What you focus on grows, what you think about expands, and what you dwell upon determines your destiny.
Tell me if you’ve noticed the same:
You ask your friends what their dream job is and they start listing all the things they don’t want…
“I don’t want to be stuck in a cubicle 8 hours a day anymore.”
“I don’t want to work for a soulless corporation that doesn’t care about the welfare of its employees.”
“I don’t want to work in customer service and deal with angry people ever again.”
It’s good to know what your boundaries are. But that wasn’t the question, was it?
The question was, “What the heck is it that you DO want?!”
Cue blank stares and deer caught in headlines faces.
They don’t know.
They’ve spent all this time focusing on what they don’t want, they have no idea what they do want.
And that’s a huge problem…
You Get What You Focus On
Truth bomb: what you pay attention to has a huge impact on your life and your experience. When you focus on the bad, that’s exactly what you get.
I learned this first hand in my early 20s. I’d spend hours reading women’s magazines (social media wasn’t a thing yet) and comparing myself to the beautiful models and actresses that graced their pages.
They didn’t have a trace of cellulite on their thighs. Their pearly whites were so white they could blind someone. And their locks so thick and shiny, they could style them in curls that lasted for days. They were everything I was not.
And so I started to wear full-length jeans even in the heat of a torrid Italian summer to hide my dimpled skin. I rarely smiled so no one would notice my yellowish teeth. And I cursed my flat, thin hair every time I combed it. It couldn’t even hold a curl for 3 hours… 1 if the tiniest whiff of wind was around…
I lived like this for years. Every photo on those magazines confirmed my belief I was ugly. And so I acted like I was ugly.
Something changed in my early 20s as magazines lost ground to beauty blogs. Now that I was interacting with real, normal people who weren’t Photoshopped into plastic dolls, what I saw looking in the mirror changed.
My “flaws” were still there. But now they looked normal. It was the poreless skin, the uber-white teeth, and the extension-enhanced locks that looked… fake.
My body hadn’t changed. My focus had. While before I was scrutinizing my body for every little imperfection (what I DIDN’T want), now I barely gave it a second look.
I was too busy playing around with makeup, making friends with girls all over the world and even starting a beauty blog of my own (what I DID want).
It’s the same with work , relationships, or everything else.
If you focus on all the things your partner is doing “wrong,” you miss out on all the good things that he’s doing for you. And before you know it, you break up and wonder why you can’t find a good guy.
If you keep complaining about your selfish boss, the boring paperwork, and the cutthroat office politics, you miss out on opportunities for career change. And then you stay stuck in your cubicle, wondering why life is passing you by.
FYI, opportunities for career change are everywhere. If you’re reading this blog, it’s a very clear sign you’re fed up at your current job.
But do you know what you want to do instead?
Not sure how to tame your Inner Mean Girl, that negative voice in your head that likes to focus on all the negative things? Subscribe to the newsletter below to receive the “Silence Your Inner Mean Girl” cheatsheet.
Stop Looking For Proof Of What You Don’t Want
Deep down, you know what you want to do with your life. How do I know?
I’ve worked with so many people who felt lost and had no idea of what to do with their life. But during our sessions, they’d all mention their dream job in passing… and then promptly discontinued it 5 second later, listing all the reasons why it’s a stupid idea.
“That will never work…”
“Every time I start a new project, something usually happen to screw it up…”
“My friend started a business years ago and failed….”
You see what’s happening here?
You’re so focused on the negatives, your brain literally starts to collect “proof” that all your negative beliefs – about yourself, your career, everyone else – are true… even if you don’t want them to be true!
If you believe you don’t have what it takes to start a business, you’ll stay stuck in your cubicle.
If you believe you can’t be successful and be a good wife or mother, you won’t look for opportunities to advance in your career.
You’ll just keep collecting proof about why you should maintain the status quo and stay there.
But is that serving you? Is that making you happy?
What if you could collect proof that the opposite of what you believe is true? That you do have what it takes to start a business? That you can be successful and have a family?
Good news: you can.
How To Stop Focusing On What You Don’t Want
It’s easier than you think: start a gratitude journal.
What?! Have I gone crazy?
Nope. If focusing on what you don’t want in your life gives you more of that, it follows that focusing on what you do want will give you more of that, too.
A gratitude journal is the quickest way to help you realise all the good things that are already in your life.
Jot down all the things you do like about your job. Maybe it’s that nice coworker who always has a kind word for everyone or using your writing skills to create amazing web copy for your clients.
Write down all the projects you’ve already completed and the milestones you’ve achieved.
List all the nice things your partner and friends do for you.
And don’t forget all the small things we take for granted every day. Like your health. The sun shining in the sky. Running water in your house.
Write in your journal regularly and when you feel like you can’t do something, go back and re-read it. Between those pages, there’s all the proof your brain needs to build a case in favour of your positive beliefs.
Once you start to recognize and appreciate all the good you already have in your life, the universe will send you more of it. So much more.
Over to you, now. What action are you going to take to stop focusing on what you don’t want? Share in the comments below.