Pivoting My Mindset

Chapter 3 of The Pivot Principle, Pivot Your Mindset, is about the aftermath of the car accident. Alyssa takes us through the extent of her injuries and her depression during her long road of recovery. After playing with the hospital’s therapy dogs one afternoon, the pure joy they gave her made her realize it was up to her to reclaim her life in her “new normal.” She and Freddie decided to surround themselves with positive thoughts, words and actions. She credits this approach with being able to walk again in 3 months instead of 8, regaining close to 100% use of her injured eye, and running long distances again after 18 months of recovery.

Alyssa and Freddie certainly aren’t the first to tout the power of positivity. The Mayo Clinic, psychologists and scientists have proven that positive thinking reduces stress, build skills and improves your health. It’s nice to say you want to be more positive, but how do you gain, and keep, a positive mindset? Alyssa and Freddie built a strategy:

  1. Only use positive words when speaking, especially to yourself. For example, instead of saying, “I can’t,” say, “Of course I can!”
  2. Create your dream environment. Build your personal space with podcasts, music, articles and clips that have positive, uplifting messages.
  3. Gratitude. Every day, acknowledge three things you are thankful for.
  4. Visualize your life as if you’ve already achieved your dreams and goals. What does it look like? Use your imagination. What will it take to achieve those goals? Write it out, step by step, and see yourself conquering each one.

Does this seem hokey to you? Make you uncomfortable? As Alyssa said in Chapter 1, to reach new heights, you have to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Pivoting your mindset isn’t easy. You don’t just decide to be a positive person and BAM! you’re positive. If you’re like me, you’re undoing a lot of deeply embedded mental habits.

As for their strategy, I’ll say right off the bat that only using positive words when speaking is the hardest, especially when talking to myself. But, I’ve been practicing it for a few months and it makes a difference. I used to apologize for anything and everything – I’m not the only one – and I do it much, much less since I started speaking to myself with kindness.

The biggest shift I made to create my dream environment was to stop working for a news organization. This was incredibly difficult because I loved it there – my team, the work, and the mission: To Inform the World. But, being in an environment of relentless Breaking News took its toll on me last year. I was joyless, disillusioned, depressed. I felt myself slipping away. Yet the positive talk started to work even then. I was worth leaving News. I was worth waiting for the right opportunity. It took several months but I found it.

I have a gratitude journal. I write in it most mornings. I list three things I’m thankful for. When I started it, one goal was to be a successful enough writer so I could quit my day job. But now, I don’t resent having to have a day job at all. I pivoted my mindset. My day job is the patron of my art. Writing is a pleasure, a hobby. I can write whatever I want, whenever I want. I don’t depend on writing for a living. I’m thankful for my day job because it gives me the freedom to explore who I am as a writer. If someday I actually sell something, it’s a bonus.

Willing to give it a try? Or are you still skeptical? Leave me a comment, or get in touch!

Pivoting from Excuses

Chapter 2 is incredibly personal.

Most DAYS fans know about Alyssa’s and Freddie’s car accident in October 2014. Freddie takes us through the accident and the aftermath, and Alyssa shares the mental and emotional steps she took to heal her whole self while in recovery.

I swear, these two. How they saved themselves and each other is truly awe inspiring. The car accident wasn’t their only tragedy, either. When they were down, life kicked them in the collective nuts a few more times. (I won’t get into detail here because seriously, you should listen to this chapter right now.) They faced all of it with the mutual decision to learn from the events and to not make excuses when life was sh*tty. They each could have crumbled under the weight of these incidents, but they showed up to life every day with a positive attitude. They pushed themselves and pulled each other along.

I now understand why these two millennials are wise beyond their years. I’m so grateful I found their audiobook. Who would have ever thought that indulging in a sudsy soap opera when I was so sad would lead to so much positive change in my life. I hope I can thank them someday.

At the end, they present questions to help you pivot from your most-used excuses. I was like, I don’t make excuses. I have real-life reasons why I don’t write or exercise, which you celebrities don’t understand! I don’t get up early to work out because I need to sleep. I have a demanding job. Sometimes I’m up too late the night before – it’s my only time to catch up on my binge shows, or I get sucked into social media. I could hit the gym after work, except I’m usually too tired, or we have plans. I don’t write in the mornings because that’s my time to work out. My brain is too fried at night to be creative.

Oh my god, do you see this? I’m not only full of excuses, they are LAME.

What do these excuses actually do for me? They must serve some purpose because I make them all the time.

I think excuses help me placate my ego. If I have an excuse for not trying, I’m not exactly failing because I plan to try. Excuses enable me to fantasize that I’ll succeed without putting in any of the work. I keep my hopes and dreams alive because of the illusion that I’m working on it.

Oh, man. I am my own worst enemy. I’ve got to break this self-sabotaging behavior.

“Don’t wait until tomorrow,” Freddie says. “Please don’t give us that excuse.”