How to Think Clearly and Take Control
Let’s talk about success.
I often say that you can have more success and less stress, but often people ask me, “Andrea, what is your definition of success?” That's not really for me to define for you. Success can look like lots of things.
Success could be making more money. Success could look like working with a certain number of clients. Success could be getting a promotion. Success can also look like getting all your laundry put away each week or emptying the dishwasher or getting your kids to do their homework without being asked. So, when I say more success and less stress, you must ask yourself: What does more success look like for you?
Initially, women often come to me with some sort of business or career issue that's pressing. Many times, that's what prompted them to reach out to a coach in the first place. But when we get down to it, yes, they want to feel successful in that area, but they also want to feel as successful in their personal lives and at home. Success is not the same thing for everybody. And you know what? Sometimes they don’t know exactly what success would feel like for them.
Often, we need to work first on how they can feel better, dig into why they don’t feel good, and why they feel the way that they feel. Which leads me to one of the very first principles I teach my clients: Getting clear and getting control. Getting clear on why you feel the way you feel and getting clear on how to feel differently, so that then you can get control of whatever situation you face. I call this finding clarity. When you are clear and in control, you feel better about life, in your business and career growth, about making money and managing life in general. When you break it down to what people really, really want, it's that they want to feel in control of their own lives; like they are the captain of their own ship and that the ship is running or sailing smoothly.
Here’s an interesting little case study: Before a client works with me, they fill out a questionnaire. I went back and looked at the question “what do you desire more of in life?” Their answers were fascinating! See if any of these answers resonate with you. They wanted:
- to feel more energetic, but they also wanted to feel more relaxed.
- They wanted peace and joy and laughter.
- They wanted meaningful relationships with their friends and family.
- They wanted to not feel guilty but feel ambitious.
- They wanted more confidence.
- They wanted to create more money. And when I dug a little deeper on that it was because they thought making money would lead them to more freedom.
Things like traveling came up, feeling refreshed, taking naps, more sleep, and having a family who they
deemed as supportive. So maybe your family is being supportive, but you're not seeing it that way. They also wanted to feel proud and validated.
When we boiled it down, what they believed was that all these things were outside of them, like they had to go find them. They felt that all these things were external – outside of their reach, and out of their control. But what if I told you that all these things were and are available to you right now, today?
That’s right. You can feel confident today. You can have peace and joy and laughter today. You could feel relaxed today. You don't have to feel guilty today.
You guys, we've been brainwashed! Society tells us that we must go after all of this. We've got to find it. We've got to capture it. As if it’s a lost treasure. And when we find it, we have to put it in our pocket and keep it there. But I would argue that this is not the case.
You can get clear on how to get it right now and you can feel in control. Why do you think you want those things: those meaningful relationships, money, an organized house, feeling like you have more control over your calendar?
When I started this business, I thought, OK, when I get X number of clients, I am going to feel so much better. I'm going to feel accomplished. Guess what? When I got X number of clients, I wanted something else, so I didn't feel accomplished at that point. I also wanted to pay back my interest-free credit card that I had taken out to start my business. I thought when I got there, that I would feel amazing! So, I did that. But again, there was something else. The goalpost kept moving. The only reason we want to do these things is because we believe we will feel differently once we get it. You think, once you feel joy or peace, you'll feel better. Yes, you will, but only if that joy or peace continues. Remember, the reason we want these things is because we think that we will feel a certain way.
But you can feel that way right now. So here comes my favorite tool to use to feel it right now. And it’s Brooke Castillo’s model. The model teaches us that it is really our thoughts that create our emotions or our feelings. And by changing our thoughts, we can change the way we feel. So today you can feel accomplished. Today, you can feel proud. Today, you can feel relaxed. Today, you can even feel wealthy. It's all possible.
Of the things that are outside of you, those accomplishments, those X number of clients or that dollar amount, you have to remember that those are circumstances. They're neutral. Those circumstances alone, will not make you feel accomplished. The dollar amount won't make you feel accomplished. It's the thought behind the dollar amount that will make you feel accomplished. It’s the thought about the number of clients or that promotion that will make you feel accomplished. It’s important to remember, there's a thought in the circumstance that leads to how you feel, not the actual accomplishment.
Which is why I say, “Yes you can have all those feelings today!” You just have to change the way you're thinking. If you really want to feel these things, I want you to check in with your body and imagine what accomplished would feel like and then ask yourself, what would I be thinking if I was feeling happy? What would I be thinking if I were feeling excited? With this process, you actually back into it.
Maybe you’re thinking, “I'm not really sure what I would be thinking,” or “I'm not really sure what I am
thinking when I'm happy.” Alright. What do you think would make you happy? What do you think would make you feel relaxed and in control? What I want you to understand is that it’s your thought about something that matters.
Here’s an Example: Sometimes people say, “if I were to win the lottery, everything would be amazing.” We know that when people win the lottery, they don't always feel so amazing. They feel stressed about how they're going to handle the money. They feel a little bit embarrassed about winning the money. They feel awkward in social situations because they're always wondering what people are thinking about the fact that they won. So just because you win the lottery, you don't feel amazing.
You could feel amazing, but you have a thought about winning the lottery that triggers how you feel. From the outside, not being a lottery winner, you think winning the lottery would solve all your problems and you’d feel amazing. That's what you're thinking from the outside. But for someone who actually wins the lottery, their thought is that winning the lottery has created a lot of problems and they're feeling stressed. The point here: It is not the event that creates your feeling, but rather it's your thought about that event.
Another example: How many retirees do you know when suddenly, they have all that free time, and they don't know what to do with themselves? Then they actually become sad and depressed. Free time in and of itself does not lead to relaxation. It's your thought about the free time. You can have those same thoughts now and feel any way you want now. If you think about the amount of free time you have right now, you could say, “oh my gosh, I had 30 minutes of free time today.” Lavish in it and feel satisfied with it. The only thing that determines that is how you decide to think about it. How you think is going to determine how you feel, because all your thoughts cause feelings.
You may think that I’m telling you that you have to think positively; that you have to choose positive thoughts. I am not saying that! In fact, I know that there is no way to think positively 100 percent of the time! It's just not possible. And honestly, thinking positively, 100 percent of the time won't serve you either. Here’s the key: When you are thinking thoughts, I want you to be honest with yourself. You might be thinking about whatever is currently in front of you, or whatever task is at hand. And you might be thinking, “this is hard,” or “this is a lot.” But I want you to add on to the end of that statement:
“This is hard and that's OK.” or “This is a lot and that's OK.”
What does adding “and that's OK” to the end of that thought or statement do for you? How does it
change things? How do you feel? I find that adding “and that's OK,” neutralizes everything. It makes it not positive but not negative. And best of all, it allows you to feel at peace, or okay with the situation. And when you feel at peace with it, you can actually do something, not just wallow in it, not spin out and not stay stuck. You can get control. It is really a magical phrase.
Get control by either changing your thought entirely or adding on that magical phrase “and that's OK”
to any thought you have that doesn't help you move forward or help you find more success. Add it to any thought that is not creating momentum for you, that does not help you make a decision, make money or manage your life. “And that's OK.” A little phrase that should help you eliminate some of the stress and lead you to more success and to more of whatever you want.
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