The best way out is always through. - Robert Frost (Tweet this quote)
This is the third and final post in the series on changing your thinking to overcome challenges. If you just landed here, it’s probably a good idea to read the first post on self-awareness and the second post on self-observation. I wrote these posts to give you the tools I use when I hit a blocks or challenges and how I coach myself to create desired outcomes, new choices and actions.
I need to be completely honest here…it’s been a challenge to write this post. I’ve had some writer’s block.
It was a breeze writing out the steps on self-awareness and self-observation, but when it came to dissecting the data and moving forward I found myself stuck not really knowing how to explain the process I had undertaken so many times before.
So yesterday at 5 AM as I was sitting at my desk feeling a bit anxious and agitated, I decided to break it down and work the process to get around my writers block.
15 minutes later, I had moved around my block.
I felt energized and knew the best way to show you the final steps of data analysis, clarity and creating new options was to walk you through the process I had just undertaken.
Changing your thinking and overcoming challenges in real time
Here is exactly what I did from start to finish.
- I took some deep breaths from my abdomen to slow things down a bit
- I observed how I felt emotionally and physically. I noticed I was basically hijacked by emotions of anxiety and frustration and my body was very stiff with teeth clenched and legs crossed.
- I observed my thoughts and language: what was I saying to myself? Here is quick snippet. “I don’t know what I’m talking about” “Why am I making this so complicated?”
- I wrote everything out in as much detail as possible. I now had baseline data on my current state.
- I got up from my desk and walked into my living room. I sat down, closed my eyes and meditated for about 2-3 minutes, breathing deeply.
- As I was breathing my body relaxed, my jaw loosened up and my thoughts stayed on my breath. I gently began un-hijack my negative emotions and feelings.
- I knew at that moment, I had a more objective mindset and was ready to review what I had written earlier.
- I sat back at my desk and asked myself these questions: What do I really want (my desired result)? How do I want to feel (what emotions do I want attached my desired result)?
- I wrote out what I wanted and painted a vivid picture with special emphasis on the emotions I wanted to feel. In short, “I wanted to write a post that connected and informed the reader on how to analyze their thoughts and create new options. I wanted to feel happy and full of gratitude to write”.
- I then asked myself if my current moods, thoughts, feelings and resulting actions are moving me towards what I want. The resulting answer was of course NO, but I didn’t know that was the right answer until I knew my current state, gained objectivity and painted a picture (desired result) of what I really wanted.
- Lastly, I asked what are the different thoughts, feelings and resulting actions I can take to move towards what I want? “I do know what I am talking about and I can write this post. So let’s take out fresh sheet of paper and begin. Write for 90 minutes from your heart, not just your head”.
From this point forward I had shifted, created new options and taken new actions. I moved around my block.
I changed my thinking
I overcame my challenge
I began writing
Vision without action is daydream. Action without vision is nightmare. - Japanese Proverb (Tweet this quote)
Clarity, objectivity, powerful actions
- I gained clarity around my current thoughts, emotions and feelings by writing them down and breathing to release the negative emotional hooks.
- In becoming present I engaged my rational brain and objectively asked myself new questions about what I wanted.
- I analyzed what I wanted vs. what I’d been doing and began to see new options to move forward.
- I took new powerful actions to move me towards what I wanted.
Going through the exercise in real time again emphasized that to really move forward you must create new desired outcomes with healthy emotions attached. This new outcome will begin to pull you. Your mind will start to see new pathways, new options and new actions.
Creating new options and new possibilities is key, but it can be very challenging to imagine a new desired outcome when you are lost in your current state, frozen and unable to move.
So I encourage you to:
- Practice breathing and presence
- Practice creating the emotional break you need to re-engage your thinking brain
- Practice observing your feelings, emotions and thoughts
- Practice creating real desired outcomes in vivid detail with the emotions you want to feel
- Practice asking yourself the questions to create clarity, options and insight
- Practice taking action towards what you want
Coach yourself using these steps and you will overcome your challenges, change your thinking and change your life.
The best way to predict the future is to create it. - Unknown (Tweet this quote)