I am always fascinated…….
…….by the fact that I am teaching my daughters the very same things that we are teaching our clients on a daily basis. Similar issues and challenges come up, whether we are 9 or 49, they just look different depending on our age.
Yesterday was a really exciting day for us. My daughter made it to the high jump track meet and she was the only girl from her school that qualified. Our friends came to cheer her on and took her out for a celebratory slurpee afterwards. It was a great day!
Then, as I was tucking her in to bed she seemed upset, which was obviously surprising to me after the exciting day we had had. When I asked her what was up, she replied with “I can’t believe that guy kicked over my slurpee today! I am so mad.” That was what her mind focussed on. That afternoon while we were enjoying slurpees in the sun with our friends, Maddie’s slurpee (that was sitting on the walkway!) got kicked over.
And, while laying in bed after all the days exciting events, that’s what she was focussing on…….the guy that kicked over her slurpee.
What do I say to this?
And so, as I always do, I started teaching her what we are teaching adults every day. Unfortunately it seems to be our natural tendency to focus on what didn’t work in our day (or life!) unless we train our brains to think differently. I love teaching this to my girls and I really hope that because they are learning it now, it will be more natural for them to implement this mindset in their adult lives.
So, here’s how the conversation went…….
There were two things to consider. First: Our friends came to her high jump event to cheer her on and then took her for a celebratory slurpee (which is a big treat in our world!). Secondly: Her slurpee got kicked over. Both are true.
I then asked her “how do you feel when you think about the guy that kicked over your slurpee ?”
“MAD” she said angrily, jumping right back to the emotion of it.
And then I asked her “how do you feel when you think about your friends coming to watch you, so proud that they wanted to take you for a slurpee?”
“REALLY GOOD” she answered with a huge smile she couldn’t hold back (even though I’m sure she was trying……it’s easy and perhaps natural to want to hold on to the anger).
“So………………..what do you think would be a better thing to think about as you drift off to sleep tonight? We know that both are true, but one has you feeling mad and the other has you feeling happy. If you want to fall asleep feeling good then you need to make the choice to think about the thing that makes you feel good. But, it is your choice.”
Thankfully she decided to drift off to sleep feeling full of love and happy inside.
She is 9 years old. And she made a choice. She could have stayed stuck on the guy who kicked her slurpee over because, at 9 years old, that’s a big deal! But after I helped her recognize that thinking about her friends made her feel happy, she chose to focus on that. All she needed was some guidance to recognize the choice that she had.
Sometimes as adults we need guidance too.
Most people weren’t taught this as a child, but thankfully it can be learned at any age. It is a mindset. Our thoughts and where we focus our attention affects everything. It affects how we feel in our lives, it affects how we interact with other people (both personally and professionally), it affects our successes (and failures)………….everything.
So, ask yourself the question…….
What kind of mindset do you have? One that supports you in experiencing life to the fullest and feeling good? Or one that leaves you feeling bad at the end of the day? Is it time for you to begin to train your brain to think differently and take on a new mindset?