Several weeks ago, I heard a Willie Nelson song that seemed to be speaking directly to me. The refrain from "Energy Follows Thought" goes like this:
Your mind is in control
Even when you do not know
And if you let it idle
Ain't no telling where it'll go
Imagine what you are
And get out of the way
Remember, energy follows thought
So be careful what you say
Lately, I've been working a lot on what I tell myself, what my internal narrative is. Who am I? Why am I? What do I believe? What do I do? Something seems to happen in your 40's. A shift. A decision to no longer hang on but to become. A switch from forging forward to emerging gracefully.
You know those days when you wake up and feel awful? Those days when, if you had no obligations, you'd happily curl back up in bed and cocoon into the next day. I don't have too many of those, but lately, I've been coaching myself to reframe my mind on the hard days. Instead of saying, "Just get through; it'll be over soon." I say to myself, "Smile and be nice." These are the days that it's most important to make other people happy, to go the extra mile, and put in my best. When you can do that, even on hard days, you go to bed thinking, "Wow, that was amazing." And you sleep like a baby. But if you instead spend the day slogging through, being grumpy, and doing a half-ass job, you get into bed in a crappy mood and likely dream about all the things you could have done better.
Whatever you tell yourself, you'll be right. Tell yourself things are hard and that "the man" is keeping you down; you're right. Tell yourself the system is rigged, and you have no chance; you're right. Or tell yourself you can get through, and you can succeed, and you'll be proudly right. Tell yourself that you can game the system yourself and beat the odds, and you'll be on fire.
"Whether you think you can, or you think you can't- you're right" ~Henry Ford.
This doesn't even have to apply to grandiose concepts like your career. It can be as simple as getting through a workout. As soon as you tell yourself, "This is too hard," you'll stop. But if you say, "This is hard, but I like the challenge," you'll get through it and emerge stronger. If something is worth doing, be it a workout, presentation, or even a meal to prepare, find a way to reframe the work in your mind. Tell yourself, "I've got this," and you will kick ass.
One of my favorite things my hubby taught me is the seemingly simple concept of "Make it fun." I mean, duh. But honestly, I can't tell you how often that simple idea has gotten me through some hard times. Taking a mundane, difficult, or down-right miserable situation and finding a way to make it fun can be challenging. But when you reframe your thinking to focus solely on that tactic, the whole thing changes.
In November last year, I took my 12-year-old daughter on a plane trip to Albuquerque, N.M., to see her great-grandmother for (what we now know) the last time. Our direct flight got canceled, and we had to reroute our 3-hour trip into a 13-hour trip with three plane switches. We weren't going to miss a day with her. It was, in all ways, a hard day. But I looked at my kiddo and said, let's have fun! We did the best people-watching, concocting ridiculous stories to go with what they were doing. We ate sugar at each airport. We laughed hysterically right through the 11 pm pickup of our rental car. We made it fun, even though it was hard.
What are you telling yourself? What is the conversation like in your head? Are you pumping yourself up? Or are you already telling yourself you can't, you won't, or you shouldn't? Try using the idea of "making it fun" for just one task today. Your energy, your actions, your movements, and your efforts will follow that thought.
"Remember, energy follows thought, so be careful what you say." ~ Willie Nelson