March 4th, 2011

This blog is number four in a series of reflections on lessons in Managing Thought during the recent sudden move of my parents — lessons we can apply every day at work and in life.

When I was helping my parents with the move, I found bags and bags and bags and bags of bags! I share this to give you an idea of what my dad was feeling when he said, “What am I gonna do with this stuff? It won’t fit in the apartment. Maybe we shouldn’t move.”  He was clearly experiencing the flight and freeze of fight, flight or freeze.

As he started rummaging through it all, he became increasingly overwhelmed, “Why did we keep this? We don’t need that,” criticizing himself and my mom.

I suggested to Dad that he focus on what he wanted to keep. I imagined Dad doing what he loves to do.  He loves to cook, golf, read, listen to music and educational tapes, go on walks, exercise, tinker, purify his water, watch war movies.  He often said he’d like to get back to doing water color painting.

We had agreed to take this “journey of a thousand miles”, one step at a time. So I first suggested he gather everything he wanted to keep relating to his art supplies. When that was done, he focused on his golf “keepers.” Then he gathered the books and tapes he wanted to keep …

As he gathered these things, he perked up. He started talking about what he planned to paint and how he could set up his bench in his room. He spoke of the golf league he wanted to join and jotted down a note to himself to call about signing up. He wondered how he could practice French and put that on a list to talk about with the activities director at his new place. He was no longer stressed and concerned by all the stuff. And he was developing an action plan to accomplish his vision. The stuff that was left was what was left! He could choose to give it to friends or family, donate, sell, recycle or put in the trash.

When we take a moment to imagine ourselves doing and being what brings us joy and inspires us, then we become inspired and we receive ideas on how to create what we imagine. When we stay focused on what we truly we want, on what really matters, in work and in life, we receive ideas on how to create and expand upon what we really want.

We don’t waste time, energy, and money, getting rid of or letting go of what we don’t want. What we don’t want or what doesn’t matter is no longer a focus and shows itself out.

Einstein said, “If you can imagine it, you can achieve it.”

Are you focused on what you really want? Or on what you don’t want? What could you imagine?