Last month’s blog explained the Fallacy of Control and how it can impede an individual’s ability to rationally navigate life’s situations and experiences. This month, we will explore some of the “Thinking Traps” that we can all fall victim to and that can get in the way of our attaining or career and professional growth goals.
Meet the “Voice”
This visual provides an insight into the power of our thoughts and how they can impact our day-to-day experiences.
The majority of us live in a constant state of reactivity, being pushed and pulled by the thoughts and emotions we experience. It can feel as though we are controlled by a “voice” in our own head; a “voice” that worries about everything that can go wrong, criticizes us for everything we do wrong, and makes us feel guilty or angry about everything that went wrong. This “voice” provides an instantaneous interpretation of every situation. Typically, we don’t question the “voice”, just like we don’t question our breathing. It is part of our unconscious operating system. When we tune into the “voice” and its message(s) we feel and act based on the “voice’s” interpretation of our situation.
We all have that “voice” in our head. The important thing to remember is that this “voice” is NOT who you are. You are aware of the voice and you are the presence that witnesses the voice, but you are NOT the voice. Knowing this allows you to observe what the “voice” is thinking. This is called self-observation or self-awareness. This is the first step to increase your sense of control; becoming aware of the “voice”. Then you can “listen” for patterns or stories that the “voice” tries to tell you. There are 10 common Thinking Traps (or in psychological terms, cognitive distortions) that the “voice” can subscribe to. In this blog, we will look at three of them.
This thinking trap occurs when we have a mental filter that focuses only on negative events or outcomes and completely ignores or overlooks all of the positive experiences in our life. When the voice is speaking through this thinking trap it is pointing out all that is negative in our life and creating an overall negative perspective of the world. To overcome this cognitive distortion, you need to develop the habit of looking for the good within situations or experiences and practicing daily gratitude.
When this thinking trap is in action, the voice is telling us that we are the cause for all that goes wrong in our life. We end up blaming ourselves for everything that didn’t turn out the way we expected and tend to live the life of a victim of circumstance. To successfully work through this thinking trap, question what part you played in the outcome and how you might not be entirely to blame.
This thinking trap drives us to look at an experience or outcome in a way that completely blows it out of proportion. It can occur in two ways. While we are experiencing an unexpected event or when we are considering an action or experience and we begin to identify all of the things that could go wrong. This leads to intense anxiety and sometimes failure to commit or move forward with a necessary action or decision. To begin conquering catastrophic thinking, examine your thoughts and ask yourself if things are truly as bad as you are making them out to be and/or acknowledge that the worst-case scenario that you are creating in your mind and reacting to is not reality, just a thought.
In the next blog, we will continue to explore the common thinking traps that we all experience at some time and strategies for conquering them.
If you want a coaching partner to help you better understand and conquer the internal “voice” that is keeping you from manifesting the career and life you truly want, reach out via email or phone: email@example.com -or- 970-481-3528.
Navigating the career clarification or transition process can be overwhelming. This is a time when it can feel like your life and even your future is out of your control. In this multi-part blog series, I will share insights and coaching tips on how to feel more in control back during this process.In this first blog, we will examine why we why can feel out of control of our own lives.
The FallacyThere are two components to what is known as the Fallacy of Control:
Locus of ControlIn psychology, the fallacy is called the “locus of control” and defined as the “degree to which we do and don’t believe we have control over the outcome of events in our lives.” The person who believes that they can (or should be able to) influence all events and outcomes in their life is said to have a strong or dominant internal locus of control. At the other extreme is the person who believes they have no control over most everything that happens. They are said to have a strong or dominant external locus of control. You can measure where you fall on the locus of control continuum by taking the Locus of Control assessment.
Both extremes can be emotionally unhealthy. The goal is to establish a balanced locus of control with a realistic view of what you do and don’t have control over. The truth is that there are certain areas of life that you do have control over and some you do not. When you are aware of what you can and cannot influence, you can develop more realistic expectations which will help you stop feeling stuck, powerless, or out of control. You will know how, where and on what
to focus your effort and what you can let go or not beat yourself up about.
As a trained life coach and a certified holistic narrative career and life clarification professional, I help clients identify where a control fallacy might be impeding their ability to move forward or successfully obtain a life or career goal. This process is guided by the OneLife Tools Becoming Empowered & Proactive in Your Career & Life Choices model. Through the use of reflective questioning, Cognitive Behavior Therapy and Mindset interventions and tools, I can help clients in the initial coaching stages break free from limiting thoughts and behaviors to obtain the career and life that they truly want and deserve.
Contact me at 970-481-3528 or firstname.lastname@example.org to learn how I can support your career or life transition.
Nikki Stansfield is trained as a professional coach and loves to support anyone who wants to intentionally create something meaningful within their professional lives.