Over on the Possibility Virus blog, Michael Bungay Stanier talks about an idea he calls "This/Not this" He started focusing on it while getting ready for an upcoming trip to India, but the concept is just as applicable each day we get up and step out the front door into life. He says...
For all the excitement I was feeling about the trip, I realised I was taking on one of my least favourite personae: The Uptight Traveller.
When travelling - and particularly when stepping into an unknown situation that I can't control - I start to take on a range of ways of thinking and behaviours to try and exert control as much as possible.
Which is fine, except of course that
1. I couldn't control very much anyway and
2. these behaviours, this persona, only ever result in me not really enjoying my travels.
When I finally caught myself - it took a while - I used a simple tool to shake me out of my funk. It's based on the most powerful coaching question I know - What are you saying Yes to? What are you saying No to? - and it is called This/Not This.
Its brilliance lies in two things.
First, it forces you to make an explicit choice: both what you want and what you don't want.
Second, often you articulate that choice in metaphor, which enriches and makes more subtle the choices you are making.
So, for example, his This/Not This list for his trip to India included things like...
This: Open up
Not this: Close down
Not this: Fretting
This: Meeting others
Not this: Solo Man
This: Welcome what comes
Not this: Walled city
Not this: Tight
After he made the list, it occurred to him that it wasn't a bad list to apply to life in general.
Take a look at your own life. How do you want it to look? How do you want to be? Who do you want to be? What do you want to do? Why not start making a This/Not This list to help guide you along the way?
Brought to you by Curt Rosengren, Passion Catalyst TM