What’s working well in your life? What’s working well in your business? What’s working well in your relationships? Plain and simple, what’s working well?
“What’s working well is a question of regular practice in my home and in my office. That said, my humanness can get the best of me too, where a reminder is needed to get me back on track. The reminder may come from myself or from someone else. When you hone this habit, as is the case for all beneficial habits, you are better able to catch yourself when you drift off course and redirect. My mentors and coaches often ask this question of me as well which serves as another tool for success.
The question, “what’s working well?” is also frequently extended to my clients. Sometimes people are caught off guard which is demonstrated by silence hanging for several moments. This pause is very good. Why? Because they have been stopped in their tracks and are giving consideration to what they realize they have been overlooking. “What’s working well?” is a powerful tool to change our perspective. When we change perspective, we change our experience. Circumstances may remain the same, yet we open ourselves to new insights which create modification in our interpretation of events.
“What’s working well?” may seem like an over simplified question. Some may even consider it trite. In fact, you may scoff and believe exploring this question is a waste of time. After all, there are lots of problems, challenges, and issues. Agreed. There will always be problems, challenges and issues. Few of us like this fact. However, disliking it is ineffective in changing the point. The response, “sorry” comes to mind, though without problems, challenges and issues we never improve ourselves or our skills. Think about the last time you thought or mentioned you have a preference for something other than what you are facing. In other words, a desire to move beyond, grow from where you are to where you want to be. Be careful of shifting the focus to the external circumstances! Everything you experience is a result of your response as opposed to the actual event(s).
Recently, a loved one was in a car accident . . . with a deer. What’s working well? Everyone was unharmed and okay. They have car insurance. Other transportation is available during the repair. Everyone was unharmed and okay. You may be second guessing yourself at the moment or thinking, “Karen, are you paying attention? You already mentioned ‘everyone was unharmed and okay’.” Oh, really? How many times are you faced with a problem or challenge that you are blessed with the safety of yourself or others, yet brush right over that detail and focus on the problem? In the event someone is injured . . . or yes, dies . . . which happens . . . then we realize what we typically refer to as a problem is insignificant.
Acknowledging “what’s working well?” is a form of gratitude. This is very different than denying the existence of problems we face. Problems are real and exist, yes. Be honest, admit their presence, and most importantly, deal with them appropriately. A situation tends to worsen when we avoid what is our responsibility to resolve. We know this, yet amazing how often we can experience moments of amnesia. Also, the opposite; meddling in other people’s affairs; is extremely detrimental to all parties involved. A person is unable to learn a necessary lesson when we continue to interfere and we make all sorts of excuses and justifications for our actions. Ironic, we enable, and then get annoyed with them for ceasing to change their ways!
Why is it imperative to develop the habit of focusing on “what’s working well?” Simple, we get more of wherever we put our attention. How has continual focus on our problems ever helped? In my experience this only leads to frustration, lack of solutions and we still have our problems to solve.
The concept of getting more of whatever we think, speak and act on has been around for centuries. Adages such as . . .
- What you sow you . . .
- Something comes back to bite you in the . . .
- What goes around, comes . . .
Bet you could complete all of these with ease. Be especially careful when you think or say the last statement as it is often expressed in vindictiveness. Why be cautious? Reread the phrases. When you carry vindictiveness in your mind or heart, you are inviting the same back to you! That is why we can never escape or hide from ourselves; though many of us go to great length to attempt; rather we must transform our ways through action.
Start with areas that are easier for you to connect to the feeling of gratitude. Practice, practice, and practice some more. Yes, this will take time. Consider the alternative. Many are unaware that without the conscious commitment to what improves us we are on an automatic downward course to what is detrimental. The choice is yours. Persist through the discomfort of disciplining yourself or bask in the misery of ineffectiveness. When you experience significant improvement with this application, then proceed, ever so gradually, applying the concept in areas that are more of a struggle to identify “what’s working well?’ Oh, by the way, if you say you’re grateful for something (or someone) can others draw that conclusion by your tone, your expressions and your actions? Unless detectable, it is deception.
This month many celebrate Thanksgiving which has led to the association of focusing on gratitude and giving thanks. As opposed to a once a year visit, what if November became a benchmark for a measurement of your progress in this realm from the previous year? The journey always begins with a single step. What’s working well for you? Share your thankfulness here.
In gratitude and appreciation for each of you!