What Were You Thinking?

Thoughts are powerful; they are the seeds of ideas, beliefs, creativity, attitudes, knowledge, wisdom, and reality. Thoughts can be our best friends or our worst enemies. Not by happenstance do thoughts come to us; these powerful seeds come to us through choice. Choice and thoughts are action movements, directed by us, whether we are conscious of these activities or not. The key lies in awareness of these two incredible gifts—thoughts, and choices.Unconscious thoughts are just as powerful as thoughts steeped in awareness. Earl Nightingale, in The Strangest Secret, likened the mind to a fertile field with two planted seeds—one with corn and one with poisonous nightshade. Both seeds, watered and nurtured, grew—because to the field, the type of seeds planted did not matter.Our minds are the same way, growing whatever our attention plants and nurtures. I saw a sign the other day that stated ‘Worrying is like praying for something you don’t want.’ With the continued nurturing and care (attention) given to the seeds of worry, the source of worry will grow and become reality. That is how our minds work; we create our realities.In Thoughts & Feelings, Matthew McKay, Martha Davis, and Patrick Fanning identify fifteen key groups of disempowering perspectives:

  • Filtering – Focusing on the negative details of a situation and filtering out all positive aspects.
  • Polarized Thinking – Seeing a situation as either good or bad, right, or wrong, perfect or a failure.
  • Over-generalization – Making a general conclusion based on a single incident or piece of evidence.
  • Mind Reading – Making assumptions about what people are feeling, why they are acting as they are, and how they feel about you.
  • Catastrophizing – Assuming the worst possible outcome will happen.
  • Personalization – Thinking that everything people do or say is a reaction to you.
  • Control Fallacy – Thinking that you are responsible for everyone or everything around you.
  • Fallacy of Fairness – Being resentful because you believe that everything in life should be fair.
  • Emotional Reasoning – Believing that what you feel is the truth. For example, if you feel unwise, it means that you are unwise.
  • Fallacy of Change – Believing that you can’t be happy unless you can change those around you to behave, believe, or think the way you want them to.
  • Global Labeling – Generalizing one or two qualities into the negative global judgment.
  • Blaming – Thinking that someone else causes everything negative in your life.
  • Shoulds – You keep a list of rules about the way the world should operate and become angry or disappointed if others don’t follow your rules.
  • Being Right – Going to any length to demonstrate your rightness because being wrong is terrible.
  • Heaven’s Reward Fallacy – Feeling bitter when the rewards do not come that you think you deserve after working hard.

Awareness is the first step to disassembling disempowering thoughts. For today, be in awareness of your thoughts and please share your Aha moments!With love,Maria

4 Questions To Challenge Your Perception And Reality

It is important for us to reflect on our stories. You know these stories; they are well-crafted and visited repeatedly for years and sometimes decades. These are the stories we tell ourselves, building beliefs and behaviors based on these tales. As Plato reminded us, perception is reality.Our thoughts create our perceptions and our perceptions influence our emotional, psychological, and physical responses.I read Marianne Williamson’s book, “The Law of Divine Compensation” and was struck by her discussion about how negative thoughts deactivate the divine law, which falls into three major categories: (1) negative sense of self, (2) anger, and (3) guilt. Wow – the big three!This got me thinking how the big three derail other aspects of our life, including how we love others and how we lead others. As we reflect on a negative sense of self, anger, and guilt, let’s explore the following questions in this week’s video:Our stories are sometimes on auto pilot. We need to just flip off the auto pilot switch and create a new story. Close the chapter on the old one and start writing a new story.Think about this:When is the best time to plant an oak tree?Twenty years ago.When is the second best time to plant the tree?Now.When we step into awareness about our stories and thoughts, we come to realize that we can change those thoughts, and ultimately change our lives. What’s stopping you?I would love to hear from you. What new story do you want to create in your life?With love,Maria

3 Practices For Shifting Leadership Perceptions

Do you ever find yourself stuck, unable to accomplish that goal, or unable to overcome a fear of something or someone? As we discuss leadership, one common cause of stagnancy is the perceptions we hold within our minds. If you answered “yes” to any of those questions, explore these three practices for shifting those perceptions and facilitating a stronger leadership strategy.Beliefs and perceptions are like an iceberg; some perceptions are at the surface and easily identifiable. However, many of our beliefs and assumptions are so deeply ingrained and below the surface that we rarely bring those beliefs to our consciousness.Because they’re not in the forefront of our mind does not mean they don’t exist. Just like when a child sits in front of you, covers her eyes, and blissfully exclaims, “You can’t see me,”—it doesn’t mean we can’t see her.The negative voices and gremlins in our heads fuel underlying beliefs we have about ourselves, others, and the way we view the world. It’s important for us to step into awareness and recognize the beliefs that no longer serve us. For example, not talking to strangers is a common lesson taught to many of us as small children. As we grew into adulthood, we abandoned that belief, albeit unconsciously.Unconscious thoughts are just as powerful as thoughts steeped in awareness. Earl Nightingale, in The Strangest Secret, likened the mind to a fertile field with two planted seeds—one with corn and one with poisonous nightshade. Both seeds, watered and nurtured, grew—because to the field, the type of seeds planted doesn’t matter.Our minds are the same way, growing whatever our attention plants and nurtures. I saw a sign the other day that read, “Worrying is like praying for something you don’t want.”With the continued nurturing and care (attention) given to the seeds of worry, the source of worry will grow and become reality. That is how our minds work; we create our realities.Negative self-talk are weeds that have grown in our minds. We just need to develop our perception-shifting skill to remove those unwanted nightshades.Here are 3 steps to you develop your perception-shifting muscle:I want to finish today with the story of Plato’s cave. The shadows of the people outside the cave and distorted images from the fire flames all created a dark reality in the recesses of the cave. What dark reality exists within the confines of the caves of our mind?Thoughts are powerful; they are the seeds to ideas, beliefs, creativity, attitudes, knowledge, wisdom, and reality. Thoughts can be our best friends or our worst enemies. Not by happenstance do thoughts come to us, these powerful seeds come to us through choice. Choice and thoughts are action movements directed by us, whether we are conscious of these activities or not. The key lies in awareness of these two incredible gifts.As always, I love to hear from you. When have you discovered your initial perception to be false? How long did it take for you to shift your perception, and what were the results?With love,Maria