“Overthinking: the art of creating problems that aren’t even there.”
I’m currently having a planning week so we are revisiting one of our popular articles from this time last year! ‘The Only Two Problems You’re Ever Up Against’.
It’s now a couple of weeks since I kicked off the Certified Clarity Coach Training 2018. One of the things that really had a big impact for people was when I told them that all my clients arrive with the same two challenges. So I decided to share this excerpt from my Sunday Times bestselling book, RESULTS: Think Less, Achieve More (©2016 Jamie Smart, published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd):
I was in a hurry. I was due to collect my car from the mechanics at 5:30pm and take my daughters for dinner and a movie, but when I got to the garage, the car wasn’t ready. ‘It’ll be ready in five minutes, mate – we’re just running some final checks’. I knew better than to argue, and took a seat in the waiting room, but my head was swirling with urgency and reproach.
Why didn’t I arrange to pick the car up earlier? How were we going to get to the movie on time? Why did I try to squeeze so much in today?
I peered into the garage to see my vehicle elevated six feet in the air on a car lift, with two mechanics attending to it with a hammer and a blowtorch. What kind of ‘final check’ was this? I instantly saw this was no five-minute job. My heart sank even further and my head went into overdrive.
What’s wrong with my car? Why am I such a bad father? Why does everything always have to be so difficult? Why do I always do this?
I started pacing around the garage to try and dispel some of the tension and anxiety. Suddenly, a quiet voice spoke from the depths of my being…
‘Where do you believe your experience is coming from?’ I stopped in my tracks. ‘Did you believe your feelings were letting you know about the car, or the mechanics, or the movie, or your daughters? Did you believe your feelings were letting you know about your past, or your future, or what you’re like as a person?’
In a heartbeat, I fell out of my contaminated thinking and back into the moment. I called my ex-wife and explained I’d be late, and asked her to feed the girls; that I’d be picking them up shortly and taking them to the movie. The solution to my predicament was obvious once I fell out of contaminated thinking. We’re built for reality. Our intelligence and wisdom is always there, ready to guide us the moment we wake up to reality. The only thing that gets in the way is contaminated thinking, arising from the outside-in misunderstanding. We all have areas in our lives where things flow effortlessly, and other areas where we struggle. There’s a way in which all my clients have the same two challenges when I first meet them. You’re about to realize the only two challenges that ever stop people making progress, and the unexpected key this realization holds for creating results.
Challenge one: Preoccupation
When I first meet a potential client, they’re typically preoccupied with something. This preoccupation can take many forms, but one thing’s usually clear; they’ve been thinking about it. A lot! Brooding, ruminating, trying to figure it out. They’ve given it a lot of thought, and that’s usually made matters worse. Here are some examples of trhe kinds of things people have been thinking far too much about:
– I want to get slim, fit and healthy, but I keep falling back into bad habits.
– I’m desperate to improve my money situation, but nothing seems to change.
– I’m trying to find the right relationship (or fix my current one).
– I’m trying to find my purpose in life, my true calling.
– I need to get more clients.
– I want to raise morale in my company, and get people more engaged.
– I’ve been thinking about starting my own business.
– I’m trying to change my limiting beliefs.
– I’m trying to figure out what our competitors are planning to do that could knock us out of the game.
– I want to play a bigger game but I don’t know what it is.
– I want to spend less time at the office and more time with my family.
– We need to disrupt our industry before someone else does.
– I want to change our company culture but nothing seems to work.
By the time they get to me, they’ve usually chewed it over, written checklists and ordered multiple books from Amazon about it. Sometimes they’ve made progress in all kinds of other areas, but there’s this one thing that they just don’t feel they’re progressing with (or at least, not in the way they want to).
Challenge two: Underestimation
Similarly, when I first meet my clients, they tend to radically underestimate their talents, abilities and innate capacities. And do you know where they tend to overlook their talents and abilities the most? You guessed it – in the area where they’re preoccupied. Typically, they have a number of aspects of their life where they do really well. If we go through their personal histories, we find numerous examples of stellar qualities, including…
– Natural leadership (sometimes in ‘crunch’ situations where many people would crumble).
– Creativity and innovation, finding elegant solutions to problems.
– Wisdom, intuition and gut-feel, bringing them clarity of direction in times of uncertainty.
– Resilience and resourcefulness (often in the face of extremely challenging circumstances). High performance (often at tasks that would have others trem- bling with trepidation). Love, connection, kindness and compassion. An innate capacity for realization and insight that shows up exactly when they need it. I’ve never met a person who didn’t have examples of these kinds of qualities. It sometimes takes a little time and curiosity to find them, but they’re always there. Yet when it comes to the area of their lives where they’ve been perceiving themselves as ‘stuck’ or ‘struggling’, people tend to overlook the fact that they’re connected to these powerful resources.
The unexpected solution
We’ve been conditioned to seek additive approaches, so when I explain the two challenges, the next question is usually, ‘So how do I fix that?’. But there’s a more useful question to ask first: ‘Why do people get stuck in these two challenges in the first place?’ The answer to this is simple: contaminated thinking arising from the outside-in misunderstanding. This profoundly deceptive ‘trick of the mind’ is responsible for challenges one and two, and is the cause of the majority of problems we face as individuals, organizations and societies. The solution is a deeper embodied understanding of the principles behind clarity; an intuitive feel for the inside-out nature of how your mind and perception already works.
So how do you deepen your embodied understanding? The answer to that question is at the heart of all my work, and everything we do here at Clarity HQ. You can check out the resources below whenever the time is right.
By the way, every September when we kick off the clarity coach training programme, we have some people who can’t make the first module. I get it – it’s just after summer holidays, and schools are starting back, so about 10% of the people who are on the programme end up missing the first weekend.
But that’s OK. You see, we capture all the audio and video and upload it to the Clarity Academy portal so we can catch everyone up in time for Module 2 in October. So if you join us before the end of September, we’ve got time to get you up to speed in time for module 2 and the rest of the Clarity Coach Training programme. So if you’ve been kicking yourself because you thought you’d missed the boat, I’m happy to tell you that you’re not too late. If you want to get caught up and join us for the rest of the programme, we’re taking late enrolments until September 28th, so just go to www.JamieSmart.com/coach to get the details and book your place.
To your increasing clarity!
Sunday Times Bestselling Author, Speaker and Executive Coach
PLUS: Whenever you’re ready… here are 8 ways I can help you get the clarity and results that matter to you:
1. Listen to the ‘Get Clarity’ Podcast www.jamiesmart.com/claritynow/
2. Hire me to speak at your event: www.jamiesmart.com/book-jamie-to-speak-about/
If you’re a coach or interested in becoming one…
3. Join The Thriving Coaches Facebook group
4. Listen to The Thriving Coaches Podcast
5. Take part in the Thriving Coaches Blueprint. our 90 day, rapid-implementation programme to help you get more clients and grow your coaching or therapy practice (doors now open!)
6. Learn more about the Certified Clarity Coach Training Programme, our 10-month deep-immersion into the principles behind clarity (doors now open! The programme starts September 2018 and won’t run again until 2020 at the earliest.)
If you’re looking to change job, career or move from FTE to something more fulfilling…
7. Join the Transition Launchpad Facebook group
8. Learn more about Escape Velocity: The Transition Blueprint our 90 day programme to help you transition into doing fulfilling work.