentimes only focus on the things that we don’t have. We have trained since a very young age to solely focus on the problems and what we lack. Rarely, do we go back to look at the tools we already had in our arsenal to solve the problem. We merely think of what we don’t have which is the definition of scarcity mindset.
When we are in a scarcity mindset, we are in defense mode instead of offense mode. We are protecting ourselves from losing what we have. We are not planning for how we want to attain things in the future. That future will always be a dream for us if we remain in scarcity mode.
If you find yourself often times in that mode and don’t know how to get out of it, use this tool.
- Get a notebook
- Then write three things/people/experiences that you are grateful to have in your life
- Do this daily for a week
- Then reflect on how your attitude has changed
It seems so easy, right? But that’s because it is. Studies show that by keeping a gratefulness journal, it does change your mindset over time.
If you continue to have doubts about trying to use this tool, ask yourself, “what do I have to lose?”
If you’ve ever wondered, how a startup can thrive during a recession or why there are some people who can go through hell and back and still be nice people. It’s about your mindset.
There will always be another recession. There will be another epidemic looming on the horizon. You will have to face hardship again someday.
But there will also be good times when you feel light and like everything is right in the world.
Cherish these times and remember them because they will help you get through the next #year.
And By the Way!
My name is Tara. I am a therapist who provides online counseling services in the state of Illinois. This blog post is not therapy, and it should not be used as a substitute for therapy. If you would like to talk more, you can schedule a free 15-minute consultation. Click here!