We’ve all heard it said – ‘what you focus on is what happens in your life.’ And yet how many of us REALLY pay attention to what we’re focused on? How many times do we let ourselves dwell on the negative things, the ‘what ifs’ and the drama of life?
I can get into the muck of negativity very quickly if I’m not diligent in paying attention to my thought life. For me success in life starts with what I focus on. If I focus on all the things that are RIGHT in my life, I move forward. If I focus on what’s not working, I get stuck. And often when I’m stuck it isn’t reality I’m focusing on – it’s the story I tell myself about what’s happening that gets me in trouble.
Think about it. If someone gives you the cold shoulder, you can choose to make up a story about what’s going on with them, you can let it go or you can ask them if there’s something wrong. Too often in life I make up a story – I’m good at it. I THINK I know what other people are thinking.
Years ago my husband and I were on vacation. We were sitting on the deck and these little creatures were flying around. There was a bigger one and a few little ones. They looked like hummingbirds from where we were sitting. We imagined the bigger one was the mother hummingbird and she was teaching the little ones to fly. That was the story we told ourselves. And yet hours later we got a close up view of these creatures – they were dragonflies.
Over the next few days we talked about the story we’d made up. We’d been convinced our story was true and yet it turned out to be fiction. We do this in life. We tell ourselves a story, one we believe is true and then we find evidence to support it.
We still use this example. When one of us is making up a story and creating drama about something – we gently remind the other person of the ‘hummingbirds’. We hold each other accountable for telling ourselves the truth.
What do you do to stop the stories you tell yourself?
How do you focus on what is RIGHT and what is TRUE?
Below are some ways to help us stay focused on these things….
1. Verify. Ask others for the truth before you spend time inventing it.
2. Be grateful. Keep a gratitude journal. Focus each day on what is good.
3. Be diligent. Pay attention to your thought life. Monitor your self talk and your stories.
4. Get help. Find people who can support you in changing what you focus on.
5. Admit the struggle. In order to change we must first admit there’s something to fix.
6. Stay the course. Growth is a life long process. We don’t change our thoughts overnight.
7. Accept. You’re a human being – accept it. You’re not perfect.
8. Laugh at yourself. The stories we tell ourselves are humorous – laugh at their absurdity.
9. Be gentle with yourself. We will not change by beating ourselves up
Michelle NeuJahr, Motivational Speaker, Business Coach
The Business Renovation Company
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