The outer conditions of a person’s life will always be found to reflect their inner beliefs. – James Allen
From Scott’s point of view, it was an unrealistic assignment. The task moved him out of his comfort zone and seemed to have nothing to do with his work at the company. His frustration was evident. During our discussion, I ask how he felt about it.
“It makes me mad. On the one hand I want to create a list of excuses for not doing it. But, I also want to do it well.”
Two Options, when “Life Happens”
Somewhere along the line, I picked up this simple equation and shared it with Scott:
E1 + B = E2
E1 represents the event, what happened in the Story. B stands for one’s beliefs about the event, the person, and/or how you are affected. E2 is the emotional product, positive or negative.
Which of the three elements can you control? Clearly, it is not the event, what happened is history. And the emotions are a result. In fact, what we choose to believe is the one thing under our authority.
Putting it into Action
This is about changing behavior. While the equation is simple, making it work is the challenge. Life happens (event) and those negative, fear-based emotions hijack your response. What now?
You must learn to create space if you want a productive response. It requires a changed belief (way of thinking) if you are to take control of yourself. Using the acronym P.A.C.E., here are the four steps…when life happens:
- PAUSE and allow a deep breath to help you gain self-control
- ASK questions such as: Why am I frustrated? What am I accepting as true in the Story?
- CHALLENGE your perspective: What am I choosing to believe about the situation? The other person? About myself?
- EDIT the narrative: What else could explain what just happened? Tell yourself a different story about the event, it just has to be a possible answer.
With the change of belief regarding the event you open the door to release the negative and receive the positive emotional support of different perspective regarding the experience.
As Scott explored what he believed about the “frustrating assignment,” he wrestled with what he would choose to believe. He chose to believe the effort would be a growth opportunity. We must fight for our freedom, especially when the emotions have kicked in and we’ve started down a reactionary path. However the freedom we love is worth the battle.
THE PEOPLE PROJECT:
Your Guide to Changing Behavior and Growing Your Influence as a Leader