Guest Blogger: Chris Angell
FIVE+ ONE – THINKING PART 1, THE FIRST DISCIPLINE: THINKING
“As business owners and leaders, we are the creative designers of our ventures. We are the architects of our future. We do this most effortlessly by mastering the first discipline of business: THINKING.” - Chas Wilson pg. 14, Five+ One
Being in business is a mentally tough journey. Despite our best efforts to stay positive, the mind can be a dark and snarky place. If we don’t master how we think, our thinking can delay or destroy the business and life we set out to create.
I’ve always been a positive person but nothing has stolen my joy more than running my own business. From managing people who disappoint to tight financial seasons or even your own judgement that you should be further than you currently are… keeping a sharp, constructive and positive mind is an non-stop act of counter-balancing.
It takes real honesty and self-awareness to acknowledge where your thinking falls short. It would be easy to just numb out scary thoughts with your guilty pleasure. I would assert that many in business do. We put on our “I have it all together” suits and go out to lead the world. So many of us don’t want to look in the shadows where our stinkin’ thinkin’ lives. And that becomes a lid on our growth and our joy.
The good news? While you don’t always control your first thought, you can control your second thought. Accessing a better mindset on command is your ticket to everything you envision for your life. Everything.
Here are 3 tools that I use to help me stop my stinkin’ thinkin’ in its tracks and create a new frame of mind.
I have used journaling the longest. Everyone does journaling different and you need to find what works for you. I don’t use it like a diary or memoir. I like to simply get my thoughts out on paper. It’s where I go to think. Sometimes I lead with my fear, frustration or negative self talk and write that down. Sometimes I ask a question I’m wrestling with. And then I just write the thoughts that come to me. Often I’ll add clarifying questions in my journal and then go back to writing the thoughts that come.
Leaving these thoughts inside my head often leave me feeling stuck. This process of getting the thoughts out of my head helps me get unstuck by confronting what’s there. Like the boogie man, it’s better to turn on the lights and see for yourself that he’s not really there than to stay in the darkness and fear where your mind can escalate the fear.
I wasn’t always a reader. It wasn’t until getting into business that I found my ravenous reader. But not all books are constructive for pulling you out of a funk. In fact, some books can push you further down. For me, How To books just make my To Do list longer, which can increase the snarky dialogue in my head, which causes me to feel more behind and less accomplished than maybe I really am.
The kind of books that really pull me out of a mental funk are the ones that speak to my soul. They put me in touch with the bigger picture and center me in my own power. Sometimes these are business books (Seth Godin books often do this for me). But more often they’re spiritual and self help books. Some of my favorite authors are Wayne Dyer, Gary Zukov and Neale Donald Walsch. When I’m feeling stuck, I will often go back to the same books and reread them.
You’ll have your own style of books and authors that stop stinkin’ thinkin’ in it tracks. Chances are you’ve already read some and if you go back in time you can feel how those books put you back into your power.
Podcasts are similar to books for me in that certain ones connect me back to my power. Again, How-To types of content can be good when I’m in productive mode, but can derail me when I’m dealing with negative thoughts.
One of the reasons I really like podcasts is that I can listen to them in the car or on my daily walks. As I listen, it’s like my brain presses pause on the negative “I feel stuck” dialogue and begins to fill with inspiration and empowered perspective. By the end of the podcast I am reoriented to my power and the negative thoughts have evaporated into thin air.
You’ll want to find a couple podcasts that connect you to your power and remind you of who you are and why you’re here. Then when you feel stuck in your thoughts, go back to these special podcasts and let them help return you to power.
Stinkin’ thinkin’ comes from a lack of empowered perspective. These 3 tools can be your epipen when you’re falling down the mental death spiral. If you don’t currently have these tools in place, play with them and find the ones that connect you to your power. We’re all geniuses. All of us are powerful. Feeling that power jump starts our vision and perspective, putting us back in the driver’s seat of our business and life.
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