The hidden keys to success are the basis of my work. I call them hidden because they are not well known, yet they have consistently led my clients to experience extraordinary results.
Here are some of my top hidden keys to success that can help reduce anxiety in dealing with the business and personal effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. They will help you to keep moving forward and not get caught up in emotions.
Hidden Key #1
Your situation doesn’t determine your result, your mindset or perception of the situation does.
One of my favourite quotes is from former New Zealand All Blacks coach, Steve Henson:
Worry is a wasted emotion.Steve Hansen
Worry doesn’t create anything constructive and takes up a lot of thought and energy. It becomes another problem to deal with on top of everything else.
During any crisis, there are three predominant mindsets:
1: ‘Doom and gloom’ mindset
Many view the pandemic and its aftermath as a negative experience, where everything gets worse. If your predominant perception is very negative, this will lead to hesitant, angry, shut down and introverted behaviours. These are the states where we generate our worst possible results.
This doom and gloom mindset reflects what we see on the news and social media. ‘The News’ is often not about imparting newsworthy information; it’s about inciting emotion through storytelling. That’s why journalists call them ‘stories’. Nothing gets more eyeballs than a story that generates fear. These stories hook us in and keep us coming back for more. It’s become almost impossible now to separate real news from clickbait.
If watching, listening or reading the news or engaging in social media makes you feel anxious, there is an easy solution. Stop consuming it!
2: ‘I don’t know’ mindset
The ‘I don’t know’ mindset is an open mindset that doesn’t draw conclusions.
Looking back on previous times of crisis, despite the worry and negative scenarios that occupied our mind, somehow we made it through – often for the better.
If you find yourself in a negative mindset say to yourself, “I don’t really know what’s going to happen. Let me look at all possibilities and plan for each eventuation.”
The main difference between ‘I don’t know’ and ‘doom and gloom’ thinking is that the latter is 100% emotional. The former takes into account the number of outcomes, and that we can do well if we plan for each of them.
3: A ‘big picture’ opportunity mindset
This is the most powerful mindset. It uses higher levels of the brain than the fight or flight responses utilised when we are living in fear.
At these higher more creative levels of the brain, we start asking and living in different questions: “How can I make the most of this situation?” How we perceive a situation determines how we will take action. And that determines the outcomes that we experience. Every challenge or difficult time also has hidden opportunities.
This opportunity mindset is creative and practical. It leads to better results in challenging circumstances.
Hidden Key #2
Live in questions, not your imagination
- How can I win or make the most out of this opportunity?
- Can I know what will happen? The answer is always ‘No, no one can!’.
- What hidden opportunities are there here for me?
There are always opportunities in any situation, but few people choose to look for them. If we train our minds to seek opportunities, we’ll be well placed to make use of them.
Hidden Key #3
Extreme times cause more of everything
One extreme mindset is worry and fear. Many people live here, with predictable outcomes. The other extreme is the mindset which looks for positive opportunities.
I have been working with clients on developing a positive mindset. When others are imploding from worry and fear, my clients have insights that lead to new levels of growth.
Polarising times create opportunities. An example of this is financial. When concerned with the loss of businesses and jobs, negative economic outcomes may be unavoidable. Yet markets that go down always come up. Closed doors force us onto other paths that lead to new opportunities. Look at your own life. I am sure you will see proof of this many times. For example, you may have missed out on a job you wanted, but this led you to take up an opportunity that you may not have otherwise considered.
Hidden Key #4
Be proactive, not reactive. Expansive, not contracted
If we dissolve the fear and anxiety we are experiencing and focus on what we can do, we move from reactive to proactive.
When any crisis or time of uncertainty ends, then we will be ready to make use of all those opportunities. We will have thought them through and planned them out. Made moves and changes and put structures in place. And become more agile and resilient than most others.
Conversely, if we are reactive to an imagined future of doom and gloom, we are wasting energy and opportunity.
Those who do best out of change or challenging times have a big opportunity mindset. Despite the inevitable losses that come from unpredictable events, new ways of living and doing business will result, along with many new opportunities.
Hidden Key #5
Be a Contrarian
A contrarian is someone who does what everyone else isn’t. While the masses are anxious and worried, contrarians are thinking and asking questions about how they can make the most out of life.
Contrarian investors are some of the wealthiest people. When other investors are panic selling, they are buying, making the most of lower market prices. And when others are buying, they are selling and reaping the benefits of higher prices from higher demand. They see opportunity when others see doom and gloom. They see caution where others are reacting without reason.
Contrarianism isn’t just for investing. You can be a contrarian in your business by being expansive in your thinking and not giving in to worry.
Contrarians live in questions like:
- What do people need now and what can I offer them?
- What’s it going to be like moving forward and how can I adapt?
- Where are the opportunities?
Keep asking the questions until the answers come. And come, they will.
Hidden Key #6
There are two worlds of money: one of expenditure and the other of saving and investing with increasing value. I cover this in more detail in this post on how to set yourself up for a lifetime of financial wellbeing.
If you regularly put money into opportunities that increase in value, you will have another source of safety and income growth. We Covid-19 enforced restrictions have resulted in people have not been able to work, the importance and success of this strategy have been made crystal clear.
If you’re still earning now – or as soon as you do – put a portion of your earnings aside. Accruing a nest egg helps to ease stress in challenging times and set you up for financial freedom. It leaves the way clear for proactive expansive thinking while others are panicking and acting out of desperation.
These six hidden keys will help you to navigate the uncertain waters we find ourselves in at different times in our lives.