Julio came to me for coaching because he was getting extremely stressed about his main MBA project. He’d often get completely stuck, making no
progress for days on end, even as the deadline loomed.
As he described what was happening, he told me about the thoughts in his mind at the time:
- "I’m never going to get this done in time”
- “I can’t do this”
- “I’m no good at this subject”
- “I’ll never get my MBA”
With thoughts like this, no wonder he was stressed!
Julio also told me about a set of presentations he and his fellow students had given to their tutors. He told me how the other
students had all got very critical feedback - they'd been "ripped to shreds” as he put it. He told me how almost all the feedback he’d been given was encouraging. He couldn’t think of a single
fellow student who’d got better feedback than him!
As he talked, it became clear to him that his thoughts simply weren’t true. And they certainly weren’t helpful!
Mindfulness teaches us that we don’t have to believe a thought, just because it arises in our minds. With Mindfulness techniques, we can “step back” from thoughts and evaluate them. Are they true? Are they helpful? Will they lead in the direction we want to go? If not, we can simply let them pass away, and get on with pursuing what really matters to us.
I next spoke with Julio twelve days later. Once he stopped believing his unhelpful thoughts, they started to fade away of their own accord. That meant he was able to work much more effectively, which further boosted his confidence and effectiveness. He was very surprised how calm he was, so close to a deadline, and he was completely confident about completing the project on time.
Shakya Kumara is the founder of "Brief Mindfulness" and author of "Alive at Work! Reducing Stress while increasing Enjoyment, Effectiveness and Satisfaction." You can download a free copy from http://www.briefmindfulness.com/l/free-resources