Part 2 of 6
OWNING YOUR LIFE
“The map was upside down. We’d been going the wrong way for hours.”
In the ’90s, one of the biggest fitness crazes was Adventure Racing. These were multi-disciplined (run/bike/paddle) events, ranging anywhere from 3 to 30 hours of non-stop racing. It challenged the athletes mentally, physically and emotionally. And me? I guess I thought it might be…fun.
One night, 12 hours into a 24-hour race, I found myself leading my team up a trailhead in the Santa Monica Mountains. It was 2 am and since it was November, it was cold. One of the tricks to racing at night is always making sure you’re checking and re-checking your route with your map — it’s so easy to get lost. And as fatigue hits, it’s extremely frustrating to spend hours pushing yourself just to realize you’ve been going the wrong way. This kind of setback can be crushing to you and your team.
So, there we are at 2 am on a cold November night. We get to the top of the trailhead and a few of the teams in front of us make a sharp turn left and head down the mountain. After climbing UPHILL for a few hours, I was so ready to just follow them, trusting that if these teams were all heading that way, it must be the right route. But I thought I’d better check the map just to be sure. Boy, am I glad I did! It turned out we still needed to go for another mile, THEN make a left down the other side of this hill. It looked as though the other teams knew where they were going – but it turned out they didn’t. If we had just blindly followed them, we’d have had to retrace that long climb. I felt right about the choice to keep ascending and in the end, it was the right choice. Later that day I heard one of the other team leaders say, “The map was upside down. We’d been going the wrong way for hours.”
I want to talk about the importance of FINDING CLARITY. I see so many people working hard in a certain direction and yet they’re missing a crucial piece: they’re not clear about what it is they want to achieve or where they really want to go. The MINDSET RESET can help clarify goals by shifting away from what you don’t want to what you do want. During coaching sessions, we are often pulled into the negative whirlpool of what we don’t like, what we don’t want, what we are most unhappy about. The SHIFT here is to ask yourself, “What do I want it to look like?”
THE CONCEPT -> FINDING CLARITY -> WHAT DO YOU WANT
The minute you ask this question, your brain starts to create a picture in your mind and with that picture, comes more questions. You get thoughts like, “In the perfect world my day would be like….” or “If I could wave a magic wand, I would be….”. When you start talking that way to yourself, you know you are on the right track.
I’m going to share something very important here. I have been coaching people for 3 years now and every day I see what happens when people make this SHIFT and start talking about what they DO WANT in their life:
It manifests. It starts to happen.
The minute you start to really SEE your goal – when you FOCUS on it and what it LOOKS like – it expands. You can’t help but to take action; you can’t help but open yourself up to the actuality of achieving it. It’s almost like the more you see, the more it becomes real in your mind and the more real it becomes, the more life follows through with making it real.
So, let’s take a look at some strategies for making this magic happen.
THE STRATEGIES → AWARENESS. CHOICE. MAPPING.
- AWARENESS. As always, it all starts in your mind, in your head, in your thoughts. So being aware of what you are thinking or telling yourself is key. For me, the best strategy is journaling. I have been doing it for 25+ years and it helps me SEE my thoughts on paper and allows me to make the MENTAL SHIFT.
- CHOICE. Once you are aware of your thoughts, you have a choice (a responsibility) to do something different with them. I find the best way is to ask myself, “Okay, if I’m not happy with where I am going/thinking/doing, what do I want it to look like?” This makes a powerful shift in the mind to envisioning what I want and how to get it.
- MAPPING IT OUT. Now that you know what you want, take it further: how detailed can you get? It’s important here to let go of HOW it’s going to happen and just focus on WHAT it looks like. Be open to an ever-shifting how, because it never happens the way you think it will, anyway. What does the ideal job/relationship/body/career look like for you?
THE CHALLENGE -> STOP. RESET. EXPLORE.
This week, challenge yourself with shifting your thought process. The minute you catch yourself thinking about what you don’t want (mapping yourself towards where you DON’T want to go) STOP YOURSELF and reset your thinking with the question, “OK, if that’s what I don’t want, what DO I want it to look like?” And then explore what comes up. It sounds simple, but this simple shift can start a cascade of energized thoughts and concrete actions that can transform your life.
What we focus on EXPANDS. So if you focus on what you don’t want, that will expand. But if you RESET YOUR MINDSET and shift your focus to what you DO WANT, that too can expand.
You’ve got nothing to lose, so why not give it a shot? You might just surprise yourself.
And I’m with you every step.
Phil Dozois, Personal Coach + Entrepreneur
Questions, reach me at email@example.com
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