I have a very simple thought I want to leave with you for this week:
Pay attention to your thoughts.
Start paying attention to where your mind is drifting regularly.
Many of you have goals, plans or intentions for your life. You have some area you want to improve, whether it’s your family, your career, your health, your hobby or something else.
If you are not moving the needle in the area where you want to see the most progress, let me ask you this question:
When you are driving down the road, what do you think about?
When you are washing the dishes, where does your mind drift?
When you are sitting in a meeting or an event and struggling to be present, to where is your mind going?
How about in the shower?
When you’re trying to relax?
If you were to break up all your thoughts in one day into a pie chart, what’s getting the most attention?
Recently, I started tracking this. I started intentionally observing where my thoughts drifted. And guess what…it was in three areas I’m not even actively pursuing a goal.
Rather than my mental energy being spent on how to serve my clients, serve my family, or grow my business, most of my thoughts kept going to these three places:
- Politics- issues I care deeply about but don’t actually have any control on being able to impact
- My house- all the chores going left undone or feeling like sandpaper on my mind at the moment
- Volunteerism- things I volunteered my time to do and needed to follow through with the tasks
Meanwhile, if you look at my weekly brain dump of tasks, my vision board, or read my goals, none of these things move the needle on even one thing.
So guess what I have started doing?
Since I understand the power of our thoughts and the heaviness that mental load plays, I have to give myself a break. I had to eliminate things to free up more headspace.
For the last few weeks I have been working diligently to make more room for my mind to wander where I want it to be drifting. I have only found one things that helps…pruning.
Slowly, but surely, one small thing at a time I am eliminating opportunity for things to even become thoughts.
Regarding politics, I asked myself the really, really, really important question which is, “what can I actually control or influence?” I wrote down the very small, short list of answers to that question and decided I wouldn’t allow more in my mind than I could manage. I was spending waaaay too much thought energy on solving the worlds problems instead of solving my own. Too much of my personal energy was going to having “well informed opinions.” I released the need to have opinions about whatever may be dominating the news. I am not sticking my head in the sand by any means, and I do value being an informed voter, but in the pie chart of my thoughts, it needs to be a much thinner area.
With volunteerism, I have a really beautiful problem I created for myself. I have accumulated a seat at too many tables. I need to let some go.
I asked some really hard questions regarding where my butt in that seat actually made significant impact. If nothing would change whether I was in the room or not, then it’s time to let someone else fill my chair. I’ve cried actual tears over this process, but it’s necessary. I had to evaluate how many hours of my week were spent at events and meetings for organizations, and then how much of my thought energy was drifting to conversations from those rooms, solving problems I had become aware of, and completing tasks I agreed to. Because I am currently president of one of these organizations and they mentally need a lot from me right now, I realized there really isn’t much bandwidth for others. I have to prune. It hurts, but it will create room for beautiful growth.
And lastly, the house. This tool is still working wonders in my household, but it doesn’t change the fact that just walking around my home I feel bombarded by all the undone tasks and projects that have to be compartmentalized for later.
For this area, I can’t change anything about it immediately. Trying to let it go and remind myself when on the schedule we are getting to it is the best I can do. However, I’m fully aware there is a ton that could be delegated if we hired help.
Now, every time I see a nagging “thing”, I changed the thought. I’ve decided that once my business is at the capacity where I can hire some part time help, my first hire will not be the virtual assistant or the social media help I had envisioned. My very first hire will be a house cleaner who is also willing to run errands and help with odds and ends. I am losing so much mental energy to the space that area takes up in my brain. I’m certain an investment there would actually return the largest ROI in my business and quickly fund the other hires I am craving.
If I am not trying to solve the problem of how to get a stain out of a sweater, , asking when I’ll get around to mopping or cleaning baseboards or dusting photo frames, then I can mentally solve more impactful problems.
Instead, I could solve problems like “how can I open more doors for speaking events?” or “which friends have I forgotten to check in on in a while?” or maybe, “what series could I plan and pre-schedule on Instagram that would really add a lot of value to others?” And soooooooo many more things I wish I had more mental capacity to solve more often.
All this week, pay attention to where your mind goes and what problems your brain is trying to solve. How can you free up some space in your mind?
P.S. Teaching people how to manage their thoughts, rewrite them, and improve the mental spoke on their Wheel of Life is a major component of the coaching work I do. If you want to have a conversation about what’s going on in your life, where you want to make progress and what may be holding you back, that’s what I am here for. Schedule a call here.
P.P.S. Did you know that my coaching process is actually super simple and flexible? Most of my clients are on a plan for 20 minute coaching calls. No matter how busy you may be, you can find a 20 minute window to have regular check ins on improving your life. If athletes have coaches to help them improve their game, of course it makes sense to invest in coaching to improve your life. There are so many tools that can help. No reason to feel you have to do it alone. I’m here if you want someone to walk alongside you.