Life isn’t like that, as you and I know. We all experience situations that we’d prefer not to. Thankfully, if we’re open to them, we also experience many fabulous times. Yet whatever we do, we can never live a life that’s without some pain, loss, stress or sadness.
So if we can’t control everything that happens to us, what can we do? Well, we can influence the outcome. And here’s how…
Change Your Outcome
It’s all about changing our response to situations.
Let me give you an example:
Maggie was fearful of being in meetings, scared to raise her own points and feeling her opinions weren’t valid. Consequently, she held back in meetings, or avoided them completely, and tended to listen, rather than contribute, even when she felt her own approach might be better than those voiced. Her view of herself was that she was not worthy of contributing, so she didn’t.
When we looked at Maggie’s view of herself, we discovered something very interesting. First she realised she could not find evidence to back up ways in which she wasn’t worthy. She even remembered times when she had pushed herself to contribute in meetings, and her points had been acknowledged and validated. Then, when she described how she wanted to be in meetings, she realised she was that ‘calm and confident’ person inside already – her at her best, when she allowed herself to be.
It didn’t take long for Maggie to adjust her view of herself to something not just more helpful and positive, but also more accurate. She realised she really was capable of calm and confidence in meetings. She reminded herself that she did have valid points to contribute. It became clear that her opinions were valued, and used, by others, and so her calm and confidence grew.
Maggie’s belief about herself had changed, and so had her outcome.
The Game of Consequences
…it’s as easy as ABC!
A = antecedent (the situation which you face)
B = your beliefs and thoughts regarding the situation
C = the consequence, or outcome
We can’t always change the A – the situations we face.
We can change our beliefs about that situation or about ourselves in that situation.
Beliefs are simply repeated thoughts. Thoughts we have had enough times to enter our belief system. Habitual thoughts.
If our beliefs aren’t working for us, we can change them. It takes time and repetition of the new thought, yet eventually our new, empowering belief is born.
And if we stick with it, we can have a completely different outcome.
- You go for a job interview, and instead of telling yourself you will be too nervous, insufficiently qualified or will mess up, you believe you will be confident, knowledgable and a match for the job. Far from messing up, you impress and are offered the job.
- Your holiday is cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances, and instead of wallowing in the depths of self-pity of a “wasted week off work”, you use this as an opportunity to catch up with rest and friends, and to spend some of your holiday money on the outfit you’d wanted.
- A big project at work lands on your desk at the same time as a team-member goes off sick. Instead of feeling swamped, working all hours and letting everyone know how hard-done you are, you take responsibility for looking after yourself, limiting your hours so you get sufficient rest, and use the opportunity to shine and position yourself for the promotion you long for.
Same situation. Different beliefs leading to different outcomes.
It’s not possible to do this all the time. We are human, and we can face very challenging situations.
But we can bounce back again, if we choose our belief and therefore our response.
The ABC of Changing Your Outcome
Next time you face a challenging situation, think ABC:
What are the beliefs you have around this?
Are they helpful?
If not, what different beliefs could you have which would be helpful?
Then choose your thoughts and your approach, and notice the consequence.
I’m rooting for you that, in the challenging situations you face, you will find thoughts that will help you move forward positively and confidently.
Do it – and change your outcome!