How one question can change everything

I drive over a big hill on my way to work.  On one side of that hill is my home and, on the other side, is the hospital.  I used to crest that hill in my car and immediately be overcome by a sense of overwhelming dread.  My body would tense up and, sometimes, it was intense enough that I would feel nauseated.  Understandably, with this reaction, the last thing I wanted to do most days was drive over that hill and go to work.

One of the things that I’ve learned as a life coach, however, is that I have the power to create my feelings.  We only ever feel anything because of a thought that we’re having in our brains.  So, basically, I knew that it wasn’t my job that was responsible for that dread – it was how I was thinking about it.  In that moment, I wasn’t even at work.  I was driving my fun sporty little car over a hill and I can tell you the view from the top is actually pretty amazing.  My brain, though, was so completely focused on how hard my upcoming shift was going to be that I was engulfed in dread instead of amazed by the beauty of the landscape in front of me.

Then, finally, one day, I asked myself one of the most powerful questions I’ve ever discovered.  Why, if I could feel any feeling on my way to work, would I choose dread?  Have you ever asked yourself that?  Why am I choosing to feel the way I’m feeling right now or at any time?  Is that feeling really helpful?  Is it leading to the results I want to get in my life?  

Dread certainly wasn’t helping me.  Not only was it ruining a perfectly good drive, but it was also creating a situation where I avoided, or tried to avoid, work.  Then, while I was at work, I was always looking for evidence that it was something to dread.  I was focused on the things that weren’t going well.  I was closed off to the opportunities for enjoyment and, as a result, I created a work experience that was indeed truly dreadful. A perfect example of one of those “dreaded” self-fulfilling prophecies. 

Fortunately, however, I have learned how to coach myself through those moments.  I knew that by changing the way I was thinking as I drove over that hill, I could change the way I felt.  I also knew that with time and focus, I could change my entire experience at work.  So that’s exactly what I did, and now it’s what I want to help other people do as well.  I put on my scrubs before every shift and I’m excited.  I drive over that hill and I feel a sense of anticipation.  I enjoy my shifts which is important to note since I work nights in a busy emergency department in the time of Covid.

So I encourage you today to ask yourself: Is there a feeling in my life right now that isn’t helping me create the life I want?  Why am I choosing to feel that feeling?  Then join me on this journey as we explore how to change it.