The Inner Game of Management

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Published: 01st November 2012
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Un-Game Principle: Belief creates the fact

Who doesn’t love the unself-conscious little boy or girl, the undaunted miniature explorer who moves with unbridled enthusiasm to experience life?

This morning I walked to the barn to feed my three horses. I go out sighing and contemplating divorce from a husband I adore just to get out of the Texas heat. I stew about this for about one hundred yards before noticing I’m doing it. It’s so familiar. I stop, look, and notice a sweet cool breeze in the woods. Looking at a cloud-swept brilliant blue sky, I take a deep breath. Wow. This is a stunningly gorgeous day.

For that one moment I recovered the experience of seeing the world with the fresh eyes of the explorer child. For those of us with lived-in faces, would you like to recover that capacity?

Enveloped in the fog of unawareness, how often do we miss the brilliance, beauty, and the cool breeze right where we are? How often do we create the reality congruent with a belief that makes us suffer (Texas sucks in August!)?

We can’t know because we’re unaware. Probably often.

Life is easier when we’re self-aware. If you’re saying right now “I beg your pardon, Ingrid. I’m pretty self-aware”, you may be saying “I know myself well.” I believe you. But that’s not the same thing as being self-aware moment by moment by moment. I wasn’t self aware when I lamented the non-existent Texas heat. I was only self-aware when I stopped stewing and started noticing what I hadn’t—a cool breeze and a brilliant blue sky. Until that awareness I was powerless to do anything but stew. After all, Texas sucks in August. Belief creates the fact.

There’s no joy in stewing. Ignorance as to what beliefs produce and direct our play on life’s stage is not bliss.

To achieve self-awareness in the present moment, you need OBSERVATION skills. As a coach who helps people develop self-observation skills I’m unapologetically enthusiastic about recommending coaching. But you can also do a credible job on your own.

Let’s say you’ve become aware that you need to have things work out according to your mental pictures. Secretly you think “I know what’s right. If only they could see it.” It’s not enough for you to have your say. You want to have your way! Something’s got you gripped. There’s no joy in Grippsville.

Your discomfort is your good news messenger who tells you it’s time to step back and observe. You listen. Already you’re no longer out of your mind. For now you’re not focusing on having your way. You’re interested in “What makes it so attractive for me to try and have it my way?” That’s an observational question. Ask it, check in with your body and mind. See what you get. What are your tensed shoulders telling you? What’s the knot in your stomach saying? What thoughts are coming up? Ask the question again. What do you get now? And now? Don’t be satisfied with your first answer. Or your second. You’ll immediately shut down your observation. Answers end observation.

You may now see that having your way feels safe and secure. Hmm. You wonder if you believe “The world’s a dangerous place unless I control it, me, and others.” If you’re brutally honest, the answer is probably “yes,” and if you’re like many of us, you’ve been experiencing your belief as truth, not as a conclusion you can be less interested in, if you choose! It FEELS true, so it must be.
Must it be true? Does everybody have that belief?

A belief feels true the entire time you’re deeply entrenched in it. It directs you and produces actions congruent with it. Choose to step outside of it, however, what do you see?

Logically you know that life is unpredictable and impermanent, and yes, it can be dangerous. You also know deep down that therefore you can’t control it. Trying exhausts you. You wonder “What CAN I control? Can I be interested in a different belief? Can I let a different belief produce and direct my play? Hmm. That’s possible if my beliefs are only beliefs and not the truth. Can I choose a belief that allows me to experience calm and serenity rather than one that makes me feel anxious and disconnected? Can I actually be in control?” Ahhh! Control! Your mood brightens.

The answer is YES! Belief creates the fact. You are NOT your beliefs. You have beliefs. Therefore you can write, produce, and direct a play that’s congruent with a new belief. But here’s the catch. The belief must interest you more than the former. Try this one on. “Life’s unpredictable and impermanent, and my job is to become resilient in dealing with unpredictability and impermanence.” OBSERVE your experience around your heart region? Is it constricted? Spacious? You’re getting practice in OBSERVING your experience moment by moment.

Seriously entertaining a new belief actually changes brain chemistry. At first your mind will want to do what it’s always done—traveling the path of least resistance. Choosing a more interesting belief and trying on behaviors that are in alignment with it signal to the brain that it has to go to work. New neural pathways must be created.
“Can’t go on automatic,” the brain warns. Like any new skill-set, living in alignment with a new belief takes practice. It takes the practice of OBSERVATION to see what you’re doing, how many times you get pulled back to the belief you’re determined to dis-empower, under what circumstances you’re successful? With your co-worker but not your child? Keep observing. Over time actions become more natural. You stop efforting. Who knows? You may well uncover the explorer who once moved with unbridled enthusiasm, faith and confidence. The explorer is still there waiting for you.

Ingrid Martine, MA, PCC, author of The Un-Game and mind-ZENgineering coach works with organizations and individuals to empower them to move their lives from a 7 to 10 at work, home, and play. For her FREE report, “Reap the Harvest of a Quiet Mind: Empower Self, Empower Others”, or “Management Training for Business as Unusual”, visit: http://www.yourleadersedge.com.




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