Imagine, you are in a meeting with a couple of your colleagues and upper management, you are feeling confident about your expertise and knowledge and you chime in.
Right as you land, your colleague whom you deem a 'friend' blurts out "no, that's not going to work! This is a better idea."
How dare her? How could she 'betray' you this way? She really must not be a friend, she's trying to sabotage me. Why didn't I just wait? Why does this always happen to me? - You find yourself barraged with questions, thoughts, feelings.
Within a few short minutes, you leave the room - not physically but mentally. The meeting is still happening in the room yet you are in another meeting going on in your head. This is common and natural.
A part of your brain has signaled there's a threat around (threat of feeling unaccepted/unapproved) and the more you stay in your head, the more your memory system begins to kick in and dig up similar but not same situations and with it comes the uncomfortable, defeated feelings. So, you begin questioning yourself and making up stories in "your head."
Furthermore, there's a chance that the relationship between you and your colleague that spoke up in the meeting is threatened not because of her speaking up yet because of the stories and the questions that are conjuring up in your head.
How do you get out of your head? And return to the room, mentally? There are a couple of steps you can take in the moment.
For starters, you want to notice that all the stories and questions going on in your head is simply fear trying to protect you and keep you safe. You are separate for it. Knowing that alone will make you feel better.
Then, let's move to questions - If you are going to ask yourself questions, make them empowering questions as opposed to dis empowering questions because your brain cannot leave a question unanswered and in that moment of feeling unsafe, the answers it gives you are not necessarily empowering.
Think about Questions for a minute?
What did you have for dinner last night?
How did you feel in that meeting before you shared your idea?
What happened after you shared your idea?
What do you think will happen with your relationship with your colleague?
How are you feeling now?
Notice that with each question, you are taken into different times, different moments, almost a journey of sort. Essentially, questions are like a guidance system - they direct you. They drive the focus.
So when you dwell in why is this happening to me? What did I do wrong? How could she do this to me? That is where your focus will live and as I said, your brain will give you answers from a dis-empowering standpoint because you are 'feeling' unsafe and threatened.
Colin Hiles, founder of The Mindset Coach talks about how you can shift your focus by keeping your questions, Present, Pleasant, Possible. If you applied this model to the situation above, you get something like this:
What am I feeling right now? What's happening right now?
This brings you into the very present and gets you back to your body, brings you back to the room.
What could be good about this?
In the moment, the brain might answer you with 'Nothing' - Then ask it again and again. Essentially, you want to find gratitude in the situation and believe me there is always something to be thankful for. Perhaps, it could be the new idea your colleague just offered up after yours sparked up another idea. However, spending your time in your head and not in the meeting, there's a great chance you will miss it and not to mention be clouded by the noise in your head as well. Find the Gratitude.
What would happen if... my idea were accepted? What could happen if my colleague... and I could brainstorm some more together?
You want to keep your questions expansive, i.e. questions that will challenge you to expand and grow. According to Colin, A good method is to take the question "What would happen if... " and include the opposite of what you are upset about.
This opens you up, shifts your focus to even finding more solutions to whatever is happening in the moment and It helps you expand.
So next time you are getting all bent out of shape and upset, ask yourself "
'What questions are you asking yourself?'
And apply this method of asking questions.
Are your questions Present? Pleasant? Possibility?