What if everyone you met during the course of your day was under an influence, a “spell” that constricted and narrowed perception and life choices and yet of which they were unaware? From my clinical background having worked as a psychotherapist to the past twenty-five years working as a consultant and executive coach, nearly everyone I have met, including the teams and organizations around them, have been under some form of a spell.
What kind of spell you ask? The spell of which I speak is a cognitive patterning that creates paradigms limiting behavioral choices and the ability to actively create greater joy, aliveness, significance and success in life. For example, many people in supervisory positions are less than effective in delegation and development of talent below them because they suffer from one or more of the following spells:
“If you want it done right, do it yourself!” “If you give it to someone else they will screw it up.” “You have to be perfect, otherwise you will fail.” “I can’t count on anyone but myself.” “You can’t trust others to get it right.”
Those are spells, and yet, many of the supervisors are “unaware” of them until we start exploring what it is that keeps them from actually delegating more to their direct reports and also what is keeping them for coaching and developing the talent pool reporting into them. This is tragic in that it keeps those reporting to a supervisor under this kind of spell from growing and being more employable over time. It also keeps the supervisor from growing and retards their capacity to take the next step up in their growth and promotion.
Spells are everywhere and they impact everyone both in families and at work. They are the cognitive processes that were adopted at some point in our lives, either through conditioning and training in our families of origin, in our schooling and from any self-limiting decisions we made about ourselves based on life experiences and restricted perspectives. The insidious thing about most of them are that our “rational” mind does not really acknowledge or see them and thus they continue to run in the subconscious mind and direct our behavior in defensive patterns that limit success, significance and joy. Some of the most ubiquitous and insidious ones that play are: “I am not good enough.” “I am not enough.” “I can not be accepted as I am.” “I can’t win.” “Life is against me.” “I am unlovable.” “I have to be in charge or terrible things will happen.” “Don’t get close – you will only get hurt.” “I must be right for if I am wrong, I am nothing.”
You get the picture. Whenever these spells or any others are running in the background of your mind, they “program” your behaviors and co-opt your positive intentions, leading to results or outcomes that sub-optimize what you could be creating, achieving and enjoying in your life. This is true both at work and home.
I find that my work most of the time is helping individuals and teams and organizations to open up their hearts and minds to imagine and create better outcomes and greater joy in the workplace. In that sense, both when I was a clinician seeing clients and as a consultant, trainer and coach today, I am a “spell-breaker.” Whenever we break a spell by shining the light of awareness and conscious attention on an old, outdated and sub-optimizing way of thinking, a spell, we create more effective ways of thinking, perceiving and of imagining our lives, families, work and way of being in this universe.
Are you ready to pay attention to the spells that may be running your mind and thus compromising your behaviors and desired intent? Are you ready to break with those old cognitive patterns and create more success, significance and joy?
Next Blog: Spell-Breaking 101