This week a very capable client was struggling with some of the work I am having her do around ‘doubt’ and ‘letting go.’ She said she “came up blank” on what she was angry about, what she can terminate right now, where she feels shame and what she feared.
Questioning our thoughts and feelings often uncovers that they are assumptions and not true at all. These questions help you get deeply into the thoughts and feelings that hold you back - keep you guarded, resentful or powerless. Nobody wants to face them. But, if we don’t they chase us down the rest of our lives. Think of the last time you lashed out, withdrew, or quit something. What FEELING was at the heart of the behavior? I want you to be able to re-examine that feeling as to whether it is an assumption or really true. (This photo shows the process of finding the pause moment to accomplish this strategy.
She then shared that she does feel shame around weight and being judged as mean.
This is a very sound reason for shame. Most of us share it. We judge ourselves and then fast-forward our minds to where others are judging us too. What we want is to be a third party mindful observer of those thoughts without getting carried away by them..."Oh this is what it feels like to judge myself." NOT "I can’t believe I am judging myself again." You want to be able to identify the trigger before you get lost in the emotion of judgment. "I choose to let this go and not become wrapped up in it."
Spend time thinking about the relationships and progress that you would like that are not in place right now. Do you want to get along better with someone? Do you want to stop judging yourself on an issue? Do you have a message in your head that keeps repeating itself such as, "I'm overweight and no one will like me." Or "People think I am mean when I’m only trying to stand up for myself."
Focus on the feeling you don’t want to feel and it will disarm its power over you. If you feel you are overweight do you fear that people won't like you? That you will lose love? Be alone? Same for meanness? Do you fear ultimately that this could affect your advancement in your career or in relationships. Just keep asking yourself what is the worst-case scenario. It's best to identify these feelings on a conscious level so that you can see it, feel it and talk about it. This empowers you. Literally.
When you can actually say what is at the root of the feelings that leave you uncomfortable you have freedom.
When she did this she realized how her mind had created messages that were holding her back and now has a strategy to allow them to flow by. In 90 seconds you can let go of those thoughts by untangling the assumptions form what is true. Freedom is on the other side.
If you would like my tip sheet on this you can get it free - just click here for the Pause Cafe Tip Sheet.
P.S. Feel free to send this link to someone who could benefit from it. We are all walking down the same road in life.
Mary Lee Gannon, ACC, CAE is an executive coach and 18-year corporate CEO who helps leaders have more effective careers, happier lives and better relationships. Get her FREE Career and Life Planning Tool to be more effective, the leader everyone wants to work for and have a better connection with the people who matter while it still matters. If you don't know where you will be at the end of 2018, you are already there.
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