These days when I turn on the television or listen to the local news radio, more often than ever I am inundated with the constant reminder that the economic crisis has yet to cease. Recession has become the normal conversational topic from media sources. When business is slow, the recession is to blame. More foreclosures with more people being displaced from their homes have become the norm. Unemployment rates are higher than ever, and it is leaving people with the uncertainty of their future. So you may ask yourself, “how can we remain positive during these tough times?” Being positive is easy to say, but it is actually difficult for most to implement.

I will share with you 3 important techniques to being positive. Wherever you are currently in your search for greener pastures, I invite you to consider these approaches now while reading this article.

Rule #1: Redirect your thoughts from wanting to believing

When dealing with the negative events that occur in our lives, it is easy to think that life could go differently. If you can change your thoughts and focus on what you really want, then you will get just that. However, if you think about what you don’t have, you will get that as well. More importantly, simply being positive is not enough. It is similar to waiting to win the lottery. You never know if you will get the jackpot. First take a moment and begin looking at what you really want. Make a list of all the things you want. If it is a job, then write that down. If it is more money, then write that down also. However, be very specific on how much money you want. Then cross out the word ‘want’ and replace it with ‘have’on each item on your list. Finally, take the completed list and read it to yourself daily. Each morning before you start your day, repeat this process until your thoughts begin to focus on believing that you can have what is on the list. The goal is for you to reprogram where you want to focus your energy. The #1 reason people do not get what they want, is simply because they are focusing their energy in the wrong areas.

Rule #2: Trusting the negative events as gifts

Negative events can be devastating depending upon our personal experiences, and they can sometimes lead a person to conclude that it was not meant to happen. When looking at a failure, a person may make it mean something about them. Or, they may feel that the external factors were to blame for how it turned out. No matter what the event there is something good to be considered. You may be reading this and think this is somewhat absurd. You may be asking yourself, “How can I think there is something good that comes from a negative event? What’s the lesson there?”

Circumstances can be both positive and negative. Moreover, both positive and negative events can occur no matter what a person does to intervene. Some events will happen as they are meant to occur. A negative circumstance is a good thing if a person wants to determine what caused the problem and find a way to correct the situation so that it does not repeat. However, there are some events where it is out of a person’s control and no matter how much they are willing, there is no means for correction. Instead of viewing a negative event as a problem that requires correction or fixing, there is another way to view the situation, which is to consider that a negative circumstance can actually be a gift. For example, what if you were laid off from a job of 10 years and yet, you found the work was not fulfilling? What if being laid off was a signal to redirect your focus onto something else? What are you are passionate about? What if you had always wanted to do something else, such as owning your own business, and this negative event occurred as an opportunity to go back to that long lost dream? I invite you to begin trusting the circumstances and events in your life as if it was a gift for something greater. Begin by looking for the positive in every situation because no matter what the circumstances, there is always something good that can come from them. Consider the possibility that no matter what the event, they happen exactly as they are meant to and begin to trust negative events as gifts.

Rule #3: Be the driver of your car

Usually my first question to a prospective client is, ‘Are you the driver of your own car, or do you feel that you may be a passenger?’ In other words, I am asking whether you are feeling that you are in charge or in control of your life path. Life is made up of circumstances, and you are not always in control of the circumstances. However, what you are in control of is how you respond to those circumstances. You can make decisions based on outside circumstances, and you can respond to them in such a way that allows you to be in charge of what events will follow. So begin to ask if you are the driver or the passenger, and determine how it relates to your feeling of being in control of where your life is heading. If you find that you are simply a passenger going for a ride and you don’t know where you will end, what are some ways that you can begin by grabbing hold of the wheel? If, for example, you are waiting for a loved one or a spouse to change their bad habits in order for you to change your habits, then I invite you to stop and think about what this does to your desire to change your own habits. What would happen if you were to change your habits first without an expectation from the other person? Then begin to think larger. Begin to think about how the world has ‘done’ you. If the economy is to blame for your unemployment and you are expecting it to change, take a look at what you can do to create the change you are seeking. How does this relate to keeping with your belief that you are never going to find a job? This is an opportunity to become the catapult for change rather than waiting for another circumstance to happen. If you were in the driver seat and you had control of the wheel, where would your life go? It would go in the positive direction, right? Could it be that you will ultimately attain happiness and joy?

Quite often in my work I am confronted with people unemployed and searching desperately for answers. In fact, more than ever, this has become the optimum time when individuals are reaching out for the support of a coach. Coaching can provide access to those once unattainable areas. For example, a job seeker looking for additional skills can lean on a coach to find their niche or personal branding. They also seek coaching to have a greater edge in this very competitive economic market. It is an opportunity to fine tune their search methods in the research stage, or to brush up their interview skills so they can perform better and ultimately land the job. For a business owner that is receiving much less income than previous years, they seek coaching support to reassess their business model. Having a coach to reflect ideas and brainstorming are two very valuable components in a coaching relationship. It is an excellent return on investment to find better ways to generate sales and profit.

I wholeheartedly believe that following these 3 techniques to being positive will allow for new possibilities. I challenge you to use this time to take a look at where you are focusing your energy. The more you focus your energy and thoughts on how things are scarce, then the more scarcity you will receive. Our mind dictates what we choose, and if we choose wisely we can begin to create the life we are meant to have. You can choose right in this moment to create a new story that brings you into a new chapter in this storybook called life.