The importance of focus and the future self
The current COVID-19 crisis has many of us on lock down, worried about our health, the health of family members, concerned about how we will cope and many more fears.
Many of these fears are logical, rational and very realistic but can we change how we choose to deal with them, where we focus and if so how?
Often during crisis situations, our human psyche will force us to stop, take stock and evaluate our lives (past and present), our interactions, achievements and our happiness with ourselves.
The current world situation, it would seem, is having a similar effect.
During a recent conversation with a friend, they signed off by making the following statement. “At the end of this, I am going to make serious changes and be a better person”.
Powerful words indeed. They got me reflecting on personal change and how it often takes a crisis or time of unforeseen challenge to make us want to change, or indeed seek the opportunity to make positive change for the self and for others. It's important to identify what makes change lasting and why.
Pain vs gain
This often comes up during coaching interactions and I refer to it as the pain vs gain equation. I will (in some form) ask the coaching recipient the following:
“What is it that's too difficult for you to continue to do, to continue to be, or what do you want to avoid becoming?”
"What's your 'must-have' and what's the benefit/payoff when you have achieved your desired goal/outcome? What will you experience, feel, become or have?”
Without enough discomfort (pain) or significant benefits (gain) we will often procrastinate or simply continue living and being something that doesn’t quite feel as fulfilled as we seek to be, or feel we deserve to be! We will simply keep repeating old behaviours. Let's test this out:
How many of you reading this blog have used any number or versions of the following phrases in your daily lives? Please fill in the blanks:
1. “One day/when I have time I will _____”
2. “Once x happens then I will _____”
3. “I would love to but _____”
4. “ _____ is for others because _____”
5. “This is just how I am _____”
I know we have all been there, we find it so much easier to point the finger at fate, time, colleagues, work pressure, family, loves ones and life itself for all the blockers to why we have not fulfilled our goals and aspirations.
But when does the finger point straight back and make us ask...
“How important is this to me?”
“Why do I want this?”
“What am I going to do about it?”
“When am I you going to take action?" and
" What's my first step?"
Coming back to my friends comment about “being a better person”, whilst this is (and should be) highly personal to each individual, it's highly subjective and almost impossible to measure. How many of us would not like to be:
1. A better person/parent/spouse/colleague/friend.
2. A better version of self.
3. Achieving what we have always desired but given up on and/or never even started.
Time to stop and reflect on you
When was the last time you stopped to take stock and had the opportunity/time to consider your future self, your future goals, your future objectives and what actions you need to get there?
Can we do this now in these unprecedented times to create a better future and provide a focal point for actions, inputs and positive thought?
Take the time to consider and answer the following questions. Remember to write your answers down:
1. What is my best version of my future self? Describe your future self in three aspirational words).
2. The feelings I want to experience more of in my life are...
3. Where am I now and what actions do I need to take (to maximise my personal growth, my development and to progress towards my best version of future self).
How many of us are seeing an opportunity for growth, or are we caught in the fear of what may or may not happen and what can we do about this?
Some final thoughts
Consider the current COVID-19 situation and how much is completely out of our control? We are literally subject to the forces of nature. We are trusting the guidance of our leaders and we are trusting in others to maintain social distance, good personal hygiene and to do the right thing as we move towards a safer and better future.
Identify your focus: is it on taking control of what's within your control?:
Your fitness, mental wellbeing, choices, attitude, how you treat yourself and how you treat others.
Identify the things you can’t change, where you have no control and where you can't influence the outcome and try to let go of them.
If you would like to speak to a professional life coach to help you make changes in your life, then use our online search tool to find someone that resonates with you. Many life coaches now offer online and telephone sessions.
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