If anyone has made the trip to the United States Military Academy at West Point you are aware that you take exit 17 at Newburgh off the NYS Thruway. As I was passing the exit this past week en route to Allentown, PA to seminar to a group of executives, I reflected on the phrase we commonly used at West Point during this time of year, “Gloom Period”. Gray buildings, gray skies, gray uniforms, gray skin complexions, and gray weather all contributed to a feeling of depression and a yearning for sunshine. As we all presently confront this period of “blah”, we may succumb to the gloom, and in some cases the self-doubt that may creep up and blanket our normal cheery outlook on life. I myself find it difficult at times not to fall into this precipice of reflecting on my life’s journey in an other than healthy and optimistic appraisal.
By its nature “gloom period” fuels the senses to be less positive and less energetic about the present and even the future. There are also times where we may feel trapped inside in our own little cocoon of wonderment, because the dreary weather makes the outside appear uninhabitable. We may even find ourselves doubting our abilities in progressing and creating the life we want. When you doubt yourself is there a bigger issue to be addressed? We all experience self-doubt at times but when it raises it’s ugly head and begins to stifle your day to day enjoyment it is time to take action.
In this trying time of economic instability, political turmoil, and social anxiety, “gloom period” adds another excuse to justify being miserable. My recommendation, snap out of it! It is the weather not your life. It is the cold, snow and rain, not your potential for happiness and contentment. This is the time where the “rubber meets the road”, where individuals show their true personal confidence, attitude and outlook on life. It is where a refection of core values and what you stand for and believe in is extremely beneficial. In regard to business do you sit around and whine about the economy or take the “bull by the horns” and take the initiative to be more creative, innovative and ingenious? In regard to your personal life do you reflect on what should of, could of, and would have been or do you recognize yesterday is gone and you cannot use it as an excuse for not working towards being happy and fulfilled? Questioning where we were, where we are and where we want to be is healthy but only if the outcome of that reflection is recognition of learning from the past, acting on today and planning for the future.
Personally, I can sit and mope about business being slow, conferences being cancelled, companies not spending money on speakers or I can reevaluate and take the action necessary to reinvent the business and persevere through the downturn in the economy. It is harder to leave your comfort zone and attempt a new approach towards the future than it is to generate the excuse that outside forces are wrecking your life. Do you “couch potato” and paddle in a pool of self-pity or take the steps necessary to energize your mind, body and spirit? Do you blame or take accountability for the doubts you may have and take action to overcome those insecurities? Seven steps for overcoming gloom are, *call a friend and go out for a bite to eat, get out of the house *turn off the news and read or watch something uplifting *go find and hang around positive and energetic people now *volunteer and get involved in something that will help others and take your mind off of gloom *eat healthier, exercise a little more and celebrate the gloom, it’s temporary *project optimism by a smile, gesture or a kind word *reenergize the core values you believe in. Finally, while those living in Arizona will be sweltering this summer and having to stay inside because of the heat, we will be having a picnic, swimming in a lake, enjoying the Adirondacks and watching the Thoroughbreds race in the most beautiful place in the country. Smile, it could be worse.