Even simple conversations go off the rails.
Here’s me calling my mother.
Me: Hi mom, how are you doing today?
Mom: OK. How are you? Did I tell that two of your sister’s friends were diagnosed with cancer, so and so’s house burnt down, and that I need a $1000 for some car repairs?
Me: (silently to self) BREATHE!!!
So what’s a person who’s just trying to live their best life, in the present moment, with a calm, centered focus to do?
I noticed something a while ago. When I ask different questions, in particular questions with a positive, strength-based orientation that help me to see the best in myself and others, I don’t just get different answers. Life ignites! New doors, new paths, and new possibilities open up before my eyes.
When I coach others to focus on their strengths and capabilities, the environment becomes one that is conducive to experimentation and exploration and “what if” lines of thinking. This is how dreams and goals ignite and come to life.
Problem talk leads to problem thinking and generally includes variations on the Big Three: blame, fear, and guilt. The Big Three perpetuate the negative energy that is lurking around the corner, or in our minds, just waiting for us to engage.
Let me be clear about one thing. My approach is not an invitation to put on your rose-colored glasses and just call it a good day. Everything isn’t good and perfect at all times. And…everything isn’t all bad and negative and doom and gloom all the time either.
To ignite positive change in your life, you’ll need to actively counter the negative energy that may be coming your way, whether intentional or unintentional, and whether it’s from those around you or your own self-talk.
Here are four steps to ignite positive change in your life!
- What’s Good – today, in my life, about me, about my partner, about this moment right here and right now?
When you exclusively focus on “doom and gloom” and “here’s what’s wrong” you will easily see weakness, lack, problems, and negativity. When you change the question to “what’s good” you easily see and hear and feel possibilities, strengths, optimism and miracles.
- What’s Wanted – now, soon, this year, the next five years, in my life?
You may have heard a few times in your life that first clarifying what you want is a good idea. But here’s the thing, it’s way more than a good idea – it’s the path to your ideal future, it’s what generates energy and excitement and motivation, it’s how you know what’s important and what to align to. And there’s another thing it is – it can be difficult to define by ourselves.
- What’s Appreciated – in myself, in those I love, in my work, in the various aspects of my life?
The questions we ask create our realities. Think that sounds a bit much? What were you thinking about this morning and what was happening around you? What are thinking about right now reading this? Yes, we live in one world AND we live in worlds of our making. Our questions direct our attention and cause us to focus on one thing over another.
- What’s Inspiring – and lights me up, makes me feel strong and empowered, where I know without a doubt that I am or can become a confident and knowledgeable expert?
When we focus on developing and cultivating our own creativity rather than competing with others, there is a chemical reaction occurring within us and around us. When you’ve reached this step, you are experiencing what I like to call the “Dark Chocolate Effect.” What’s the Dark Chocolate Effect? It’s the feeling of authentic sweetness in your life. There is nothing artificial or fake or contrived in this life.
Try this tonight with your friends, partner, family or a stranger while you’re at it. Ask “What’s good in your life today?” and see where the conversation takes you.
Come join me in the lab!