Some moments stand out in life and stay with you forever, and define the things you will or won’t do from that day forward.
Several years ago when I was in my early 20s, a guy I was dating said something that has stuck with me to today. I don’t remember what he was talking about, but he ended the sentence with, “…average people like you and me.”
Average? I thought. You think I’m average?
He might have been willing to settle for average but I sure wasn’t. And I wasn’t going to choose someone who thought I was average. I wanted sparks and fireworks and someone who couldn’t believe they got to be with me. I wanted extraordinary.
Okay, sure. I’m average height.
I’m average weight.
I live in an average house with average furniture and average fixtures.
And yet, I am not average. There is something unique inside of me that’s awesome, and keeps me motivated to do more, help more, and become more.
But sometimes it’s easy to get stuck and buy into the thoughts that say we are average. Sometimes those thoughts get nastier still and make us feel less than average or bottom of the pack or not good enough. Talk about discouraging.
When this happens, which is more often than I like, I do an exercise I learned from a book I read while pushing through a challenging period in my life. It gives me perspective and makes me feel way better.
And the beauty part is that it takes only about 20 minutes.
This is the gist:
Write down what happened. What event or situation sparked the thoughts? What set you down the path to fear, doubt, and uncertainty? Write it down. Then write out all of the ridiculous, poisonous things your brain whispers to you. How does it make you feel? Write it down.
Challenge your thoughts. Pick one of those nasty thoughts and chase it down with thoughtful questions like,
- What information proves this thought is not true?
- What’s the worst thing that could happen if this thought was true?
- What good things might happen as a result?
Change your thoughts. Write down how you could think about the situation differently now that you have perspective from completing the above questions. How do you feel now? Probably a lot better. Write it down.
And that’s it! It’s easy to do, takes only minutes, and always leads me to feel better about myself. I do one whenever something is nagging at me, or if I’m procrastinating doing anything. I do a sheet and bam! I feel way better and am able to start whatever it was.
Do the exercise daily. I challenge to you to complete the questions above every day for the next two weeks. If you are like me, you will likely notice recurring negative and irrational thoughts pop up. When I noticed my own chronic irrational thoughts emerge, I took it a step further by creating a mantra.
Make a mantra. Choose one of the patterns and turn it into its positive opposite. For example, if your thoughts say that every idea you have is doomed to fail, turn it into something like, “I am a brilliant and successful person with amazing ideas that impact hundreds of people every day.” Then recite that new energy-giving, motivation-charging mantra out loud to yourself every day.
And not only will you start to feel extraordinary, you will realize and believe you are extraordinary. And there’s nothing average about that.
PS – If you’re interested in learning more about this process and other exercises to alleviate stress and add more relaxation to your life, I highly recommend The Relaxation and Stress Reduction Workbook, which you can order here on Amazon.