Last week I shared an impactful Tedx video on the subject of perspective—and really, how/why it’s important to question our thinking. Thank you to all who replied to share your love for and take aways from the video. If you missed it, you can watch here.
Today I want to continue the conversation about our thinking—and how it creates our experience of reality.
On a recent coaching call for The CFJ Coaching Success School, for which I’m lead faculty, Carolyn responded to a student saying something like, “Steve Chandler, Stephen McGhee and Devon Bandison, all started their coaching practices this way.”
In that moment, I thought, “Why didn’t she say my name? I’m a successful coach too.”
And just like that, my mind snapped back: Carolyn doesn’t see you on the same level as them. She thinks you’re less than. She’s disappointed in you and wishes she was partnering with one of them in her school instead of you.
Ouch. Talk about using my imagination against myself!
And yet, we do this all the time. We think a thought, latch onto it, search for evidence to prove it’s true and then live it as such. This is why questioning our thinking is so life-changingly valuable.
Had I not questioned that exchange in my mind I would’ve harbored anger and resentment towards Carolyn. I would’ve sought out further evidence (the tone of her voice, the way she responded to my emails) to prove my point. I even would’ve held back from fully showing up and serving the class.
If the story I was making up was that she didn’t want me there, that’s what I would unintentionally co-create. This is the byproduct of believing our limiting stories.
Fortunately I’ve grown in my understanding of what goes on in my own head. I’ve gathered tools to support myself in shifting from fear-based thinking to love-based thinking. I’ve also learned how to have vulnerable, courageous conversations—which is what I did.
I stole a play from Brene Brown’s playbook and in a separate, intentional conversation with Carolyn said, “The story I’m making up is that you wish you were partnering with another coach in your school.”
She heard me and responded with such loving. “Nothing could be further from the truth,” she said. She apologized for not including my name alongside the coaches she mentioned and explained why that was—she was focused on the guest faculty in that moment. She also expressed how vital my contribution was—and how if she didn’t want me involved, she would let me go.
I felt closer to Carolyn through that exchange—and this is the byproduct of honest conversations where both parties are willing to listen and be vulnerable.
With all that’s occurring on the planet at this time our minds can be on overdrive making up story after story about us/them/the virus/how to reopen/our leadership/the world.
What story are you making up right now?
Maybe it’s not 100% true? Maybe it’s merely your insecure thinking having a playdate in your head?
I don’t know…and I can tell you it’s worth exploring. There may just be a new, beautiful insight waiting on the other side.
With Fierce Loving,
Photo by Nong Vang