People that often get an illness or sickness will say "I knew I was going to get this". They may not say it out loud but often it is via their internal chatter. Or more simply "I am about to go on holidays, I really do not want to get sick." Or what about this one: 'I'll get a flu shot as the flu is really bad this year and I don't want to get sick", and they are one of the first to get that flu.
All are very common comments and thoughts that you may have used or heard other people use and they are all examples of focusing on what you do not want.
You'll be surprised, once you go looking, how often people are focusing on what they don't want. Baggage from parenting, negative events that have left emotional scars, and just the general wear and tear of life knocking the wind out of people, easily leads to self talk of avoiding perceived negative situations rather than moving towards desired, positive situations. You'll start to see that it's so common you'll wonder who is actually focusing on what they do want.
So what can be done to shift this focus?
Firstly we need to become aware of what language we are currently using. It may be the first time that someone has realised what they are doing and what they are actually focusing on.
Once they are aware of what they are doing, simply, they can begin structuring their language in a way that they are stating what they want.
"I would give my right arm for that car" could result in an injury of your right arm. So instead, you would state what you want: "I will have a car like that" or "I am looking forward to having a healthy holiday".
When going into negotiations or deals in business people often say to themselves 'God I hope I do not blow this sale" or "I hope I don't get the sack with this downturn in the economy". I'm not advocating that just by changing your focus bad things won't happen. You may still be in the firing line when the company starts cutting costs. But by changing the focus on what you do want, you'll reduce the net effect of your negative thinking overall. You'll also increase your resilience, how you respond, to the negative things that occur that are out of your control. Choosing how you respond to a negative situation is key to whether you will bounce back quickly or get stuck in a downward spiral.
This is one that I myself got stuck in: "I do not want debt." So if you are focusing on what you don't want – debt, what are you going to create? Debt. You may pay off your credit card and then the bank will sends you a one page letter, with a self addressed prepaid envelope with tick here and sign so we can give you a bigger limit on your credit card. What have you just done? Created more debt! In a past business I had actually created a whole world of debt that I could no longer manage. Luckily I had the wherewithal to seek out a business coach who helped me get out of a very stressful situation. It could have ended very badly had I not sought help and implemented the strategies at that time.
Everybody wants to love and be loved. And this is a common area of where people are focusing on what they don't want. Some common examples that I hear every day: "I hope he does not cheat on me", "I do not want to be in a relationship with someone that does not treat me well", or "I do not want to be in a relationship with someone that does not like going and doing adventurous things, travelling, etc". Effectively you are focusing on what you do not want. We know that this is a clear way of getting more of what you do not want.
So if you are coaching someone that has the same events or things happening to them in their career or business, relationships or health, have a look at their language and self talk. Having seen hundreds of clients and trained thousands of people, I can guarantee that you'll find a fair amount of focusing on what is not wanted. And even more surprising is that the person is completely unaware that they've been focusing on what they do not want.
Begin working with your client on changing their language to very clearly focusing on what they do want, and set tasks that strongly target this area.