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A simple trick to get over the back-to-work blues

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Are you finding it hard to get yourself in gear after a cosy holiday season? Perhaps you’re feeling a little overwhelmed with your goals. Don't worry, help is at hand, I’ll share with you a simple trick that will help lift your spirits.

In our culture we tend to dwell on our failures more than our successes, and doing so massively impacts our self-esteem. Research shows the more you acknowledge your past successes, the more confident you become.

Elite athletes

Olympic athletes use a method of recalling small wins to boost confidence. Here’s an excerpt from a Time magazine article:

“Techniques used by USA Swimming to get its athletes ready to compete in the Olympic games. One of the common threads in this training was to focus on a series of “small wins” in training rather than on the larger goal of winning a medal. As a result, they got the satisfaction of “very definable, minor achievements,” which in turn gave them the confidence to attempt more small wins each and every day."

Another example of recounting small wins comes from the gripping tale of mountaineer Joe Simpson. In his book, Touching the Void, where he’s about to give up, hours away from death, simply recounting what he’d achieved in the last two hours gave him strength and inspiration to survive.

Your victories

I encourage you to write a Victory Inventory of 25 successes you achieved in your business and life in 2015.

Why in business AND life?

When you’re happy, you’re more productive and successful, as positive psychologist and neuroscientist Shawn Achor unequivocally proves in his book Happiness Advantage,

“Happiness and optimism fuels performance and achievement […] our brains are literally hardwired to perform at their best, not when they are negative or neutral, but when they are positive”.

Why write 25?

Pretty sure you will quite easily recount ten or eleven victories. After that it might get difficult, forcing you to look at smaller wins, like:

• Halved social media consumption

• Consistently drank two litres of water a day

• Developed flourishing relationships with twenty new prospects

These smaller wins might seem insignificant in comparison to winning a major new client or publishing your first book, but they must be acknowledged. You take the small wins for granted but they all count on your life’s journey.

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Power is in the pen

You might be tempted to open a new word doc or a new Note on your Mac. There’s something about using your hand to write it out that engages your brain in a powerful way.

Get a pen or pencil and get your notebook or journal and write your list of 25 victories from 2015. After writing your list, keep it somewhere you can view daily.


When you’re challenged or stressed, your brain has the tendency to focus on the negative, going into fight or flight mode, feeding the fear that you will fail. Whenever you’re about to do a challenging or scary task, look at the list. Your Victory Inventory keeps you focussed on your successes, instead.

Imagine for a moment a hot air balloon in flight - to lift the balloon higher you simply release little bursts of gas, and it rises. Your Victory Inventory are like those tiny bursts of gas that will help you rise.

Here’s to your sweet victories of 2015, and to soaring higher in 2016.

Anis Qizilbash, London-based founder of Mindful Sales Training, author of upcoming book: Grow Your Sales, Do What You Love: mindful selling for entrepreneurs and freelancers.

Anis Qizilbash Anis Qizilbash, London-based founder of Mindful Sales Training, author of: Grow Your Sales, Do What You Love: mindful selling for entrepreneurs and freelancers.

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