One of the questions I get most often when coaching my clients is:
How do I stop thinking that?
Once we understand the correlation between our thoughts and how those thoughts are creating our present reality, the first thing my clients want to do as professional perfectionists is FIX it. Once we understand the equation, we want to clean it up and get back to work.
As attorneys, it is our job to strategize, navigate, and fix problems. When we realize that our brain is part of the “problem” it is natural for us to want to fix it.
The problem is that our brain is a formidable adversary and, no matter how much coaching we do, will we ever be able to build you a brain that only thinks, productive, worthy thoughts.
So we must learn to co-exist with our nasty little thoughts.
We must stop fighting them! Unproductive thoughts will always be part of our reality. The key is getting to a place where we see those thoughts as neither good nor bad. Simply a sentence our brain is really good at offering us.
Whenever we botch a big project, our brain is always going to want to tell us that we don’t belong, we will never figure it out, etc. We are SO GOOD at thinking those thoughts! It is natural that our efficient, primitive brain would continue to do so.
So what do we do?
(The second most common question I get from my clients.)
We see the thought, we understand the negative impact it is having on our life, and now we are ready to change it, right?!
We want to erase the “bad” thought. We want to shift to a new thought or build upon ladder thoughts to feel better or create the results that we want. However, when we jump right in like that, we continually find ourselves back at the original thought and more frustrated that we can’t make the shift.
This is a sign that we are not yet ready to move on to a new thought. We keep coming back because there is a part of us that still believes the original thought. We don’t yet see it as a set of words that pop into our head.
There is still a part of us that hasn’t accepted it as an optional description of reality.
What we have to do in that situation is to challenge ourselves and force a paradigm shift. We’ve all had those experiences in our lives where suddenly a long-held thought or belief is completely deconstructed due to something that we’ve learned, witnessed, or experienced. We need to create that same type of paradigm shift within ourselves about that thought.
For each of those automatic thoughts that we want to move away from we have to really start asking:
Is it true how?
Could I understand things differently?
Where does that thought come from?
Why am I choosing to believe that?
What if that weren’t true?
What are the facts of my story?
What if nothing has gone wrong?
Can I imagine this another way?
What if I did know what to do?
Questioning and challenging the thought will allow your mind the space to start examining whether or not that belief is really true. It helps us get to a place where we can accept that the thought is just a thought–it’s not a fact and other alternatives exist.
Once we start dismantling the belief and seeing it as just that a belief or optional thought, only from there can we starts shifting to a new thought.
Whenever we find ourselves in a mental thought boomerang, it’s a sign that we’re not ready to accept that belief as untrue. We tried to move forward with a new, contrary belief while we’re continuing to believe the old thought.
In order to solidify the shift, we have to come to a place where we accept that the original belief is optional.
We have to allow ourselves to dismantle that belief and start seeing poking holes in it.
If you don’t allow yourself the space to dismantle that belief it will always pop up and continue to derail any shifting that you are trying to make. First we must disprove the thoughts and loosen its grip on ourselves.
Many of my clients have struggled to “clean up” their negative thoughts patterns unsuccessfully. They come to me frustrated with their inability to move to higher mental ground. This is part of the process we work through in the coaching space–dismantling closely held thoughts, beliefs, and assumptions that aren’t serving you.
Schedule a free consultation and check it out for yourself.