Starting a new career at any time can be daunting. Starting one mid-life? Pretty interesting.
As I type this, I’m working hard not to slip into my old mindset.
Because who wants to hear what I have to say? What right have I got to talk about things like coaching and self-improvement?
It was the same at times during my career in advertising when my inner critic was at full volume. Not speaking up during a meeting. Secretly hoping that I’d be overlooked for a new business pitch. I could go on.
All because I was worried what I had to say was worth less than the thoughts of others.
But as much as I want you to like what I’m writing, it’s the putting my thoughts out there that really matters to me now.
I can’t control what you think. But I can control my hitting “enter”.
In the past, this would be sitting in my draft folder.
I would be p*ssed off with myself and my self talk would beat me up, annoyed that things weren’t as good as I wanted them to be. Even though I’d made no attempt to change things for the better.
But I became more like Michael Jordan (bit of a stretch, but bear with me…).
Nothing to do with my baller skills on court. Or with the “Air” that is measured in inches and not feet when I jump. Or the medal, trophies, wealth, fast cars and cigars. Unfortunately.
It was all to do with the events and situations in my life that I was experiencing.
You see, events don't have any meaning. Or not until we decide to assign them a meaning.
For most people, a deciding three pointer in the final seconds of a game would have a seemingly disastrous meaning. Miss the shot, and MJ’s a loser. He’s the one who let the team, the fans, the city down.
Previously, pressing the “Post” button would have meant I was exposing myself to ridicule.
But for MJ and myself (I know I’m milking this friendship), we have been able to change our thoughts based on a simple action: the reframe.
Every thought we have has a hidden frame, a different meaning we can assign to it.
For Michael, the highly pressurised shot was an opportunity to push himself to another level. Missing the shot was a failure. But it did not mean he was a failure. It was a catalyst for growth.
For me, publishing and posting has been transformed from meaning it was something to fear, into the potential to help others that have felt equally stuck in their lives with unhelpful thinking. It’s allowed me to discover hidden resources that I was unaware I had.
So, what does this mean for you?
There may be things going on that are genuinely difficult challenges for you. But many of the situations you perceive to be challenging may only be so because you’ve decided to interpret them that way.
The next time you’re in a situation where negative thoughts are starting to flood your mind and hold you back, just pause for a sec.
Notice what you’re thinking, feeling, believing.
Instead of this situation meaning you’re about to face impending doom, ask yourself this powerful question:
“WHAT ELSE MIGHT THIS MEAN?”
In doing so, be mindful of your language. We can be very cruel in our inner dialogue with ourselves. Use kinder words.
Challenge yourself to create a positive meaning for the event that’s causing you distress.
Remember, you have the choice to decide what things mean. Make the meaning work for you.
If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.