Do you have persistent internal thoughts and questions running through your head at any given time? These thoughts could be about a person, a situation, a stress, a fear, a hope, or any number of things. The thoughts we have create feelings such as the nagging fear that just won’t leave you alone. Anxiety that takes you out. Anger that flashes at the most inconvenient moments. Sadness you feel that doesn’t seem to be related to anything that makes any sense. Sudden joy when things go your way. The feeling of love or appreciation that lights up your heart. Unauthorized face leaking.
These feelings are all signals from your body. They are your body’s way of letting you know how it feels about your answers to your own questions.
If you pay attention to your body, you may notice that your body is reacting to your thoughts. Your body will give you feedback in the form of feelings and body sensations. If your body likes what you are focusing your conscious attention on, you will get feedback that feels empowering. If your body doesn’t like what you are focusing on, you will get feedback that feels disempowering.
As an example, consider the following exchange with a coaching client.
Client: I’m freaking out about money.
Coach: Tell me about it. Let me hear the thoughts that have you freaking out.
Client: I am doing a refinance to pay off debt because money is so tight. I need the refinance to close as soon as possible but for that to happen, we need to have an appraisal. I have to pay up front for the appraisal and that means I will have to rearrange bills. My husband has a 25-year old vehicle that we have to replace and I’m depending on the refinance to get the money to replace his car. We’re leaving for vacation and I’m afraid we can’t afford it. I’m worried that worrying about money will take me out and I won’t continue to build my business. And there is a lot we need to do to get ready for the appraisal which is supposed to happen in a few days.
Coach: How does it feel to focus on those thoughts? What does “freaking out” feel like?
Client: I feel panicked.
Coach: What is it that you are afraid will happen?
Client: What if this doesn’t work?
Coach: Thoughts that are questions are always answered by the subconscious. How are you answering that question, “What if this doesn’t work?”
Client: I’m not – I’m trying to ignore those thoughts and the panic.
Coach: Apparently your body is noticing your thoughts. Notice what is happening in your body when you think the thoughts that answer the question, “What if this doesn’t work?”. Where are your emotions on the Emotometer* when you think those thoughts? (The Emotometer is a visual aid used to identify the impact that our thoughts have on our sense of power. -10 is the worse you can feel and +10 is the best you can feel)
Coach: So apparently your body is reacting to your answer to the question, “What if this doesn’t work?”. What is the internal answer to “What if this doesn’t work” that your body is reacting to?
Client: (closing her eyes) If this doesn’t work, we will lose the house and the boat. We will live under a bridge. The business isn’t going to work. This refinance is just another band-aid. I’m stupid. No matter how hard I try, nothing works out. I’m never going to get what I want.
Coach: It makes sense that you feel so bad, given that answer. That answer comes from one voice that you are currently listening to. Are there any other opinions in there that are answering this question?
Coach: What does that voice have to say? How does that voice answer the question, “What if this doesn’t work?”
Client: If it doesn’t work, we’ll figure something out. I have projects and goals. I have 3 or 4 potential clients to talk with this week. I added 20 people to my private Facebook group and sent out 20 requests for “explore” calls for my business, I have a budget, I will be able to catch my budget back up when the refinance closes, I’m joining a new networking group and will join the chamber using money from the refinance where I will have more opportunities for potential clients for my business. I have a brand-new client group that started last week where I knocked it out of the park. I’m really good at what I do. If it doesn’t work, we will be just fine.
Coach: How does it feel to think those thoughts.
Coach: That’s quite a swing. With the first voice, you felt -9. From the second voice you felt +10. Does the 2nd voice seem as true as the first voice?
Client: More true.
Coach: So, from +10, how would address each of the concerns you stated at the beginning of this conversation? Let’s go through them, one by one.
Coach: You have to pay for the appraisal up front and you don’t have the money.
Client: I will review and address my budget temporarily.
Coach: Your husband has a 25-year old vehicle that you need to replace and you’re depending on the refinance.
Client: I’m not going to worry about the vehicle until after the refinance is complete.
Coach: You’re leaving for vacation and you’re afraid that you can’t afford it.
Client: I will ask my husband to see if he can get the check that won’t show up until after we leave for vacation early.
Coach: You’re worried that your worry about money will take you out and you won’t continue to build your business.
Client: I will do my thought work and stay empowered so that I can take the actions needed to build my business.
Coach: There is a lot that you need to do to get ready for the appraisal.
Client: I will schedule my time to work on the house for the appraisal and work on the business.
Turning Negative Thoughts Into Positive Ones
Apparently, my client’s body liked the second answer much better than the first. From this new answer, a more positive and empowering story that was just as believable as the first answer, she was able to be in the same circumstance empowered, focused and clear. For each of the worries she initially stated from her disempowered position, she identified actions she would take from an empowered place, none of which were inauthentic.
Before this conversation, the client was not aware of her internal subconscious dialogue. By taking a few moments to acknowledge the thoughts she was focusing her conscious attention on as well as the feedback her body was providing, she was able to quickly shift her perspective.
Moving Subconscious to Conscious
She moved the dialogue from subconscious to conscious where she could be in choice about where to train her attention.
Sometimes the dissenting voice is so strong that it is not willing to give ground. This is the voice of survival and is designed to keep you safe. If you can negotiate some space with that voice for another opinion or view, you may notice that there is another voice of wisdom. If you can access this voice, you will find the power to create the life you want. Creating a life you don’t already have requires a much more expansive energy than the restrictive and constricted energy of fear and survival.
To get that empowering space, challenge some of your disempowering thoughts using The Work of Byron Katie (www.thework.com) or use some of the Breakthrough Success Club tools in the Mindset Reset Group Coaching program. Once you have done some of this inner work, the voice of survival is willing to give some ground allowing the voice of wisdom to emerge.
The Steps To Take
Here are the steps to take to shift into an empowered mindset.
- Acknowledge your body’s disempowering feedback.
- Identify the question you are asking.
- You may need to do a thought download first. Speak or write all your concerns. What is your big fear in the form of a question?
- Notice how fear answers that question. Tell your fear story.
- Notice the impact that your fear story has on your personal empowerment.
- Measure this using the Emotometer
- Find an empowering internal voice.
- Tell that story.
- Notice the feedback your body provides to the wisdom story.
- Using the Emotometer, notice the impact this has on your personal empowerment.
- Take actions inspired by your wisdom story.