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10 ways to banish ‘what-ifs’ from your 2024 business plan

December 20, 2023 | Inman

For eXp’s Troy Palmquist, a positive mindset starts with getting rid of negativity and 'what-if' scenarios that play into your worst fears


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For eXp’s Troy Palmquist, a positive mindset starts with getting rid of negativity and “what-if” scenarios that play into your worst fears.

While real estate professionals and entrepreneurs talk a lot about positive thinking and mindset, the vulnerability that comes with building a business on your own can make it difficult to avoid contemplating worst-case scenarios, even when they’re unlikely to occur.I recently watched a video from Rob Dyrdek, titled “Why I don’t waste time on negative thought experiments.” Here it is for those of you who haven’t seen it yet:

A post shared by Rob Dyrdek (@robdyrdek)

When you work hard to get (and keep) your mindset right, it’s important to guard against negative thought patterns. They drain your energy and can stop you from making positive moves. After all, if everything’s doomed, why try?

The thing is, though, it’s easier said than done to keep those negative thoughts at bay. How can you guard your mental landscape and make it tougher for negative ideation to take hold?

Here are 10 strategies to consider. I won’t say they’ll keep every stray thought out of your mind, but they’ll train you to look on the bright side more often.

1. Practice gratitude

Whether you acknowledge your blessings to a higher power, keep a gratitude journal or simply take a moment to think about the good things in your life, an attitude of gratitude can work wonders on your mindset. Although it might be hard to do when times are tough, there’s always something to be thankful for.

2. Exercise mindfulness and meditation

When you’re stressed out, it’s hard to focus on solutions. Cultivating a practice of mindfulness and meditation can help make you less reactive and better able to evaluate situations with calm, context and perspective. By focusing on the present moment, you’ll have less opportunity to catastrophize and project your anxiety into the future.

3. Surround yourself with positivity

“Good vibes only” may be a little extreme, but the more you surround yourself with people and content that inspires and uplifts, the better you’ll feel. Cultivate a friend group, professional network, and media intake habit that’s all about leading from a place of power, purpose and positivity.

4. Limit negative influences

Similarly, minimize your exposure to fear-mongering, negative news and people who bring out the pessimist in you. Although it can feel good in the moment to commiserate with someone who’s feeling just as bad as you do, it reinforces your worst, most negative instincts and keeps you stuck in a rut.

5. Set incremental goals

If you’re only focused on the end result, it can be easy to become overwhelmed by setbacks during the process. Break down your big fat goals into smaller, more achievable goals.

Bonus? That also gives you the opportunity to celebrate small victories along the way, which will keep you more motivated and positive.

6. Positive affirmations

Although it may feel cheesy or even a little embarrassing, repeating positive affirmations to yourself throughout the day can helprewire your neural pathways and reinforce a positive mindset. Remind yourself that you’re worthy, deserving and capable, and see what it does to your confidence level.

7. Focus on solutions

In the face of a challenge, a solution-oriented approach is your friend. Dwelling on the problem — who caused it, or worse yet, how you can get even — will keep you stuck and make things worse. Forget blame and focus on figuring out where to go from here.

8. Learn from setbacks

A setback can be your best friend — if you’ll let it. It teaches you, makes you more resilient and provides important context on the next stage of your professional journey. Never mistake a setback for a failure. Learn to embrace it as an opportunity to learn and grow.

9. Take breaks and relax

If you’ve let yourself get run down and exhausted, it’s almost impossible to be at your best. Taking regular breaks to recharge, even when you don’t feel like you can “afford” to, helps to prevent burnout and gives you the energy you need to maintain a positive mindset.

10. Engage in activities you enjoy

You are more than your job. You are your relationships, your hobbies and the things that bring you joy. If it’s been a while since you spent time on non-work thoughts and activities, it can be easy to lose the thread in the face of a setback. Pursue work-life balance so that you can keep your eye on the big picture.

Troy Palmquist is the founder of DOORA Properties in Southern California and director of growth for eXp California. Follow him on Instagram or connect with him on LinkedIn.

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