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Positive thinking can sometimes be a negative

A lot has been said about setting up a framework to help visualise aspirations, but those who follow this advice risk their income and business because they lack the necessary inner resources, according to Sarah Alexander, the founder and head coach at business training and consultancy firm Coaching Magnificence.

She said the belief that goals can be achieved through the sheer power of intention can trigger intense feelings of shame at disappointing outcomes and erode confidence.

Another sentiment that is not particularly helpful to business chiefs is that of taking considerable action, making life happen and becoming a ‘yes’ person, she added.

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She said: “In fact, the pressure continuously to take massive action and keep saying ‘yes’ is known to leave people depleted and overwhelmed. A balance in their lives may be lost, time for themselves and their families sacrificed, and their sense of self-worth eroded.

“If we really value our time, energy, relationships and health, ‘no’ is a word we must embrace. We all have the ability to discriminate between situations when we should work really hard and when we should refuse. It’s this capacity for discrimination that brings rewards.”

The idea of giving focus to things an individual wants to do and ignoring areas that person wishes to avoid is also unhelpful for business bosses, she said.

And although there were positive points of seeing beyond a problem, ignoring the problem outright could prove detrimental to a business.

According to Ms Alexander, the idea that individuals create their own problems as a result of their wrong thinking – while often empowering and sometimes true - can result in guilt if this message is crudely delivered.

Finally, on practising mindfulness and focusing on the present moment, she said: “There is no shortcut to mindfulness: it takes time, effort, awareness, and perseverance.

“If we are able to turn inwards and practise mental quietude, our intuitive wisdom, inspiration and creativity naturally arise to guide us. It is by strengthening our ability to tune into our own inner wisdom, intuition, gut feelings, call it what you will, that we stand the greatest chance of finding long-term happiness, developing emotional stability and creating a sense of personal fulfilment.”

Adviser view

David Finan (pictured), director and chartered financial planner at Jardine Finan, based in Cumbria, said of getting one’s attitude right: “I think of lot of it is common sense.

“Life throws a lot of challenges. In business, there are things that must be done. Often the things you have to do are not enjoyable, but if they are not done, there will not be a business. Financial advisers do not necessarily enjoy complying with regulations, but if we do not do it we will not be in business.”