Stop Looking At What You Don't Want (and what to do instead)

When you go to a restaurant, do you waste your time looking at meals you know you won’t order or do you go straight to the pages in which you know you’ll find the meal you want?


You look at what you want! 

You order what you want! 


Take that concept and use it in your work and personal life situations. 


Stop looking at what you don’t want and focus on what you do want. 


As humans, we tend to look for problems and threats, we make assumptions and we tell ourselves stories. 


Every time I talk to a client in the beginning, they have a focus on the problem (what they don’t want). 


“I don’t want to fire that person.”

“I don’t want to go on that trip.”

“I don’t want to change that policy.”


My job as a coach is to help people figure out what they DO want. 


“I want to keep this person on my staff because they are a huge asset.”

“I want to save money and go on that trip next year.”

“I want to stand strong in my decision on that policy.” 


In every situation, there’s very little you know to be actually true. 


Great example: I was working with a client and she was quite upset because one of her team members had put in a complaint against another. She was spiraling with worry, trying to create scenarios that weren’t there and attempting to solve problems that maybe didn’t even exist. I asked her to write down what she knew to be true and her list was short:


  1. A complaint was filed
  2. The complaint was not validated


Our brains desire a full picture when we approach a situation, even if that’s not possible. Instead of looking at what we want and what is true…we assume, we create problems and instead of being objective, we get defensive and lose focus. 


When you find yourself in a stressful situation where you are faced with a “what do I want/not want” scenario, try the following:


  1. Recognize that you have been triggered. Physical and emotional symptoms are indicators. You might sweat, feel your chest or shoulders tighten, feel your body temperature rise. You might feel angry, sad or scared. You are having an emotional reaction rising solely from your thoughts about the situation. 

  2. Count to ten and take a few deep breaths.

  3. Make a list of all of your assumptions or what you think you know about the situation. 

  4. Make a list of only what you know to be true.

  5. Compare the lists.


I can bet that your assumption list is a lot longer than your truth list. 


Now, think about what you want in the situation. 

Also try thinking about what they want (if it involves people) in the situation. 


Is there more to the story? If your gut is telling you that you need more information before you act, get it. Always ask and examine before judging and making rash, emotional decisions. 


If we go back to the example above:


My client knew she was triggered. She was stressed and anxious. She wasn’t sure what to do next. I spoke with her about her assumptions versus the truth and we determined what she wanted out of the situation. 


She wanted to speak to the team member about the complaint and come from a place of trust and support, first. She wanted to gather all pertinent information and feel confident in her next move. 


Stop looking at what you don’t want. Look at what you do want. 


If you want to discuss this process in more detail, schedule a complimentary planning session with me. I’d love to chat.