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Friday, 29 January 2016

Are you watching your language?

Often in coaching sessions I hear words like:
  • "I've got to do this because it's the only way I'll get the bills paid - but I hate doing it - I wish I was doing something else instead"
  • "There's no other solution"
  • "That won't work"
  • "I can't do it"
  • "It might work for x but it won't work for me" 
  • "In an ideal world"
I agree with Henry ford if that's what you think you're right!

In response to these words in a coaching session I might ask you:
  • What evidence do you have to support your statement 
  • Is that true?
  • What are the benefits of believing that?
  • How have other people achieved this?
  • Who would you be without that thought? 
  • What if you could do it? 
and other questions that would get you thinking about the beliefs you have, and the impact they may be having, on your life and you achieving the goals you've just told me you want to achieve.

That is we could explore the different ways you're stopping yourself from achieving your goal.

However more simplistically changing the language might just be the first step.

That is if you believe there is no solution then you won't look for another one, or notice them, or do anything to determine whether the statement is true ie you've clearly made your mind up that there is no solution. If you believe you can't you won't even try.

Try this experiment for me (taking care to listen to your body, and only do what it feels comfortable and easy to do - it's a comparative exercise not a competition".

Please do the exercise as you read the instructions keeping your feet and hips facing forward, and in the same place throughout.
  1. Stand up straight - with enough space to put your arms straight up in front of you, and to the side and back.
  2. Keeping your feet and legs still and facing forward, turn your arm, head and body around to the back of you and keep going (easily and effortlessly), and when you've turned as far as you can - notice a spot on the wall so you know how far you went.
  3. Return to the original position.
  4. Now think about being able to do it, about it being sooo easy and effortless, about other things you've done that you've done easily, about going with the flow, length, flexible, easy, and on track. Just amp up the feeling of being able to do it. As you do this do step 5.
  5. Keeping your feet still and facing forward, turn your arm around to the back of you and keep going (remember easily and effortlessly), and when you've turned as far as you can notice this spot on the wall.
  6. Return to the original position.
  7. How did it compare to the original spot? 
  8. Now think about not being able to do it, about it being difficult to do, about other things you've done that were hard to do, walking through treacle, stiff, short, difficult, stuck and useless. Just amp up the feeling of not being able to do it. As you do this do step 9.
  9. Keeping your feet still, turn your arm around to the back of you and keep going (easily and effortlessly), and when you've turned as far as you can notice this spot on the wall.
  10. Return to the original position, put your arm down and relax and shake your shoulders and arms a little to release any tension. 
  11. How did the 3 positions compare?
For many of you reading there will have been a difference between the 3 exercises - with No 4 taking you the furthest, and No 8 taking you the shortest. You started with the same body, and yet your thoughts impacted what it could do. We are doing that everyday and it's so often the thoughts that determine the outcome.

For some there will have been a difference between the 3 exercises - with No 8 taking you the furthest. If you went further every time it could just be flexibility that improved. However as your coach I'd certainly want to explore with you if in fact you're more motivated by telling yourself you can't do something than when you believe you can. It's still the power of your mind over your body just a different sort of power! 

For others there may have been no difference between the 3 exercises. In a coaching session we might explore why that might be, and explore other means of demonstrating to you the power of your mind over the outcome. It's not something I can easily explore here in the blog.

Having demonstrated the power of language I'd like to return to the original sayings to consider how these might be changed to make it more likely that we can shift the outcome we're getting:
  • "I've got to do this because it's the only way I'll get the bills paid - but I hate doing it - I wish I was doing something else instead" becomes "I'm choosing to do this currently to pay the bills until I find something I love doing that will pay them instead" 
  • "There's no other solution" becomes "so far I've been unable to find an alternative solution that meets my criteria - but I'll keep on looking"
  • "That won't work" becomes "With the evidence I have I can't currently see how it will work, but I'm open to understand how it can"
  • "I can't do it" becomes "in the past I was unable to do it - I may be able to do it in the future - I'd like to explore what resources I need to do it"
  • "It might work for x but it won't work for me" becomes "As it's worked for someone else then there's no reason to suggest it won't work for me - let's find out how"  
  • "In an ideal world" becomes "it's something I would like to see happening in the world, so I'm going to explore how to make that a reality, or move towards it anyway"
Did you notice how the second sentences felt very much different from the originals, and how they also allowed a solution to be possible?

In what areas of your life might your language be what's getting in the way of you achieving your goals? (You can find more here on a series of blogs I wrote in January 2015 on how to achieve your goals.)

Alison Smith 
The Purchasing Coach
Inspiring Change Inside and Out
#WatchYourLanguage

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