“Are you in command of your own mind?”
I’m not proud of this but when I first heard that question, I thought: “What a stupid question. Of course, I’m in control of my own mind!” And, there may have been an eye roll involved in there as well.
But the next question stopped me in my tracks, got my attention and erased the eye roll. The question was this: “Then are you commanding your mind to wake you up at 3 in the morning, worrying about stuff that you cannot control or even if you do have some measure of control over it, you can’t do anything about it at 3 in the morning?”
Ouch! That pretty much described me.
But there was yet another question to drive home the point and that was:
“When something “bad” happens and you stress about it or get stuck on it for hours – or days – are you really choosing that?”
Of course, I wasn’t choosing it. So, maybe I had some more work to do after all.
These questions are at the heart of the self-command muscle. If we have a weak self-command muscle, then we are at risk for spending way too much time with thoughts that don’t lead us anywhere.
In fact, we are spending time in thought patterns that keep us stuck. The image that just popped into my head is that that sort of thought pattern is like the holding pattern that you can sometimes get stuck in while you are circling an airport in a plane waiting for your turn to land. If you’ve ever experienced that, you know how stuck you feel. You are just in this endless, frustrating loop, covering the same ground but not going anywhere.
In coaching people on this, I know that I’m not alone. I’ve heard from some clients that they can spend hours, or, in some cases days, ruminating over unexpected or unwanted events. Things like, having one of their best team members quit, a territory change, conflict with their boss, conflict among their team members, a difficult conversation that they need to have with one of their employees, a sales presentation that went poorly, an underperforming rep, and even things as mundane as the person who cut you off in traffic.
These are all examples of an ambush. They hit you by surprise and they can knock you off your course. And, they can steal your time.
Tune into this episode to learn how to build your self-command muscle.