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Choosing our thoughts about other people

The idea of choosing our thoughts about people sometimes trips my clients up a bit.

Here’s an example of what I mean:

Years ago my boss was being very short with me. I was the president of an professional services firm and I carried a lot of responsibility.

My boss had reverted into nasty micromanaging. I was annoyed and we were stuck.

I could see that his behaviors were rooted in fear. Fear of clients leaving, fear of employees quitting. Fear of the business he had built changing. But it was showing up as anger.

My initial thoughts were…. this guy just doesn’t get it.

But I had the power to choose my thoughts. “He just doesn’t get it” isn’t helpful. That thought made me feel disempowered and victimized.

I could choose another thought because our thoughts about people do not need to be mutually exclusive.

This means that 2 seemingly disparate thoughts about people can coexist simultaneously.

So I tried on a few alternates:

He doesn’t get it ……..AND

· he’s worried

· he’s never been in this situation before

· he’s going to open up soon

· he needs my guidance …this is why I am here

When I pair another thought with my initial one, my feelings change. They shift into empathy, patience, and responsibility.

I’ll say it again……Empathy, Patience, & Responsibility.

These are powerful feelings and traits that a leader must deploy to be successful. And I created them just by changing my thought.

You may be skeptical……did I just make these up???

No, because as Byron Katie would posit…..I can’t know that any of my thoughts are 100% true or not true because these are just my thoughts. They are observations and opinions that we form from our one-sided experience in our own brains.

There are hundreds of thoughts that could exist and be true (or not true!!).

So if you can choose your thoughts about people, why not choose ones that are helpful and put you in the driver’s seat ??

There’s no downside to me feeling Empathy, Patience, & Responsibility. These feelings will create actions that I am proud of and make an impact.

You can try this on with your co-workers, kids, parents, and partners.

I’d love to hear what comes up.

This is the type of mindset shifts we practice in coaching. The possibilities are endless and the results are empowering.

Executive Leadership and Life Coaching packages are available for June 2023.

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