It’s no surprise that highly driven CEOs complain of feeling stressed and stuck in a rut mentally due to their job. Yet as positivity scholar Barbara Fredrickson states, a growing body of research shows positivity has a knock-on effect that can help you flourish in all areas of life.

If that’s the case, why is it seemingly so difficult to turn the effects of mental stress upside down and have a positive mindset? You may be the one standing in your own way.

More often than not, the biggest barrier to success is ourselves. Our old mindset and stories or assumptions holding us back from future harmony in business, leadership and in life.

Years of feeling you need to prove, strive, perform and deliver — of coming into work first and leaving last, of having long meetings to show your value, of wining and dining as it’s the way it’s always been done. Of coming home late and being too tired to spend quality time with your family  ‘because you need to work this hard to provide a future’. Of not asking for help or bringing in a new style of leadership, because ‘it won’t work, we’ve tried before’.

If you’re fed up with negotiating with yourself more than others, chances are old stories are holding you back from operating with clarity and conviction. Here are my 3 vital steps for CEOs to go from chaos to calm and get your mindset mojo back:

  1. Facts and Stats: Think like a CEO in all areas of life;

What is really the issue? Do you have the information you need to make an informed decision? Is what you are thinking REALLY true? In the words of Byron Katie, do the work. Keep stripping back the stressful situation to the bare basics of facts and stats. Take out the emotional stories, be sincere but be clear.

  1. Plan Like A Visionary; stop getting caught up in the small stuff and think big.

What is the real roadblock or is it an opportunity? Where is the room for growth — emotional, personal and financial — for you and the business? What’s the market saying and how can you listen without fear of failure?

Allow creativity and vision back into your thinking even in smaller strategic areas just to test the waters. You may be surprised by the results.

  1. Act Like a Buddha.

There really is nothing that requires an immediate answer within a nanosecond, unless you are about to push eject in a fighter jet or jump out of a burning building. Which for some is the feeling you have in a high-pressure board meeting.

Great leaders act with grace, humility and intelligence even in the most challenging of situations.

Create a clear moment each day where you write out what’s on your roadblock list then apply actions and tasks that are practical and stick to the facts and stats. Don’t bury that piece of paper but keep it front and centre so you can work through it and cross elements off your list.

Even 60 seconds is all it takes to re-set your sails and be present. Exhale. Pause for a moment. Draw on your years of experience, knowledge and depth. Remember that it’s not our beliefs but our behaviours that shape outcome and ultimate vitality in business and in life