When we’re young, we’re taught to walk, talk, ride a bike, read, solve some math problems, and do a host of other things. But I can’t ever remember being taught to think.
As an educator, I do remember the first time I heard the word metacognition. It was a strange word to me, but it stuck with me. More importantly, the concept of thinking about thinking resonated with me.
There was an idea that was a little odd to me though. My administrators wanted me to teach my students to think about their own thinking. As a math teacher, I was struggling to teach my kids how to add, subtract, multiply and divide.
Teaching them to think was like asking me to fly to the moon and back.
But what would happen if we did teach our children to be aware of their cognitive processes? It would change their lives forever, I believe.
Imagine if we understood from a young age that we could be intentional about our thoughts. That our thoughts, not our circumstances, caused our feelings, drove our actions, and produced our results in life.
Let’s take a minute to unpack this idea and look at the elements of a self-coaching model.
Starting With Your Circumstances
Growing up I had the idea that my circumstances in life created my feelings. And if I wanted to change the way I felt, I had to change my circumstances.
I did that several times in a big way. To my chagrin, after some time, I ended up in the same old place. Every time I was looking for someone or something to make me happy.
Primarily, I looked to my husband, but I would also lean on my family and friends. And then there was always the thought that a different job or school would make me happy. Since happiness is an inside job, it was up to me to create a life I loved and take ownership of my emotions.
Once I started this work, I understood that expecting my circumstances to make me happy was a dead-end street.
It’s my thoughts about my circumstances that make all the difference.
Moving To Your Thoughts
Managing our minds is where we find our power. Think about all the different thoughts you have in a day. Have you ever made the connection between your thoughts and how you feel?
Let me give you an example.
You check your account balance online and see that there is less money in your account than you expected. Immediately, you start to imagine that your husband has spent money frivolously. You begin to feel frustrated and angry with him.
Until you call the bank. After speaking to a representative, you realize that it was a bank error that can be easily fixed. Notice how quickly your feelings change when your thoughts change. You go from frustrated and angry to relieved that your husband’s spending habit wasn’t the problem.
That’s the power our thoughts have in our lives.
Feelings are simply vibrations in our bodies. Sometimes we have positive vibrations and sometimes they are negative. The vibrations themselves cannot harm us.
More often than not, it’s the negative emotions that give most of us trouble. In our effort to feel better, we struggle with negative emotions. We want to get rid of them as quickly as possible, but that’s not the answer.
Taking the time to connect your thoughts to your feelings is where the magic happens. When you master this skill, you can intentionally think thoughts that will serve you and create the emotional experience you want in any given circumstance in life.
Your feelings drive your actions. It’s that simple. We all act because of the way we feel.
Think about that for a minute.
Let’s take the same example about your bank balance. When you thought your husband’s spending was the problem, you may have sent him a text asking what he bought that costs so much money (with a few exclamation points, of course). You would have acted from a place of frustration.
But, when you realized it was a bank error and you felt relieved, what kind of message would you have sent? It would probably be one apologizing for jumping to conclusions and immediately thinking the worst. Feeling relieved would drive noticeably different actions.
Sometimes when life isn’t working for us, we want to begin by changing our actions without doing the work on our thoughts and feelings. Starting with your thoughts and going through this process makes it much more likely that your actions will produce the results you want in any given circumstance.
Last of All Results
Your actions produce your results in life. The whole process starts with your thoughts, but the final outcome is the results in your life.
To create the results you want in any circumstance, you have to be clear in your own mind about the outcome you want.
Often when I ask people what they want in life, they have no idea. We spend much of our lives living in default mode. We let life happen to us. We don’t have to live that way.
You can be intentional about what you want in all areas of your life, not just financially, although that’s an uber-important one.
Next time you are feeling a negative emotion, take some time to notice your thoughts. Instead of immediately trying to figure out how to change the circumstance, look at how you can think about the circumstance differently.
Experiment with different thoughts and pay attention to how each one makes you feel. Play it all the way out by imaging the outcome each thought would produce. Doing this work takes time and practice, but it has the power to change your life.
Use this template to identify each element of the model:
C (Circimstance) –
T (Thought) –
F (Feeling) –
A (Actions) –
R (Result) –
If you’d like more information about coaching, you can schedule a discovery call with me by clicking on this link. I’d love to meet you and help you in any way that I can.
Remember people first, health second, and then money!
Here’s to thriving and beyond!
With much love!