If you’re like everyone else I know, you have a constant internal monologue of thoughts or questions running through your head at any given time. These thoughts could be about a person, a situation, a stresser, a fear, a hope, or any number of things. The thoughts we have create feelings. These feelings can hinder your success.
Those feelings often present themselves as that nagging fear that just won’t leave you alone. That anxiety that takes you out. The anger that flashes at the most inconvenient moments. The sadness you feel that doesn’t seem to be related to anything that makes any sense. That sudden joy when things go your way. That feeling of love or appreciation that lights up your heart. That non-authorized face-leaking.
Your Subconscious Tells You How to Feel
These feelings are all signals from your body in response to how you answer your internal questions.
Each time you think or speak a question, your subconscious provides an answer. Because the answer comes from your subconscious, you are probably not aware that you are answering your question. What you probably notice first is the feeling: your body’s feedback.
If you pay attention to your body, you may notice that your body is instantly aware of your answer. Your body gives you feedback in the form of feelings and body sensations. If your body likes your answer, you will get feedback that feels empowering. If your body doesn’t like your answer, you will get feedback that feels disempowering. We’ve all had that “gut” feeling, haven’t we?
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’ve got to pay up front for the appraisal, and that means I will have to rearrange bills so I can pay for it. My husband has a 25-year old vehicle that we’ve got to replace, and I depend on the refinance to get the money to buy another 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 think all those thoughts?
Client: I feel panicked.
Coach: What is it that you are afraid will happen?
Client: What if this doesn’t work?
Coach: How are you answering that question in your thoughts?
Client: I’m not – what question – oh – I’m trying to ignore those thoughts and the panic. I just want them to go away.
Turning Thoughts Into Feelings
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?
Client: -9 (-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 those answers. Those answers come from one voice that you are currently listening to. Are there any other opinions in there that are answering this question?
Looking at Things Through a Different Lens
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 to 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. With the second voice, you felt +10. Does the 2nd voice seem as true as the first voice?
Finding Solutions to the Thoughts
Coach: So from +10, how would you 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 depend 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 early that otherwise won’t show up until after we leave for vacation.
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, her body liked the second answer much better than the first. From this new positive (and believable) answer she was empowered, focused and clear in the same circumstance. 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.
But she took a few moments to acknowledge the feedback her body was providing. She identified her internal question and how she was answering that question, noticed her body’s feedback on her answers, and also found an empowering internal voice and told that story. And in a very short time frame, she was able to shift her perspective.
Moving Subconscious to Conscious
She moved the dialogue from subconscious to conscious where she could be in choice about where to focus her conscious 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 into that empowering space, you can challenge some of your disempowering answers and thoughts by using The Work of Byron Katie.
Once you have done enough self-inquiry, 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.