It is a big question.
But how often do we ask ourselves? How often do we ask each other? We certainly don’t ask it at work! If you are like most people, your answer will be… not that often, because we tend to talk about what is not working, rather than what we can do about it.
It is not your fault
It is actually normal to look for what is not working, so before you beat yourself up about being “negative” or judge others for being so, let’s just pause for a moment and recognize what is really happening here.
We have survived, and continue to do so, by noticing danger in our environment. By noticing things out of the ordinary and what changes, so we can react fast and get out of trouble. The problem becomes when that is how we live our lives, and that is what happens at work for most people. We are living in a culture, where we are still running on survival-mode, even if we are not in real physical danger, we might still feel danger lurking around every corner, because we are afraid of what might go wrong, how we might fail or how we might get rejected. That makes us live in fear = not happy.
It is up to you
I am not saying you it is your fault! I am saying, you have agency. Happiness is not someone else’s job. It is our own because it is our experience. The circumstances might not be what we want, but our relationship with it is in our control. We have the power to change how we react, interact and choose to act on what happens to and around us. And no, this is not about just think positive!
This is about being mindful about the relationship you have with the story that is running in the back of your mind. Again, this is normal. We all have stories running thru our mind. It is how we relate and make meaning of it that becomes our perspective and experience of it.
The problem is when the story is not based on what is going on here and right now, but rather based on an old experience that you use as the baseline for how you related to what is happening now.
I know it can seem complicated.
You can think of it as beginners mind.
Let me give you an example. If we had something go wrong at work because of a decision we made, we are going to keep that in our “fact folder” instead of our “memory folder”. When I was a buyer at a department store, I used to challenge the fact that I was supposed to use old sales numbers to predict future sales, rather than looking at what the market wanted now. I was frustrated, because I felt it was invalid information. It negated change. I agree we have to look at the past events as information, but only to learn how to navigate what is here right now. Not to predict the future.
So what does that have to do with happiness?
To get unstuck it is important to acknowledge how we feel, accept the situation for what it is, and ask what we need so we can act in a way that supports us moving forward.
I call in my triple A – or AAA.
Instead of getting stuck focusing on what is wrong in our lives, or what someone said that pissed us off, or what happened at work that made us feel small or stupid, acknowledge that happened.
Instead of keep telling that same story of “who you are because of the past”, challenge that by accepting that you have come a long way, grown and changed since then. Incorporate all the “lessons” of the past and instead of wishing it was different, see this moment for what it is. Good, bad or indifferent. It just is what it is.
Ask what you need so you can act in a way that helps you achieve what you are trying to achieve. Even if it is just for right now.
Being stuck is about the narrative of our experience and we are in charge of the narrative! The way our mind works, or rather our unconscious mind, is whatever we tell it to do, it will do for us.
I will speak more about how to ask the Right Why™ to get unstuck and get our unconscious mind to solve the problems for us, so we can not only access what makes us happy, but also support ourselves to achieve peak-performance, prevent burnout and real our goals.
It all starts with one simple action. To pause for just long enough to ask what do I need so that I can…
You can start practicing that right now. Just pause for a moment and ask… How am I in there right now? What do I need so that I can… (dot, dot, dot) right now?
Let me know how it goes!