Are Kim’s beliefs limiting her or empowering her?
Kim may or may not continue to believe her conclusions depending on how the rest of her day goes. This set of beliefs that she created are formed from what she knows from her past, and what she learns throughout the days ahead to prove or disprove them. She may decide to believe all, some or none of them. But she may not bring awareness to her thoughts at all, letting them naturally take their course under the layers until they play out in similar circumstances in the future.
- How do we catch the opportunities as they happen so we can intentionally, and with awareness, acknowledge them?
- Would it be helpful to affirm the truths within them?
- Would it help to understand ourselves within the opportunities to see if we want to learn from them?
- How can we influence our futures with intentional thoughts and intentional actions to create empowering outcomes that transform us?
Our feelings are often our first indication that something is not quite right. Our physical body might react to the emotions that we are feeling as Kim’s did when her heart pumped fast, she clenched her jaw, gripped the steering wheel or walked stiffly into the meeting. Those are our first opportunities to check in and ask ourselves what is happening and why.
It is so easy to forget that we have emotional responses to almost everything that happens in our lives, whether we notice them or not. Only 36% of the people we tested were able to accurately identify their emotions as they happen.” (“Emotional Intelligence 2.0;
Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves)
Feelings play a big role in the children’s story of the Velveteen Rabbit. When we are ‘real’ we are honest about how we feel. We behave in a way that is authentic and sensitive to our emotions and we respect what our feelings are telling us. This is not because emotions are superior to reason. We need both. Our feelings give us the truest and most immediate feedback possible about many situations. They flash early warning signals in times of danger and reliable green lights when we encounter good.
(‘The Velveteen Principles’; Toni Raiten-D’Antonio)
Our thoughts are framed from past experiences and also create our compass forward. If we do not raise our self-awareness to check in on their truths, we may be steering ourselves in the same directions repeatedly.
Research shows that the average person has about 50,000 thoughts every day. There is a strong relationship between what you think and what you feel. Because you are always thinking, (much like breathing), you tend to forget that you are doing it. You likely don’t even realize how much your thoughts dictate how you feel every hour of every day.” (“Emotional Intelligence 2.0;
Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves).
When we rush to judgmental conclusions, assume, label, blame or make excuses for something or someone doing something to us, our thoughts drive us to react instead of act.
Quick Response vs ‘Catch and Question’©
Kim chose to think that she:
- Was intentionally slowed down by others
- Had done something wrong because her boss frowned at her
- That her colleagues were thinking negatively about her because they were unusually quiet
Her thoughts drove her to question her own success and desire for staying in a job she liked. Kim had several opportunities to ‘Catch and Question’.
Our beliefs are the assumptions we make about situations, ourselves, others and how we expect things to be. Beliefs are about how we think things really are. They are our truths and facts that influence our responses. They seem tangible and real and are formed from the conclusions we make from our emotions and thoughts in previous situations or circumstances. Without awareness, we may rush to conclusions again, forgetting that we do have the ability to check in with ourselves on their current truths and find out more.
If our feelings and thoughts have contributed to our beliefs…which have caused us to act in certain ways in the past, (and most likely again in the future when certain triggers are present), how can we
‘Catch and Question’ ourselves to reach our best outcomes?
The ‘Catch and Question’ Power Tool
This tool can be used any time we feel an emotional response or behavior that is uncomfortable, unwanted or does not serve us. Through increased self-awareness, it stops the automatic chain of disempowering thoughts and feelings that drive behaviors that we may later regret or are not based in truth at all.
Catch our Response!
Most of us know our triggers; the emotions or physical reactions that seem to be quick and automatic.
Feel the feelings to identify their causes:
- What are they? How do they feel to me and in me?
- Are there patterns of when and how they show up?
Catch our Thoughts!
- What are my thoughts in this situation right now?
- Why might I be thinking this?
- Are these thoughts taking away my energy or replenishing my energy?
Question our Beliefs!
- How do I know my thoughts are true in this situation?
- What else could I believe or feel if they are not?
- How do I want to feel?
- How am I contributing to this situation?
Reframe and Go!
- What would my ideal outcome look like?
- What new thoughts and actions do I want to choose now?
- How does that make me feel?
- What steps do I want to take?
Quick Response vs ‘Catch and Question’©