What sounds like a phrase of a fortune cookie, could actually have more impact in your life than you’d think. The headline displays a certain belief towards life which is rooted in an underlying narrative that everyone defines for him/herself.
Have you ever heard sentences like “If I just had xy, then I could do/buy/move …”, “I cannot do x because …” or “If my boss/team/client wasn’t that way, then …”. Those narratives attribute responsibility away from the speaker towards other people or circumstances.
In short: “If you cannot swim, it’s due to the lousy swimwear.”
And although there might be tough life circumstances, attributing all your ‘why nots’ to external factors, seems a bit too easy. As a coach there is only one question to ask: “Now that we know, what isn’t possible – what can you influence?”
What can you influence?
If you want to live a happy, successful life, you need to take responsibility for your life. Your life in this sense includes your mood, attitudes, words and decisions.
Let’s have an example.
Are you struggling with bad vibes in your team? Then check how you show up on Monday morning. What mood do you bring to the team calls and meetings? What questions do you ask? Are you asking questions at all? Are you genuinely interested in the life of your team members? – You cannot change the other people, but you can change your behaviour. And that might have an effect on others, too.
I recall a project that really suffered from bad vibes. Nobody greeted in the morning, there was only bad talk in the coffee and lunch breaks. It was impossible to tell how it started. But I decided to change that mood – at least for me. So I went into that room greeting everyone and smiling. One of my closest colleagues asked puzzled why I was in such a good mood. I told him that I decided to be in that mood – since bad mood was already sufficiently available in the project room. Just two days later, the colleague entered the room smiling. He told me that he decided to be in good mood, too. We had a great project with cool lunch breaks!
“But … you don’t know my situation” – I hear you say. And that is true. But you need to decide whether you want to continue blaming your circumstances or if you start asking yourself what you actually can influence. And maybe it is just your mood in the middle of stress. Maybe it is just that moment of not gossiping in the coffee kitchen. Maybe your circumstances stay unpleasant – but there are always aspects that you can influence. And once you start doing it, it will have an effect on your environment, too.
And this is why I believe ‘The best is yet to come’ – because you can still change.