Your Greatest Support and Worse Critic

This week I texted a handful of individuals and asked them – what is your biggest challenge right now?  The responses started pouring in quickly.  Here are a few of the responses…

  • How do I keep up the activities, and not burn out?
  • How do I maintain focus and prioritize correctly?
  • How do I successfully leverage?
  • How do I handle the uncertainty in the market place?
  • How do I deal with the issue of low inventory?
  • How do I stay motivated?
  • How do I keep my clients motivated?
  • How do I keep from personalizing things?
  • How do I help my clients get the house more effectively in this market – and deal with the loss when they don’t?
  • How do I stay fresh and ahead of the clients?
  • How do I manage my time to meet my goals and take time off?
  • How do I move through to the next phase in my career?
  • How do I align actions to desired outcomes?
  • How do I stay organized?

There are a couple common threads in these responses and I’d like to address one that blankets them all – and that is, how do I effectively use my thinking to solve challenges, get what I want, and move forward?

The mind is powerful, and yet sometimes a chaotic place which can be our greatest supporter, and are worst critic.  It can give us clarity in our decisions, and sometimes spin us around in the same circle with repetitive thoughts that are difficult to dislodge from.  It can be pure positive energy, and a dark storm cloud – all in the same day.  So how do you tame the beast and use your mind effectively in the pursuit of what you want, without letting your mind take over you and derail your day, your month, your year, and sometimes your entire business?

One powerful technique is becoming aware of the thought pattern – along with the meaning you’re creating from that thought.

For example, a thought may occur that sounds like “the market inventory is tight, it’s difficult to land contracts, I’m tired and so are the buyers.”

This is a thought.

The challenge starts when you attach a specific meaning to the thought, which you then believe to be true – and it becomes the experience you actually have because you believe it to be true.  It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy of sorts.

So let’s take the thought again.  The actual thought is “the market inventory is tight, it’s difficult to land contracts, I’m tired and so are the buyers.”

If we stopped there we would be fine – though we don’t.  We attach a meaning to the thought.  The meaning varies, though if the thought is agitating, the meaning is usually negative.  For example, you make take the thought that “the market inventory is tight, it’s difficult to land contracts, I’m tired and so are the buyers” and create a meaning that sounds like “and so I’m not going to make enough money” or “my buyers will drop out of the market” or “all the buyers are exhausted and frustrated”  “If only the inventory would improve, my business would improve” or “if I had better buyers this would be easier” or “the people who are wining these deals must be doing something I’m not and are probably cheating somehow”  and on and on

It’s the meaning we attach to a thought that stresses us out.  Not the thought itself.

So what do you do?  Separate the thought from the meaning.  Put some space between the raw thought, and the meaning you’re creating as a result of, and immediately after the thought.  When you begin to witness the space between the thought and the meaning you become more free to choice a different meaning, rather than being subject to the automatic meaning you were creating before.  This is a level of awareness that will change your internal dialog and first you’ll be less likely to be so attached to your meaning, and eventually you’ll be able to consciously choose the meaning you wish to make from the thought, therefore changing the experience you ultimately have.

Above all start to witness this dynamic.  If you can’t shift it, because the thought and the meaning are too collapsed and difficult to see – witness the entire line and ask yourself – where did the thought end and the meaning begin?  Is that working for me?  How do I change it?

This business, all our challenges, and life itself is an inside to outside game.  If you wish to change your experiences and shift your challenges, you must change and shift something internally first.

“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”  Gandhi.