Several years ago, in the midst of parenting three active children and managing the crowded family calendar, I read a parenting blog that absolutely changed my entire mindset. The blog said to change your outlook, change “I have to” to “I get to.” For example, instead of saying “I have to take kid #1 to soccer practice” change it to “I get to take kid #1 to soccer practice and watch him do what he loves to do to improve his game.” Instead of saying, “I have to make cupcakes for kid #3’s class party”, say “I get to make cupcakes for kid #3 to bring into class to share with her classmates.”
WOW! Mind Blown!
Changing this one little word, “have” to “get,” changed my whole outlook. When I am feeling overwhelmed looking at the family calendar and getting a bit frazzled trying to figure out how I am going to manage all the running around, I try to make a conscious effort to change that word. Afterwards, everything just seems to fall into place. What once were chores, now are privileges. As my frame of mind changed, I felt lucky that I can do all those things for my kids.
Funny thing is, using this method also worked for household chores. For example, a positive reframe turned a feeling like I “had to” clean the house into the realization that I “get to” take an hour listen to a podcast while I mop the floors. And “having to go to the grocery store” changed to “getting an hour All-By–Myself, when I go to the grocery store.”
In these moments, a positive attitude can make all the difference. Research shows there are benefits to being optimistic, from better physical and mental health to longer more satisfying relationships. A small change in terminology can change your entire perspective and what you can accomplish.
WORDS HAVE POWER.
I wondered, this terminology shift worked so well in my personal life, what would it do to my professional life? So, I figured I would start practicing this at work. And I do mean practice. It’s easy to revert to old habits and list “to do” items as chores. It takes practice to retrain your brain, as an old coach said to me, “practice makes permanent.” I needed to practice reframing my tasks, “I have to pull this report” to “I get to review this report with our client so they can make better decisions and grow their business.” Training co-workers on a new topic or software isn’t a chore anymore, it’s an opportunity to strengthen our business. Having to write another blog becomes a chance to step out of my comfort zone and challenge myself.
Maybe this self-talk sounds a little corny. “Like anything else, [having a positive mindset] is essentially a skill,” said psychologist Dr. Tim Sharp, a leader in the field of positive psychology and the founder and chief happiness officer of The Happiness Institute. He says, “And, like any skill, the more you practice, the better you get. So, make an effort to practice [being positive] as often as you can.”
I’m not saying we all have to be like Ted Lasso with endless positivity. Some days it will be hard. But if you practice looking for the positives and reframe you mind, it will become habit and you will be happier because of it.
We can choose our attitude and our actions. We can choose how we view our life and work. We can choose privileges over chores. It’s not about what we have to do. It’s about what we get to do.
What do you GET to do today?