As a transformative coach, I am constantly reminded by my clients (and yes, in my own life, too) how much we habitually but innocently get our own way when trying to create the results we want, whether it’s in our professional lives or our personal lives. And yet the answer to that “stuckness” is a simple, little-known secret that can change everything: our thoughts – and what we do with them – determines the quality, happiness and success of our lives. To help you explore this concept, here are three easy, yet profound suggestions that may just radically transform your life.
1. Don’t Believe Everything You Think
Just because thoughts come into your head doesn’t mean they’re true. Humans have evolved through an ancient survival mechanism that causes us to focus on what appears negative or threatening as a way to protect ourselves from real or potential danger. These days, most of the dangers we experience are not life threatening, but because of the stress associated with them, they feel that way. When we realize thoughts in and of themselves cannot hurt us or dictate our behaviors unless we make them seem real, we are free to choose – or ignore – the thoughts that will have an impact on how much we can realize our goals and dreams.
2. Pay Attention to Your Feelings
It may sound odd, but your feelings are never a response to events. Rather, they are a barometer of your thinking. We all know what it’s like to be afraid or angry about some person or event in one moment but at another moment or on another day, it doesn’t bother us. Why is that? Our thoughts determine our feelings. If our thoughts are insecure or negative, our feelings reflect that. If our thoughts are positive and open, our feelings reflect that. Rather than react to appearances, we can let our thoughts settle and lighten up (which they will). As they do, our choices will be smarter, more responsive, more creative and more effective.
3. Trust Your Gut
Life can seem so demanding! To cope with that, we’ve been trained to follow strategies and use the techniques taught by “experts,” yet those formulas often have the effect of bypassing that inner GPS we are all born with. When we use packaged concepts we are trying to copy what worked for someone in the past but may not be responsive to the real-time events we are dealing with now. We live in a world of constantly flowing creativity and inspiration, and when we open ourselves to that world, the right choice becomes clear. There can be great benefit in evaluating proven strategies, but by giving priority to your own inner wisdom, you’re greatly increasing the chances that the choice you make will be the right one for you.
(This article originally appeared in the blog for the Women's Business Council of the Capital Region Chamber of Commerce on October 29, 2018)