From Stephen King to Maya Angelou, numerous cultural icons have been quoted on the concept of hoping for the best, but preparing for the worst. Many organizations certainly operate with that mindset, creating contingency plans galore for handling crisis situations. But if everything goes right, how well-equipped are you to accept good times? It takes a different mentality to handle the best case scenarios coming to life. Just ask my friend Jini Thornton, whose quest to find her biological parents exceeded her wildest dreams.
Adopted at birth by a fierce, loving single mother who passed away 17 years ago, Jini has created a great life for herself. She built a successful business management firm that represents major entertainers and thrived personally with a happy marriage, raising two now adult sons. Then last year, Jini’s curiosity about her birth family prompted an exploration of Ancestry.com. She steeled herself for disappointment and possible rejection. This past Good Friday, the website presented a DNA match with a man who ultimately proved to be an uncle by birth. Next came meeting her birth mother, who was forced to give Jini up for adoption as a pregnant teenager. Initially cautious in their interactions, Jini and her birth mother, who serves as an administrator at an Ivy League university, have maintained near daily contact since.
Connections were formed with dozens of friendly cousins and extended family members along the way. Just a few weeks ago, she met her 95-year-old maternal grandmother at a heartwarming, emotional family reunion. One of the most special moments was meeting her birth father at that same event. He had no idea Jini existed until she contacted him. A recovering addict who has been clean for over a decade, he has welcomed her with open arms. “I hear from my father almost daily and he calls me sunshine,” says Jini.
Sounds like the ideal ending to a Hallmark Channel movie, right? In many ways, it is. But welcoming the very best outcomes still takes a lot of energy. Here are three tips to help you make the most of good times:
1. Prepare for the best. All too often we approach situations with the inevitable veil of failure. You know, defeatist self-talk like “I’m going to ask for a raise but of course it won’t happen” or “submitted my application for the new job but they probably won’t call.” Instead, visualize yourself achieving the very best outcome…accepting a huge raise, nailing the important presentation, winning a big client and more. Then map out the steps associated with success. For example, getting a raise would involve how you plan to celebrate, allocate the extra income, share the good news with others and more.
2. Focus on self-care. Change – good times and bad – can be stressful and requires a certain amount of energy. That’s why it is so important to focus on taking great care of yourself. For starters, get enough sleep. Benefits include better handling of stress, mental acuity, increased creativity and more which support welcoming great outcomes into your life. Incorporate daily practices that keep you centered, happy and motivated. I’m inspired by my personal trainer, Jenna Minecci, who is fueling her mission to spread awareness about ACL Injury Prevention in female athletes though daily meditations and working on a book about her experiences with multiple surgeries. As for my happy place? Well, that’s achieved by early morning exercise sessions involving killer music before heading into the office.
3. Create healthy boundaries. If you’ve heard of the concept of Positive Intelligence, it is all about unlocking your potential by mastering your mind. Good stuff, right? Check out the complimentary inner saboteur assessment on the site. My top inner saboteur trait is the pleaser, which is known for trying to make everyone else happy at the expense of oneself. I said yes to just about everything, not wanting to miss out on fun opportunities or disappoint others. This Giving Tree-type behavior ultimately lead to a boatload of exhaustion and resentment. So now, I try to focus on just a few “extra-curricular” activities and do them well, rather than trying to be everything to everyone. Even when faced with numerous exciting possibilities, having those boundaries in place makes the ones I choose more enjoyable and meaningful.
How do you prepare for great outcomes? Have a story to share about hoping for the best and receiving something even better in return?