I was sipping a lovely espresso. The sun was in my face, jazzy music in the background. I overheard the two people at the table next to me complain about their work situation. That is when it struck me.
People, including myself, are really clear on what they do not want. They do not want to be treated a certain way, they do not want to work on such a such a project, they do not want to be strangled by the corporate procedures, they do not want to…… Do you recognize this?
In my previous job I mainly thought about what I no longer wanted. I would call a colleague to moan about the things that happened to me. It felt good, a relief. It brought me friendships and closeness. But also, by focusing on what I did not want, I seemed to get of more of it, or at least I noticed it in more and more places.
Let me illustrate this with a little experiment. I would like you to close your eyes for a minute, and when you open them please look around for everything that is red.
Now close your eyes again. Can you tell me: hoe many blue things did you see? Ah that is cheeky, isn’t it? Well yes and no. Seriously, how many blue things do you see? There may be even more blue things than red things. My point is: what you focus on grows. Your brain scans for it, looks for it.
So if you want to move forward to shape your future in the way you want, you need you direct your focus to what you do want.
For me this insight was very powerful. I got it when I went on a meditation course and the teacher told me the story of the two dogs. He said that there always two dogs fighting in your head. A positive dog and a negative one. They are fighting for your attention really. And the thing is, you only have one food bowl, and this means you can only feed one dog. What you focus on, what you feed, grows. And I realized that it is much better for me to focus on the positive dog and to feed that.
Are you clear on what you want your ideal (working) life to look like? Can you see it clearly? Could you write about it or draw it out? Which dog are you feeding every day?
This is particularly important when you work with other people. Because if you are focused on what you do not want, there is a pretty big chance that in your conversations with them you focus on what you do not want.
But then – then they don’t know what you do want. It is thus much more empowering to tell them what you are after and what you would like from them. Now you won’t always get agreement, but at least you are both clear on where you want to go. And then can you have a conversation about what it will take from both of you to get there.
If you need help in crystallizing your future, give us a shout! Module 2 of the Work On Your Term program is totally focussed around this topic.