Do you have faith that it WON’T work out?
William Shakespeare once observed, “All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players.”
In my opinion, this is only partly accurate, because we are directors of as well as actors in the production called “life.” In other words, you get to not only visualize what you want the actors under your direction to create; you, as one of those actors, also get to do the actual creation. No matter which hat you’re wearing at any given moment, you must step up – with faith, courage, and confidence – in order to create the end result you want.
This leads to an interesting question: Just what do you put your faith in – a positive outcome or a negative one?
“Why in the world,” you might reasonably demand, “would I put faith in an unpleasant or disappointing outcome? That’s nuts!”
I couldn’t agree more, but that doesn’t mean people don’t do this all the time. And why? Because many of us have learned to be fearful, and fear is faith that things won’t work out. (I don’t know who originally said this, but she was brilliant.)
Just think back to some situation you so wanted to turn out beautifully. In retrospect, do you realize you spent most of your time visualizing all the things that could go wrong? After all, with your creativity, you can create quite a dismal story of failure and disappointment:
- You get turned down in your bid to speak at a conference.
- Or you do get selected to speak, but then you trip walking up the steps to the stage.
- Once on stage, you haul out all your best material, but no one appreciates it.
Do you choose to rehearse success or failure?
When you come from fear, you’re using one of the most powerful self-sabotage tools available. By fearing the worst, you’re choosing to be the director and star of a production called, “[Your name here] falls flat on his/her face.” Your detailed visualization of the crash-and-burn is a mental dress rehearsal of what you want not to happen.
Compare this to the way the successful director of a Hollywood movie or a Broadway play operates:
- She has a clear idea of what she wants the final product to look like.
- She knows how to get the best from her actors by providing guidance, support, and necessary corrections.
- She’s willing to be flexible to achieve her goals.
- She always focuses her instructions on what she does want from her actors, not on what she doesn’t want.
So what does this all mean for you as the actor/director of your life? It means you get to use the following strategies to start refining your directorial skills to get better results.
Get a clue!
When you decide you’re ready to direct stories of achievement rather than disappointment, the first step is to become aware of your habitual thoughts and actions. This is crucial because, if you want to get better results than you’ve gotten in the past, you have to think and act differently than you did in the past.
In other words, don’t fight against negative thoughts that pop into your head. Granted, this may sound contradictory to earlier admonitions to visualize what you want. In reality, though, there’s a difference between actively resisting these negative thoughts and simply acknowledging them before you release them.
What you resist, persists; what you notice and acknowledge from a position of calm neutrality is much easier to let go of. Here are several comments you can make to yourself that will enable you to apply this particular principle to great effect:
“Okay, that’s enough of that!” (I often find that saying this out loud makes it easier to pay attention to myself.)
“Thank you for sharing.” (This is directed at your ego, which is trying to keep you safe from fear, embarrassment, disappointment, and so forth.)
“Stop! Cancel! Clear! Get the @#$%& out of here!” (Thanks to Andy Dooley for this one.)
Give yourself permission to be optimistic.
You might be very experienced at picturing what can go wrong, but that in no way means you can’t learn how to picture things turning out spectacularly.
This mental shift has been a challenging one for me personally, because one of the most pointed lessons I learned as a child was, “Don’t get your hopes up.” In other words, I was taught to aim low, keep my dreams small, and always be braced for disappointment. (Ironically, this lesson was lovingly taught to me in an attempt to save me from disappointment.)
However, over time I’ve become much more tuned in to situations in which I’m likely to predict gloom and doom. (In other words, I’ve gotten a clue.) When I realize what I’m doing, I acknowledge I’ve temporarily fallen back into an old mental habit, and I gently release thoughts of failure and/or catastrophe. (I stop fighting them.) Then I start shifting my thoughts to all kinds of wonderful possible outcomes. “What if this turns out to be totally fantastic? What will it look like? What will I look like? What will I be doing? How will I feel?” Then I absolutely wallow in the detailed mental experience of having my efforts pay off big time.
Just yesterday I just got to relish the fruits of this particular approach. Two weeks previously, I’d submitted a proposal to a prospect to do some one-on-one coaching based on Mike Dooley’s program, Infinite Possibilities, and she committed to make a go/no-go decision by the 15th. So I spent the last two weeks picturing the terrific work we would do together; the way she would feel more powerful, confident, and in charge of her results; how we would totally have a blast working together; how I would feel totally alive and fulfilled as I exercised my teaching skills; and how lovely it would be to add the coaching fee to my bank account.
She signed yesterday. Happy dance!
Will these tools result in you achieving what you want, 100% of the time? Probably not. Will they get you better results than you have been getting? Almost certainly.
So the question becomes, Are you willing to invest time and effort in improving your thoughts so you can improve your outcomes? Are you ready to act from a belief that things usually work out to your benefit? Are you committed to live from positive expectation, rather than from fear?
You say you’re already living this way? Woohoo! Please share some of your best experiences in creating the life you want; they’ll be great inspiration for the rest of us.
Or are you feeling in need of inspiration? Are there so many scary things facing you that you feel sort of frozen and overwhelmed? If that’s the case, perhaps I can help.
My most successful clients are entrepreneurs who are officially TIRED of getting in their own way and inadvertently sabotaging their results. They know that having a clear plan of action, a kindly but no-nonsense support system, and an accountability partner is just what they need to up-level their results. If that’s you, then I invite us both to explore the possibility that we could do some seriously effective work together.
The best way to figure out if we‘re a fit for each other is through a 30- to 40-minute get-acquainted call. By trading questions back and forth, we’ll know just what kind of fit we have (or don’t have). To set up that call, just connect with me at 319-270-1214, or email me with “Maybe it will work out!” in the subject line. We’ll see what we see!
(By the way, thanks to Hash Milhan for sharing the image of actors on stage. I found it in the Creative Commons section of Flickr.)This entry was posted in mindset and tagged effectiveness, habits. Bookmark the permalink.