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Our negative bias is making business harder, here’s how to change it

black and white photo of person looking out window reflectively

I had a client, who within a week of working with me went from “I don’t know how I am going to go on, I can’t even pay all the bills” to being fully booked for the following 3 months. Pretty awesome turnaround in a week!

But here’s where it gets interesting.

After she told me about what had happened in the week since our first coaching session, and I started celebrating, she stopped me and added with fear in her voice…

“But what is going to happen in 3 months? I’m going to be right back where I was last week, struggling and hardy surviving.”

You may be quite surprised by her response, considering the dramatic positive shift in just one week.

I wasn’t.

I witness it on a regular basis. It is incredibly easy for us humans to point out all that is going wrong, or what could go wrong in the future.

Have you ever had a win (big or small) and instead of really enjoying the moment and celebrating, your focus went on to another bad thing or what could go wrong?

We’ve all done it. We tend to do it all the time and not realise what we are doing.

It’s called our Negative Bias.

What is our Negative Bias?

It is our tendency to focus on the bad stuff (no matter how small or unlikely it is to happen) and give the negative greater weight than it really should. We also tend to not see or acknowledge all the good stuff going on around us.

Brain with a magnifying glass, focusing just on the 1 bad thing and ignoring the pile of good behind it, to represent our negative biasThink about a small bit of criticism you have received and how you fixated on it for weeks, versus a lovely compliment that you dismissed within seconds. This is our negative bias at play.

We can really get fixated on the negative stuff and ignore all the things around us that are going great, that are in our favour, and are helping us win.

So I just need to think positive instead?

Absolutely not! Bad stuff happens and only “thinking positive” can cause more harm than good.

I was wrapped up in thinking positively when we ended up with $250,000 of bad debt. Thinking positive sure didn’t help me become wealthy like I intended! It led me to making bad, risky choices that were honestly just stupid. It meant I stuck my head in the ground about our financial position and meant we were going backwards for a lot longer than we needed to.

A better approach

It doesn’t have to be an either, or approach. We can look at and approach situations in our business and life with more of a holistic approach.

Yes, there are things that are not working or big challenges going on to navigate.

Yes, is a real possibility that our doom future we worry about at night will come into fruition.

Also, there are plenty of things that are going well for us. A shelter to live in, food to eat, an internet connection to use, a body that can move…

All these things can be happening simultaneously.

Our futures are not created yet, so just as the bad doom and gloom scenarios can play out, so can our most amazing wild dreams. Life could be so grand and better than we could ever imagine. Or it could be anywhere along that spectrum between the two extremes.

A holistic approach to shifting our negative bias

What if we embrace the whole, instead of always focusing on negative?

This provides a more accurate picture of the situation.

With the client I mentioned at the beginning, we talked through her doomed future outlook. We acknowledged that it was a possibility and faced it head on. We made a plan to avoid it, and she took action on that plan so that the doomed future didn’t happen.

We also acknowledged and celebrated all the good. We shone a light on the progress she had made and set positive intentions so that a brighter future was created for her and her business.

Taking this holistic approach also helps to build resilience and strength as we navigate the often challenging parts of growing a business. If we can see the whole picture of the good and bad, then we can come at it from a more empowered and resilient state when curve balls come our way.

Brain looking at the pile of situations with a holistic approachThat same client emailed me a year later sharing how dramatically her life and business had changed from the coaching we did together. She was so grateful for the inner game shift and business strategies that made such a difference.

It’s always great to hear about the lasting, long-term results this work creates.

Often we are too close to see where our negative bias and other Inner Game aspects are tripping us up or slowing our progress. This is where having a coach for ongoing coaching can really help accelerate the success and growth of a business.

If you are interested in ongoing business coaching, then check out my Kaizen Inner Circle program here.

Whether you decide it is time to bring me onto your business team or not, I encourage you to take a more holistic view as you navigate through the business journey and see how that shifts the results that show up.

Here’s to your meaningful success.


Kim Baird

Author Kim Baird

Kim Baird is an inspirational speaker, award winning author, transformational coach and entrepreneur. Kim has helped thousands of people to transform their lives and their businesses for the better. She has a passion for living life full out by her own rules and absolutely loves helping others to do the same. Kim specialises in transforming people’s ‘Inner Game’ to get them unstuck, expanding and creating more than they thought possible.

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