Have you heard the quote from Henry Ford “Wither you think you can or you can’t your right”? The power behind the quote lies in the notion that your thoughts determine your trajectory. Our emotions have the ability and tendency to highjack our thoughts. Let me prove it. Think about a day where you woke up and everything was going according to plan. What were you thinking about? Your plans for the day, the evening? Maybe you were listening to music or planning a vacation in your head. Now think about that moment being snatched away. Maybe someone cut you off in traffic or was short with you in a check out line. Maybe you experienced a loss. Whatever the case your positive thought was interrupted by emotion and your emotion began to drive your thought.
What if you could take back the steering wheel in your mind and go back to your positive thoughts. Positive thoughts are not just a way of saying, “thinking something nice” when I use the term positive thought I am referring to forward thinking thoughts. Thoughts that push you towards your end goals. Innovative, creative, solution creating operating in the positive rather than the negative kinds of thoughts. These thoughts are the first steps to true change.
So how do you take back the power of thought the driver of action through the implementation of self-awareness? By using the four questions.
The first question is How do I feel? It is easy to get so busy with our lives that we forget to take notice when something occurs that changes our state of being. It is not often that the average person takes the time out to stop and analyze their feelings before moving from one state of being to another. For example, when is the last time something upset you and you made a conscious analysis that going from one state of being such as calm to another such as energetic was the best thing for you or the situation at hand. This first question is important because it causes you to take notice to and acknowledge the shift.
This next question is When did I start to feel this way? The closer you can get to identifying when your shift in emotion happened the easier it will be to identify your true feelings later on. Here is the thing everyone has triggers, but not everyone knows what their triggers are. Knowing when your emotions shifted allows you to identify your triggers and stop them from derailing your day. Think back to when your emotion changed. Were you speaking with someone? Watching or reading something? Did you lose or miss out on a sale or deal? When did the shift occur?
The third question helps you get to the nitty-gritty of why your triggers are in fact YOUR triggers. Why do I feel this way? When the event occurred why did it elicit the response from you that it did? Are you feeling like you need to protect your heart? Defend your position? If so, why? Understanding the answers to these questions helps you limit the amount of time and power your emotions have over your thoughts. After much practice, you will be able to sit back and say, “Oh I felt this way because…” and move back to your positive thoughts.
The last question may seem like the first but your answer may be completely different. By this point, you’ve identified when and why you feel the way you do meaning you are equipped to address the root feeling. It is at this point you want to ask yourself, “How do I feel?” Now that you’ve properly identified your emotions you can choose whether to hold on to the feeling associated with the experience or let it go. We can’t always control how we initially feel but I believe we can control whether or not we give those feelings control over the rest of our day, year, or life.
To learn how to take your newly identified emotions and use them as fuel for your purpose, join my Live Emotional Intelligence Masterclass.