Many of us spend a significant amount of time living in an imaginary mental world created by limiting thoughts. Fortunately, we can free ourselves from these limiting thoughts when we use our own will to accept or reject the thoughts in our heads.
The most productive tool I have as a leadership coach is teaching people how to observe their thoughts. Our minds are like a theatrical stage with a variety of scenes, characters, dramas, and the like continually crossing the stage all day long. The reality though is that much of what we think is created by us and not by what we actually see, hear or experience.
We create stories about our managers, co-workers, clients, friends, spouses/partners, and ourselves that just aren’t grounded in reality. The breakthrough comes when we learn to see a thought crossing our mind’s stage and recognize “it’s just a thought.”
I ask all my clients to journal (write down) their limiting thoughts. Once the observation is written on paper (or on the iPhone’s notepad as I do) then you see the thought for what it is – a thought – not an absolute. You can then take the time to consider if the thought is “grounded” in reality. You can observe it like one who is looking at an elaborate centerpiece by walking all around the table to see the various perspectives before jumping to a conclusion about its meaning and value.
The result for my clients is that many thoughts are often tossed out as ungrounded – only getting in their way of taking the actions or building the relationships they really want.