“Behind every stressful or fearful thought is the desire for something more. And the greater the stress or fear, the greater the desire. Use your stress as the map and it will guide you to your hearts deepest desires and a treasure beyond measure.” Margaret Mills
Thanksgiving is a time of year where we pause and give thanks for our many blessings in life. At the top of everyone’s list is our loved ones, and the abundances in life we normally take for granted, such as the food on our table, the roof over our heads, and the events and experiences that bring joy to our lives.
And this Thanksgiving, I want you to be grateful (not just thankful – read more about that topic on this blog post for all those blessings. But I want you to be overwhelmingly GRATEFUL for all the uncomfortable and painful thoughts, emotions, experiences and events in your life!
I want you to be Grateful for FEAR… for STRESS… and for ANXIETY!!
You got to be kidding, right?
Yep! And here’s why… write this down…
The Thinking That Got You Where You Are Today…
Is Not The Thinking That Will Get You Where You Need to Go!
So, I am challenging you to change your thinking… I challenge you to a SHIFT
Let me explain…
There was a time in my life where I felt powerless, and easily overwhelmed by events, decisions, conflicts, and relationships. My unwillingness to deal with my uncomfortable or difficult emotions meant that I would always shift away from those feelings… I was always playing defense in life.
Then I learned how to use these uncomfortable emotions – like anger, guilt, shame, fear or stress – to my advantage, I was able to shift to a mindset that allowed me to see these uncomfortable emotions to get what I wanted in life.
You see, behind every emotion – even the good ones – lies a judgment or opinion. Behind fear lies the judgment that this is of vital importance. Behind anger is the judgment of fairness or justice. Behind joy is the judgment of meaning… Behind anxiety is the judgment (for me anyway) that I don’t have enough information. When you discover the judgments behind your emotions, you have access to a WEALTH of ACTIONABLE information. Information that you can use to change the way events unfold.
To paraphrase Paulo Coelho from Eleven Minutes – “You can either be a victim of the world or an adventurer in search of treasure. It all depends on how you view your life.”
Once I learned how to use these uncomfortable emotions and events as the TREASURE TROVE that they are… I was able to use them to my advantage. I was able realize that:
- Fear is just a way of telling me how important something was to me… Fear of cold calling a client was just a way of saying “It’s vitally important that you are able to serve this persons highest interest”
- Anxiety was just a way of knowing that I needed more information. It was my body’s way of telling me to learn more, research more, practice more.
- Stress was just a message that I care deeply about what is happening. So pay attention.
Instead of moving away from difficult and uncomfortable emotions, I was able to use the lean into them, and learn to strategically:
- Find my PASSION!
- GROW my business!
- Increase JOY in my life!
- Find and use my POWER and STRENGTH!
TRUST myself to handle uncomfortable situations!
So… That is why I challenge you to SHIFT…
So… You must learn to treat your uncomfortable moments as the Treasure Trove they are. And the way to do that is through the practice of GRATITUDE. This simple practice can help you – like me – SHIFT to a place of being a powerful creator of ANYTHING you want in life. It’s all possible (within the laws of physics of course).
So… Here is how I did it, and how you can too…
Try this process, and let me know how it worked for you. Post your experience below.
- Find a comfortable quiet place, where you have 15 minutes or so.
- Take a few minutes to connect with your breath, settle yourself, go internal and find that sacred place inside.
- Remind yourself that you are not your thoughts or emotions. These are separate from who you are. They are fleeting, and they are created by you as a result of how you judge and interpret events around you.
- Start with something easy, pick a loved one or special memory.
- Allow your heart to swell with love and gratitude for that person or memory. Bring all your awareness to your heart center. Remind yourself why that person or memory is so special.
- Repeat this phrase multiple times, each time allowing gratitude to wash over you in increasingly higher waves
- I am immensely grateful for ______ because _______
- Once you have found that place of immense gratitude inside you, move to something more neutral. For me, that would be gratitude for my “gas and electric bill”… It’s not something you normally feel grateful for… This is how that would sound for me.Yes, I know. If you are just reading this exercise, and not trying to experience it for yourself, it will seem a little silly to you. But trust me. This is one of those exercises you actually have to DO.
- I am immensely grateful for my Gas and Electric Bill because it means that I have a roof over my head, a warm bed to sleep in, a place to work that is safe and comfortable. And I am IMMENSELY GRATEFUL for WARMTH… SAFETY… SECURITY in knowing I can pay this bill… And by paying this bill, I get to do the thing I LOVE MOST in this world… which is to take care of my family and pursue my PASSION for MAKING A DIFFERENCE in this world. NONE of this would be possible without this bill.
- And I allow myself to feel overwhelming gratitude for each one of those words
- Next move to an emotion more uncomfortable. For me, that would be anxiety. And find something to be grateful for anxiety. Think about something you learned out of that anxious situation. Again, let me give you an example:
- I am immensely grateful for my fear today in cold-calling a potential client. Because my fear reminds me how vitally important it is that I am able to serve this person. I care deeply about my ability to help them and this fear reminds me how important it is to me to be able to change the world one person at a time. I am IMMENSELY GRATEFUL that I was able to handle this person with the same care and love as one of my dearest loved one. And this fear allowed me to step into a place of LOVING SERVICE instead of careless regard for their challenges. And my ability to handle my fear allowed me to walk with this person through their fear and help them shift. I AM IMMENSELY GRATEFUL that my fear allowed me to make an INCREDIBLE DIFFERENCE in their life, and as a result, they will make a difference in the lives of SO MANY OTHER PEOPLE. WOW! That is power beyond belief. And I am OVERWHELMING GRATEFUL for that POWER.
Find something to feel grateful for. Something that emotion or event that caused that emotion has taught you. Find something good that you learned, experienced, or obtained as a result.
Do this once or twice a day for at least 5 minutes a day. Within a week, you will start to feel a permanent shift. You will start shifting immediately once difficult emotions arise. You will immediately start to look for the benefit, the lesson to be learned, or the judgments in those emotions. You will start to be able to shift events IN PROGRESS.
This I can promise…
If you adopt this process on a regular basis, your power to control situations and outcomes will increase, because you will be unleashing the power to harness difficult emotions to your advantage.
And this too I can promise…
If you only read this blog, and don’t practice the exercises on a regular basis, you will find yourself a day… a week… a year… a lifetime from now, still stuck exactly where you are today.
Post your comments and questions below and I will answer every single one of them!
And I leave you with this quote…
“I used to think I was a victim of my story until I realized the truth that I am the creator of my story. I choose what type of person I will be and what type of impact I will leave on others. I will never choose the destructive path of self and outward victimization again.” – Steve Maraboli, Unapologetically You
I wish you stress, anxiety, and fear today. But I also wish you power, trust and loving kindness as you harness the former to achieve the latter.