Yesterday I left the house at 7am to drive to Norwich to meet with a client about a new project, the meeting was scheduled for 10am.  I had only been on the road for 40 minutes when the traffic came to a standstill, and there I sat watching my arrival time on the sat nav tick away.  I contacted the client to explain the situation and said I was still hopeful of a 10am arrival and apologised in advance in case I was late.

I don’t like being late and having them understand the situation took away some of the feelings of panic as I just sat.  I made a few more calls, turned up the volume of the music and had some water and a banana that I had packed in my bag and I noticed the sun rising.

The traffic began to move and I headed on my way.

The sun was getting higher in the sky and it was becoming difficult to see the road in front, I put my sunglasses on and started to drive a little slower with a bigger distance between me and the car in front.

An hour later, flashing blue police lights, police cars blocking the A47 and the road closed, diverting us through some villages.  Another standstill, another client update, still hopeful of a 10am arrival and looking forward to seeing them as soon as I could.  More traffic at a standstill, I knew I had done all I could.

As I drove through, slowly, the second village, an air ambulance was in the field and it took off a few seconds after I had seen it.  I was grateful now for the earlier delay, thankful that I was safe, and hopeful that I would still make my meeting on time, whilst sending positive thoughts to the person who had just been airlifted and to anyone else that had been involved.

The traffic in front of me continued ahead, I was being directed by my maps to take a right turn, my head wanted to follow the traffic, intuitively I followed my map, and a few moments later I was back on the A47, a clear road, and only a few metres away from the police cones on the other side of the closure.  I arrived at my meeting at 9:55, in one piece, had time to visit the ladies before the meeting started and felt calm, no panic.

The meeting was great, we got through a lot, I left full of ideas on how we could deliver the requirements and I left to head home.

The road was still closed, I followed my maps, avoided all of the traffic and continued on my way.  It started to rain heavily, it was difficult to see the road in front, but I slowed down, kept a safe distance and arrived home earlier than expected.  I took a couple of paracetemol to try and calm my headache. I got a few jobs done around the house before picking up three of the boys and heading out to dinner then collected my other half up from the station and having a lazy night in front of the TV before heading to bed.

It had been a good day.

Now let’s look at the same story from a different perspective.

Yesterday I left the house at 7am to drive to Norwich to meet with a client about a new project, the meeting was scheduled for 10am.  I’m not a morning person and it was a real struggle to leave at that time of the morning.

I had only been on the road for 40 minutes when the traffic came to a standstill, how typical is that, I hate being late and this always happens to me, and there I sat watching my arrival time on the sat nav tick away, great.  I’m going to be late.  I’ll wait a while and then contact the client if it doesn’t clear soon.

The sun started to rise, great, a blinding drive, if I ever get moving.  Watching the clock tick away, still not moving, brilliant, just what I need.

Finally, the traffic began to move and I headed on my way.

The sun was getting higher in the sky and it was becoming difficult to see the road in front, I put my sunglasses on and started to drive a little slower with a bigger distance between me and the car in front.  But still so many idiot drivers on the road, all too fast, and stupid!

An hour later, flashing blue police lights, police cars blocking the A47 and the road closed, diverting us through some villages.  Perfect, it’s just typical isn’t it.  Another standstill, I contacted the client to say I was probably going to be late and I would be there as soon as I could, looks like there has been an accident. I’ll get there hopefully at some point this morning.

As I drove through, slowly, the second village, an air ambulance was in the field and it took off a few seconds after I had seen it.  So the road was closed because of a crash, I bet someone had been driving too fast like the idiots earlier.

The traffic in front of me continued ahead, I was being directed by my maps to take a right turn, my head wanted to follow the traffic, intuitively I followed my map, and a few moments later I was back on the A47, a clear road, and only a few metres away from the police cones on the other side of the closure.  I arrived at my meeting at 9:55, in one piece, had time to visit the ladies before the meeting started and felt calm, no panic.

The meeting was great, we got through a lot, I left full of ideas on how we could deliver the requirements and I left to head home.

The road was still closed, I followed my maps, avoided all of the traffic and continued on my way.  It started to rain heavily, it was difficult to see the road in front, but I slowed down, kept a safe distance and arrived home earlier than expected, with a raging headache, I grabbed some pills and a drink of water.  I got a few jobs done around the house before picking up three of the boys and heading out to dinner then collected my other half up from the station and having a lazy night in front of the TV before heading to bed.

It had been a long and stressful day.

What changed?  Nothing but my mindset.  The stories were the same, the events were the same but my outlook and my mindset were different.  My reality was the first version of the story.  It may not have always been the case though however, I make a conscious effort to be grateful and practice gratitude daily, and this has helped me have a more positive outlook on my life and my work.

In business we are told to focus on the ‘pain’ when it comes to marketing and implementing change, but the reality is, this has a negative impact on our brain, it send us into fight or flight mode and we can start to resist the changes ahead of us.

In HR, most of what we do, whilst good, is clouded in the negative thinking of others.  We need policies and processed because one person did something they shouldn’t, we have to train the entire organisation because of our recent audit results.  And when we look at things from a negative perspective, we can get very different results.

Did I feel tired and with a headache at the end of yesterday?  Yes.  Did that become my focus?  No.

If we want people to buy into what we are doing, we need to look at the way in which we are telling the story.  We need to look for the good, find solutions when problems arise and do what we can to mitigate any risks.  Horror stories, not considering the feelings of others and ignoring all of the good stuff doesn’t work.  And if that’s what we want we only have to turn on the news or pick up a newspaper.

If we want buy and change, we need to focus on the positives, and the ‘what will our people get from this?’ type stories, instead of ‘they have to do this because the world is a big scary and horrible place’ stories.

Simple mindset shifts, changes in positive thinking and behaviours can make all the difference – so what’s your story?

And how can you make it something positive that people will want to read?

Share your views in the comments below, and, if you like what we’ve written and think someone else might be interested, share this post with them.

Kelly

Kelly Swingler is the Rule Breaker and Founder of Chrysalis Consulting, The People and Change Experts and was appointed as the UK’s Youngest HR Director.  Kelly is passionate about helping people find bespoke people solutions to suit the needs of their business and is driving our mission of inspiring and empowering 10,000 HR professionals in 2018. She is the author of Fostering a Mindset for Career SuccessAGILE HR and what’s your excuse for not Overcoming Stress and speaks at many events on the Future of Work.