As I sat across the cafe table from Mark, I could see anxiety lines on his forehead. I noticed he had his coffee cup in a death grip, when he began catching me up on the last two weeks of progress toward his goal of starting a business. From my side of the table, it sounded like he was right on track. We had made a checklist, and he was right on target with that. He had plenty of financial reserves to provide a nice cushion. What could be wrong?
From Mark’s perspective, his worry was productive. He kept painting ‘what if’ scenarios. I quickly saw that he had shifted his focus from ‘enthusiastic anticipation’ to ‘what might go wrong’. Watching the circling drain, he was sure things were going to go wrong, and then, his plans would be down the toilet. He was absorbed in trying to prevent trouble, when there was no evidence of trouble. It was all about his focus.
Been here? Energetically moving toward what you want ( a new goal, a loving relationship, a new venture, a healthy lifestyle program) You’re diligently carrying on, when, it all begins to look like a nightmare. Where did all the good feelings go? The excitement? Like Mark, worry, doom and gloom move in to threaten your world? And you stop. How do you move through sluggish pea soup to get back to your original intention?
What happened to Mark is called “Failure Impact Predictions”, and when that happens, stress skyrockets. Mark’s mind shifted from happy to wary, as a method of protecting himself from disappointment. (He was unaware of this pattern). But at what cost!
What I did with Mark, and what you can do when this happens to you, is to shift your focus. To do that, ask yourself these questions (and write down the answers) :
- Remind yourself about what progress you HAVE made.
- What kind of energy do you have for this goal? What would increase the energy?
- What resources can you tap into to move ahead?
- Who could help you with this goal
- Accomplishing the new goal will bring change. How can you support this change?
Awareness, and reconnecting to his goal made a difference in Mark’s outlook. His fingers relaxed around that coffee cup. The sparkle came back into his eyes. Relief!