This month we are thinking… about thinking.
If you were to examine your thought process, how would you describe it? Do you consciously manage what you think and how, choosing a more thoughtful and aware approach to life or does “it” just happen?
How do you think?
Do you ever ask yourself: Is this thought serving me? How does it impact my mood? Is it even true?
Or do your thoughts just flow and you’re at mercy of the mood and attitude they generate within you?
Our thoughts create emotional responses, as a result of which we take action. Did you know that? It’s never the other way round. The thought is first, always and therefore they always shape our reality. So again, how do you think? Are you standing for high definition awareness or do you unconsciously become a victim of your mind?
I was working with a client recently who was, quite passionately, describing his reality. He was describing reasons why he couldn’t get what he wanted out of life for the past number of years. He came to get coaching so he came for change, yet there were so many reasons why he couldn’t make that change happen. In his words “It’s impossible, because…” and then there was a long list of reasons.
Of course knowing that my client is resourceful and whole, I listened to and respected his information but at no point did I share his views. I knew there was more to this and there was so much more potential in this person in front of me. The thoughts he was holding on to, were not serving him and were getting in the way of progress.
So let me ask you: “By holding on to these thoughts and views, what are you allowing yourself to get away with?” – he looked at me surprised – I’ll rephrase “What do you not have to do, when you think these thoughts and believe that they are true?”
– Hmm… I don’t have to do anything – he said – I don’t have to challenge myself, I don’t have to try harder, why would I? They take my motivation away. I don’t have to take any action, I can just sit here and feel sorry for myself.
– What do you miss out on, holding on to these views?
– Oh, I miss out on so much… the opportunities at work I was telling you about, the trip I was planning with my pals, I miss out on… life – he looked shocked – Are you saying that my thoughts are not true?
– I’m not saying drop them all, the question is are they serving you well and encourage you to take action?
– Can you clearly see reasons why the more empowering mind-set would be worth exploring?
– I sure do! Let’s do that…
And we did. All I invited my client to do was to ask himself “What if…”
What if this thought simply has no evidence in reality? What if, in fact, there is evidence to the contrary? What if my mind-set could create more opportunities for change? What if, I used my time more effectively being focused on what works rather than what doesn’t? What would be the benefits of that?
In coaching we simply call it reframing. We don’t change reality and we don’t say that the glass is always full. All we do is plant a seed of a new empowering belief – what if my thinking could be serving me better? What if my thoughts could make me feel more encouraged, motivated, brave? What would they sound like?
Instead of being stagnant and defending the negative, fixed mind-set that was holding him back, my client challenged himself to examine how he was operating every day. It turned out he woke up every day with this vision of doom and gloom and remained passive in life because of that. It had it’s benefits. It enabled him to stay where he was, safe, always in control and hidden but also unhappy, disappointed and worried about his future.
Yes, a more empowering, positive and optimistic views mean challenge, but they also mean fulfilled dreams, positive outcomes, success, joy and personal achievements. They mean conscious, deliberate living and life created, shaped and lived on purpose.
Who would swap that for an illusion of safety?
So, what do you miss out on, holding on to your views?
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