Today, I was reminded of a quote from Mark Twain.
“I’ve lived through some terrible things in my life, some of which actually happened.”
The thought came to me while I was thinking about a phone call I had to make that would undoubtedly stir up some conflict. It was work related, and it was to coach a staff member on communication. I was thinking about all of the hypothetical ways the conversation could go. Would he be defensive? Argumentative? Our history would tell me he would be evasive and likely give me the cold-shoulder for a few days because he is typically not open to feedback or mentoring – something I learned early on working with him.
And then – BAM: Mark Twain crossed my mind. Which changed my thought from stressful, to more assertive.
I was fabricating stress. From nothing but a single task in my day, a 10 minute phone call was causing an additional 10 minutes of stress. Why? Because I was allowing it to. I was choosing to think about what could come of the call rather than simply making the call. Overthinking, sure. How do we get outside our own head?
We rip it like a bandaid or we jump right in like a pool that’s too cold (you know how I feel about cliches and the like). We take action, ready or not; here we go.
If we measure our stress in minutes, we can truly look to minimize it effectively. My example could have been the 10 minute pre-phone call of over-thinking, the actual 10 minute phone call, and let’s say 10 minutes after the call thinking “oh I could’ve said…” That’s 30 minutes of stress, and what did you accomplish?
So, I chose not to let it become that. After all, he and I both have a job to do, it is not personal. Our positions are interconnected and we need to communicate; so I did. He understood my message and we move forward with clear expectations. Was it a good call? Yes, an issue won’t happen again in the future. Was it pleasant? Sure, we were professional and were both heard. Was it stressful? Not for me and I while I have to ability to be assertive (not aggressive or passive), I can’t control how he will perceive the call therefore; I choose not to take ownership of his emotional response, but instead to be as supportive as possible towards our relationship and our continued teamwork. I was my best self and moved forward; feels like we’re moving together.
So; how do we get outside our own head?
First, decide that you want to.
This can also be referred to as: admitting you have a problem.
Second, live the solution. Easier said than done? Maybe not.
I believe that so many of our problems have obvious solutions and so many of these problems are also self-inflicted.
It doesn’t take an over-thinker to know how to accomplish your goal. For example:
Do you have some pounds you want to lose? Well, what is your diet and exercise routine? Do you dislike your job? When was the last time you prepped your resume and applied for something else? Is your partner not giving you what you need? Have you told them that you need something? Is your house a series of unfinished projects? Have you been watching TV when you could’ve worked on something?
Look up and look out.
Take action and start moving towards where you wanted to be.
If you had to cross the street for a million dollars, you’d probably run! Well, would you? Would you even move? Why?
Everything is easy if you really want it, all you have to do right now is start. If you don’t know what you want than you might still need to find your passion or overcome some thoughts holding you back. We all get stuck and it’s okay, but don’t stop and build a place to live in a dark place. As the lyrics go: “If you’re going through hell – keep on going.”
Look up and look out, set your eyes on the horizon of your dreams, they are rising for you – get there! And if you are feeling lost, get out and be open to those everyday angels that exist to help you find the way.
So much of our life is a matter of perspective, and if you’re determined, you will find your passion – and soon. I can only assure you that you will find it if you look. Or better; it may find you, but even then, you must be open to it and have room in your life and most importantly; your heart for all the wonderful happenings that come along with living the life you love.
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