From the book As A Man Thinketh by James Allen.
I feel so called out and encouraged by this passage.
I’m called out because it requires that I take a deep, uncomfortable, and honest look at the stories I tell myself. It doesn’t allow me to deflect blame or get a free pass from external circumstances – be it mean people, a bad economy, dirty or deeply-rooted competitors, debilitating regulation, or unplanned events (oh, like, I dunno…A VIRUS?!)
I’m encouraged because change is within reach. I don’t need expensive, distant, theoretical, or complex software to replace and upgrade my hardware. And the results are immediate and long term.
I simply need to decide, and protect those decisions with intense vigor.
A few narratives that I caught myself having when I thought about this were:
I have 10+ different companies that I own and manage. My family should understand if I’m busy and gone all of the time. I’m trying to provide for them, and I’ll make it up to them later.
I’m older now. It’s understandable to be overweight and have less muscles than I used to. My prime of being in the best shape of my life has passed. And this one-time doughnut is harmless (but I say this to myself 100 times a day lol!).
We’re in a pandemic and the economy is in a mess. Of course I’m going to lose clients, customers, and funding. And why bother fighting for it? I’m just going to hit a wall.
I’m an introvert. Trying to speak publicly is like forcing a a round peg in a square hole. I should just stick with coaching, consulting, and selling one-on-one or in small groups.
I don’t have any original ideas. Why bother writing a newsletter to my sphere of influence? And why re-share other people’s important work? They’ll think I’m a fraud and I’m wasting my time.
There are more negative self-talks where they came from.
It’s crazy – I KNOW these stories are unhelpful, untrue, and toxic…but I still let them direct my thoughts, mood, and actions.
Something’s wrong with me, right?
In talking with other entrepreneurs and creatives that are doing important work…I’m comforted to know I’m not alone. They deal with this, too.
Resistance stemming from the status quo never goes away. In fact, it actually gets stronger as you get near breakthroughs.
It’s a twisted, mean way to tell you you’re on the right track, lol!
Over the years, I’ve picked up three frameworks to prevent or minimize those impulses from ruining my progress.
1. The answer to every single thing that happens is “GOOD”.
Whenever something bad happens – or something isn’t going your way…say “good”.
Why? Because there will always be some good in it. It’s not being overly positive, or thinking that a positive attitude will solve problems. That’s delusional and living a lie.
But you can’t dwell on the problem either. You just have to accept reality and see the good in it.
Mission got cancelled? GOOD – we can focus on another one.
Didn’t get the new high-speed gear we wanted? GOOD – we can keep it simple.
Didn’t get promoted? GOOD – more time to get better.
Didn’t get funded? GOOD – we own more of the company.
Didn’t get the job you wanted? GOOD – go out, gain more experience, and build a better resume.
Got injured? GOOD – needed a break from training.
Got tapped out? GOOD – better to tap out in training than tap out on the street.
Got beat? GOOD – we learned.
Unexpected problems? GOOD – we have the opportunity to figure out a solution.
2. Accept that it’s 100% my fault.
…whah? “But it’s NOT my fault!”
When you decide that everything is all your fault [even if it may not have stemmed from you], you now can take 100% responsibility and change things.
You eliminate ego. You eliminate the bottleneck that you unknowingly create when you blame others and expect others – or the universe – to make things right.
When you blame external stimuli, you give away your right to change things.
3. What I’m going through is God’s plan. This is more Christian in nature, but whether or not you are a believer, the concept is still helpful.
I believe that things happen for a reason. That whatever I’m going through is preparing me for purpose; is preventing me from premature, unprepared pursuit (hey – there’s alliteration going on, here); is stopping me from an even worse decision or scenario; and is exactly where God wants me to be.
So – instead of wanting a difficult circumstance to be over, consider being present. Let go of the outcome, respect the process, rejoice, strengthen your faith (because if all things are going your way, you don’t need faith), and ask yourself: “If I am supposed to be here, what is it that I need to be doing?”
I hope these strategies improve your operating system.
What stories are you working on changing, or aware aren’t serving you? I’d love to hear about them and help you through it, if you’d like! And if you have any perspectives that have helped you eliminate negative narratives, I am continually learning and would appreciate hearing them =)