Jun 12th, 2020
When you spend time in the past, is it a positive experience or do you come away from it feeling really, really bad about yourself? Hi, this is Grant Herbert, International Influencer and Sustainable Performance Coach, and today, I want to continue our conversation around Emotional Intelligence and building our Personal Power by having a conversation to help us to recognise our past achievements.
If you're like me, I used to carry around a list of everything that I did wrong. It was all there, ready to go, ready to come up and remind me. It was fuel for my mini-me, for that inner dialogue. It was a reservoir for it to be able to reach down into and pull up and go, "Hey, remember this? Rememaber when you got that wrong? Remember when you failed that? Remember when your marriage didn't work? Remember when you didn't get that position, you didn't get that client?"
Whatever it was. It was this big reservoir of all the past experiences that I would nurse and rehearse. "You remember when your mom left you on a doorstop as a baby?" All those things. And I'm sure you've got those similar things as well.
And as we talked about last week, we want to give a better inner dialogue. We want to have an opportunity to have some good stuff be spoken to us because that'll propel us and empower us to be who we can be. So, what I want to do today is to help you to look at things from a different way.
There's three positions that we can be in. We can be in our past, in our present, or in our future. And I know that you know that it's great to live in the present moment, to have an understanding of where we're going and to learn from where we've been, but to be able to enjoy being in this present moment right here, right now.
And I know that so many people, they miss out on the beauty of the present because they're still beating themselves up about what happened in the past, or they're still feeling uncertain about what's happening in the future. And particularly at this time of COVID-19 right now, as we're doing this, people have got some challenges around that and they're rightly so to have those things that they're thinking about because this has been a big change to all of our lives.
What I want to do is to help you to feel confident in your own abilities to develop that Personal Power so that you can enjoy being in the moment, knowing that you have everything within you and around you to be able to have the future that you want to have. So to do that, we need to recognise our past achievements. We need to look for the same amount of evidence or more that we can do things, that we are good enough, that we are liked and we are loved than we had in that reservoir of things to the contrary.
I remember when I was in first year of high school. They called it first form then. That's how long ago it was. And I remember this was the time I went to high school early. I went when I was 15 and I was the youngest kid in my class and I was short and I had all these issues. That was the time when I found out about my mom abandoned me as a child and I took that meaning on that was the negative one, rather than what it really meant and all those things we've talked about before. And if you haven't heard those stories, please go back and I'd love to share them with you.
So in that time, I wasn't feeling all that good about myself. And we had our athletics carnival at school and I had an opportunity to go in some races and to jump things and to throw things and all that sort of stuff. And I remember this one event, it was the 800 meters track event. The one where you have to stay in your stagger until you get down around here, and then you can come into the inside lane and do a couple of laps and it's 800 meters of that 400 meter track.
Now, that gun went off and I took off like a startled gazelle and I came across and I led that race from the stagger all the way to the finish by quite some margin. And not only did I complete the race and win, I actually broke a school record. And I'd love to say that I had an experience when I got up on the dais and they put the medal around my neck.
You know what it's like. You run across the line and there's a teacher there with a blue ribbon in their hand and they want to get it to the person who came across first. And the next one gets the red ribbon and then the green ribbon or whatever way they go. But all I could see was blue this day.
I remember getting that blue ribbon and I remember pinning that on myself and feeling proud of myself, feeling so good. And in that moment, I could have done anything. I believed in myself. I forgot what was going on. I started listening to my empowering voice. Now, it was a process and it didn't take long for the other voice to go, "Hang on a minute. That's just one race, dude. Let me just remind you of all the other things that you've failed at."
But I tell you that story to give you an example of what I would love you to do. I would love you to go into your past when you were a small child, as you were going into school, as you went into high school, university, became a parent, whatever it was for you, and I want you to find two or three things, more if you can, experiences that happened in your life where in that moment, you felt proud. You felt good about yourself. You experienced an emotion, which you want to experience again.
Now when you go to do this, here's what might happen because we're still just starting to retrain our mini-me. As you go to think about those things and to give yourself permission to feel good about yourself, your mini-me could decide to try and take that away from you and remind you of things like, "Well, compared to this, that's nothing. I mean, it wasn't an 800 meter race for goodness sake.
So, what this is going to give you an opportunity to do is two things: One, it's going to give you an opportunity to practice what we talked about last week. And if you haven't seen this or heard this, go back and do it and it's going to give you some resource to be able to retrain your mini-me with. And as that voice comes up, go, "Hey, hang on a minute." So, acknowledge and then retrain.
So, I want you to go through and find those places in your life and hey, if you can find one, that's great. Let's work on that. And I want you to deeply immerse yourself in that moment. I want you to close your eyes, if you need to, and allow yourself to go back into that moment and feel what you were feeling, see what you were seeing, hear what you were hearing, smell what was around you.
What were you touching? What were you doing? And relive that moment. And I want you to recognise what was going on in your body. I want you to recognise how that made you feel and then I want you to ask yourself a question. Was that feeling one of empowerment or did it disempower you? Did it hold you back or did you feel like you could go forward?
And the reason we do this is we want to give our brain reference points that it can refer to. Points in our past when we succeeded and feelings that we felt that we want to repeat. So therefore, what it's going to do, and our inner dialogue will help us to do this, is move towards more of those experiences so that we can feel that way again. Now, something that I really find that I need to stress to people all the time is that when we go into our past, we're there for a moment.
One of the dangers of doing any exercise where you go into the past is that you can camp there. You can pitch your tent and go, "Oh, yes. I remember this life. I remember how it used to be before I had this and before that happened and whatever." Or all the things that happened that were negative in that time can be dumped on us, if we let our mini-me just run rampant.
No, we go back to our past for two reasons: One, define things that didn't quite go so well, learn a lesson and do things differently moving forward. We also go back to the past to find frames of reference, like we talked about today, of the times when we got it right and we learn, "Well, what did we do?" So, I focused totally on the finish line. I didn't worry about anybody else and what they thought or what they were doing, I just focused on me and I focused on running one foot after the other and continuing to run until I got to the end. So, that was a lesson that I learned in that moment.
So today, we've had a conversation that's going to help us to rewire that brain of ours with positive dialogue, with positive frames of reference, to build up our Personal Power, that competency that underpins all the other competencies of Emotional Intelligence by looking into our past and acknowledging those times when we did feel good about ourself, those times when we felt that we did achieve. And the reason we're doing this as well is so that we develop a pattern of looking for the good, of looking for the achievements, of looking for evidence of "I can", rather than listening to the false evidence of "I can't".
Well, that's it for me for another week. Join me again next week when we continue to build our Personal Power by learning how to enforce healthy boundaries. I'll see you then.