I’m a massive advocate of journaling, and in recent years ‘this’ activity has had some positive press around it. For those who don’t really get ‘journaling’, it’s not necessarily keeping a diary of your day, although that info sometimes goes in. It’s more a process of writing down your current thoughts, feelings, emotions, ideas and self questioning your perceptions about yourself, actions, life and dreams.
What I want to hone in on in this post is the act of…Self Questioning.
Now I don’t care who you are, how successful you are, what you’ve achieved in life, we all suffer with negative thoughts and stories. These are often a series of negative thoughts we have flowing through our mind on a regular basis.
The problem MOST people have is they NEVER challenge their thoughts and stories. They just leave them to run wild in their mind and because of this often stay stuck in an area (or areas) of life. This is because they continue to listen and believe the thought and this controls the actions taken and ultimately the outcome they get.
Simple things like: “I’m stupid”, “I can’t do that”, “I should be more successful by now”, “I’m fat”, “Who will listen to me”, “I’m too old, I’m too young”, “I could never do that”, “I’m just not wired that way”, “I’ve always been the type of person who…”.
You get the idea.
I was doing my own journaling on Friday and the thought that came to my mind was…“I should have more clients by now”.
I became conscious of this thought and for a few minutes it controlled my focus. I started to think “Yeah I should have more clients now, why don’t I?” “What am I doing wrong, am I not good enough, am I not doing enough?”
These self petetuaing thoughts running through my mind, if these were left unchecked then I would start to either react to them and I believe them, OR they would over time erode my self confidence, which I know all too well from my childhood.
In the past thoughts like this have been left unchecked and I would get all stressed and anxious. I would start to feel fear and start to panic in my business. This has often led me to make mistakes in many ways from doing poor reactive marketing, taking on poor clients or just staying anxious and overwhelmed.
Think about the current story you have been telling yourself;
What is it?
What do you say to yourself, what are you believing about yourself?
With this thought or story, how is it affecting you?
Is it keeping you stuck in procrastination? keeping you stressed and anxious? Do you feel low on self belief and thus stay where you are? Does it make you reactive and fall into a victim mindset? Without knowing your negative story, I guarantee that it’s affecting you.
The key is to hear that story and then do something about it. This is where the POWER of self awareness comes in and self awareness is a learned skill that you continue to improve.
Due to the coaching, therapy and work I have put into myself over the years I had enough self awareness to CHALLENGE THE THOUGHT!
I said to myself: “F**K YOU”. I wrote it down, and then I simply went to work on it.
Now, here’s what some coaches do, they tell you to replace that negative thought with a positive one, an overriding affirmation.
All this does is starts to bog your mind down and overload it with thoughts, now your mind has more thoughts and in time goes between which one it should believe the most and too often this depends on the mood you are in. In all honesty it’s very difficult to replace one negative story with a positive one…WITHOUT challenging the negative thought to begin with. It’s the same as having weak housing foundations that are made out of rotting wood and instead of ripping them out and starting fresh, you just lay concrete over the top and hope that it will hold when you build your new 3 story house.
It won’t and our thoughts are the same.
I believe that in 2020 we will see a MAJOR trend where business leaders will focus on growing their mindset, become more self aware and learn to recognise and evolve their emotional intelligence as a prerequisite for success in the modern age of business.
Here’s why: Because the life we live, the success we have and how we see and rate ourselves, is ONLY a direct reflection on how we see the world, our OWN perspective, values and experiences, And for as long as we see it via our current perspective we WILL continue to experience the same results. In short, having the same mindset in 2020 will give you the same results or worse as it did in 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016 etc etc.
So if you want to unlock the potential within yourself and have that align to your business, then unlocking and cultivating your mindset is critical.
Read all the books you want, attend all the courses you desire, listen to all the podcasts that are out there, these are great…But they don’t help you do the most critical thing…Challenge your current module of thinking and this is where you can truly create a mindset that’s bullet proof for success. Because this is where we must do THE WORK and start cultivating our mind.
On Friday I sat down and asked myself if the thought I was having “I should have more clients by now“. Then I asked myself, “Is this true?” and I used my 3 step system (see below) to help me do this. This is also a system I use with my Performance Coaching Clients to help them overcome the stories that hold them back from being the best they can be.
Here’s a simple system that works, but only when you put the work into it.
1) What is the truth? Write the thought or story down and ask yourself is this even true?
Is there any evidence to suggest that it is? Is so, what evidence is there? If not then there is No truth in the story and you have created an expectation for yourself that doesn’t align with you, your goals or your why. The thought is just a thought and nothing more.
Then ask yourself, What is the actual truth?
In my case the truth was, I have the clients I have created because of the work I have put into creating them. If I want more clients then I need to either; keep doing what I’m doing, do more client attraction and also understand that doing thing consistently over time creates results. Remember time is time and the more time you put into something, the better the long term results. The quick fix, instant gratification model the world uses right now is total unfulfilling and mentally damaging BS.
2) Given the situation what do I want to create? So the situation is I would love more clients, so what can I do to create more clients? I write down solutions, options and ideas. Ask yourself the same question to your situation.
Create a list of possible solutions, NONE of which you have to do just yet, just be creative and think outside of your story and then pick one and DO IT. Ask yourself the question: Given the situation what do I want to create?
3) Create an agreement not an expectation. Move away from expectations and what you expect of yourself and others because you will always be left feeling unfulfilled or unsatisfied. Why?
Because people (or you) either don’t reach your expectations or they (or you do) and you expected that anyway…So either way you feel dissatisfied.
Instead create an agreement and accountability, something or someone to keep accountable to. This creates something you hold yourself to based upon the TRUTH of the situation and the outcomes you have set yourself. Accountability is often the missing piece for business leaders because they have NO one to keep them accountable to their growth, actions and decisions, who right now keeps you accountable to doing what you said you would do?
For me it’s a case of, I’m going to consistently do 3 things every month for 3 months to create 3 new clients. And I will be held accountable by X to do this.
For anyone who is reading this who wants to unlock their truest potential in 2020 and beyond, the key is to work past THAT story or thought you have running through your head. That one that’s keeping you where you are right now.
The reality is you can’t ignore it and hope it goes away. You can’t replace it with a positive affirmation and hope that it goes it just goes away…
BUT you can challenge it and realise that thoughts are just thoughts and they have NO power, control or hold over you…It’s you and I that put emotion and power into our thoughts. It’s us that allows them to control us. It’s like standing at the side of the road and each car passing is a thought, we can either let the cars drive by and pay them no attention, or we can latch into one specific type where we focus and obsess about it.
A thought is just a thought and it’s us that allows them to dictate our beliefs and actions. It’s us that allows us to become emotionally invested around them. If you have a challenging thought and are struggling to let it pass you by, then write it down and start challenging your assumptions around it. Get clarity and then use my 3 step system about to create outcomes and actions that MOVE YOU pass it.
This is some of the work I have done myself on a regular basis and the work I support my clients to do because without it we continue to stay frustrated and stuck in our situation and there’s nothing worse than knowing you have the potential to achieve more in life and with yourself, but you can’t seem to get out of your own way.
This is why the performance coaching work I do with my clients has so much transformational benefit and is supporting my clients to create the life and business they desire most. On top of that it’s the accountability for you to follow through on your actions, because who right now is holding you accountable?
If you would like to know more about how we could work together and have an informal conversation, message me direct or email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Have an amazing 2020