I heard this line in a book I'm reading, (or should I say listening to, as Audible currently has a premium on my book "reading" time).
"Edit the dialog for clarity."
It jumped out at me and hung there in the air on the stage of my brain, inviting me in to explore deeper. Am I being clear enough internally with what I want and where I want to be in my life?
How we communicate internally matters. We have 12,000 - 60,000 thoughts a day, 80% of which are negative, and 95% are the same repetitive thoughts we had the day before according to the findings in a study published by National Science Foundation. Yikes!
Meaning we are all playing a broken record in our minds day in and day out.
According to Lao Tzu,
“Watch your thoughts,
they become your words;
watch your words,
they become your actions;
watch your actions,
they become your habits;
watch your habits,
they become your character;
watch your character,
it becomes your destiny.”
If our thoughts lead directly to action, habits, our character, and ultimately, our destiny, how can we transform them from negative to positive?
Mindfullness is the first step. Acknowledgement.
If the thought is negative, and you continue having it over and over and over again, it is helpful to apply this three-part decision-making process to the thought. You create three columns:
And then fill them out for each negative thought.
For example, say that you are worried about going live on social media for the first time to promote your business. What are some things that could go wrong?
The tech could fail. Maybe no one will show up to watch. You could have spinach in your teeth. You could completely blank out about what you are going to say.
How can you minimize the likelihood of these happening?
You could do a test run at a time you know most people are not online. I have done this before and just said “hey everyone, I’m doing a test run!”
You could email your supportive friends and family members and your email list to alert them to the time you are going live for a better chance of people showing up. And an email 5-10 minutes before works wonders.
Do a quick check in the mirror before going live to makes sure there is no greenery where you don’t want it.
And finally, write out a bulleted list to have in front of you off-camera so if you forget what you wanted to say you have a reminder. I also like to write out the full first sentence and memorize/practice it as a confidence booster. Hitting “Go Live” can be scary!
Now, say one of the above worries does materialize. You went live but were muted. Exactly zero people showed up. There was hidden mango in your teeth. Or halfway through you went silent for a full minute.
To get back to where you were before: if you were muted, just go live again. The second time might even go better because you got a dress rehearsal.
If no one showed up, promote the recording after the fact. And what a relief, maybe it was easier talking if no one was listening live!
If there was mango in your teeth, was it very noticeable? If so, feel free to delete the live and move on.
If you went silent, feel free to also delete the live. The important piece is that you did it, and the next time it will be easier.
If I am having thoughts that are particularly stressful in the moment, I also use what is called square breathing that a friend in college taught me. Here is how it works:
As long as you need to. I have heard they teach this trick in the military, so I can fully say this is a tried and tested method.
When it comes to our BIG GOALS and dreams in life, which make our hearts sing and provide purpose, there is a way to fast-track making them come true.
And the first part of that is making sure that our inner dialog is in alignment. Instead of worrying about how hard it will be to get where you would like, instead create SMART goals.
I know, I'm groaning too. I learned about SMART goals a lifetime ago and they just seem like so much work!
For those new to SMART goals, they are simply goals that are
This basically breaks down to Who | What | Why | Where | When | How, which is a bit easier to dissect.
For example, one of my goals is to be able to feed my family more nutritious food. It's a great goal, but not very specific.
Instead, I am going to focus on sending my kids to school each day with more nutritious snacks.
Broken down, I can make it more specific and clarify:
My two children
Send them to school with more nutritious snacks such as dried apples, popcorn, grapes, home grown carrots and cherry tomatoes, and homemade granola bars
It is one of the best ways to fight off disease and keep them healthy
I will either purchase healthier items at the store or grow/ harvest/ process foods at home
I go grocery shopping on Thursdays and harvest/cook on nights and weekends
I will create a list on Sunday of the five snacks I would like to be available the next week and make sure I have them
By creating this very specific “map” of not only your end goal, but the “why” and “how” you’re going to get there, you have a much greater chance of meeting that goal.
I honestly still fall back some days on chips and cookies, but for the most part, my kids get healthier snacks in general than before I created the specifics around attaining this goal.
Now when I think about having 12,000 – 60,000 thoughts a day, which is a lot of energy to be putting out into the universe, it is important to make sure that the thoughts regarding our futures and where we’re going are just as clear.
If we keep repeating the same thoughts over and over, and those thoughts ultimately become our destiny, I think it’s pretty important that we edit those thoughts for clarity!!
Instead of thinking something along the lines of, “I want to run my own business and have full freedom over my time,” try editing this dialog for clarity and making it much more specific.
What about, “I have noticed that people ask me for advice around xyz, and I could turn this subject into a business that could both solve their problems and scale via abc.” This specificity should start the process of getting your mind going in a more focused direction that could actually lead to running your own business vs. just thinking about it.
Now, starting a business is a process, and is full of baby steps. But once you start editing your internal dialog to be more clear, there is no holding your mind back from figuring out the next step and then the next.
The same works for your life goals. Maybe you have dreamt of swimming the English Channel or going on an African safari. Well, put together a Who/What/Why/Where/When/How analysis and give your brain some specifics. See how long it takes you to be able to check those off your list!
Achieving great things is not something you can do sitting in your cozy chair curled up watching Netflix. If it was, everyone would be achieving great things on a daily basis. It takes the combination of mental clarity and action. If you can put those together, you will be amazed at what you can accomplish.
I would love to know, what is something that you obsessively repeat in your mind every day that you will try to work through using the three-step process listed here? And what is one of your big goals that just needs some clarity to get started? Email me at [email protected] or post to Collinson Creative on Facebook.