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Career Coach Training–What You Focus on Grows

Have you ever noticed that what you focus on “grows”? You’ve probably had the experience of buying a car and, prior to the purchase, you hadn’t noticed that particular model on the roads, but after the purchase, you see it everywhere. That’s because you’ve created a new awareness for this particular item.

Depositphotos_1230282_lThe same holds true for our thoughts and perspectives. The more we focus on negative thoughts, the more we “see” them everywhere. They become a lens through which we view the world.

There is a direct correlation between what we focus on and the depth/breadth of the neural pathways in our brain. If the brain focuses on problems, the neural pathways grow to reinforce the belief that there are problems. If the brain focuses on solutions, the neural pathways grow to reinforce the belief that there are solutions. As David Rock, author of Your Brain at Work, notes “changing behavior requires deepening our ability to choose what to focus on…”

What we do regularly becomes a habit, deeply embedded in the basal ganglia of our brains, which means that it becomes our default mode.

Choose Your Focus

Depositphotos_3672291_l

If our default mode is “this will be hard,” our brains will look for evidence to prove we are right. If our default mode is “there is a solution to this,” our brain will look for evidence to prove we are right. When coaching your clients, ask them, “Which lens do you want to look through?!”

Let’s make this relevant to our immediate situations. Think about the week in front of you. You likely have some challenges within the appointments on your calendar. Maybe it’s a difficult client project. Maybe it’s a lack of appointments (aka, income-generating business) on the calendar. Maybe it’s a relationship that will require kid-glove handling. Maybe it’s a cold call that will require some courage on your part.

What do you want your default mode to be around these challenges? Will it be, “This will be hard”? Or will it be, “There is a solution to this.”

How about your clients’ situations? Their challenges may sound like: “No one is hiring.” Or “I hate networking.” Or, “Who would ever hire me?” Or, “I’ll never get a job making as much as I used to.”

Change Your Default Mode
To embed a new default mode requires frequency and repetition. Here are just a few ways to bump up our (or our clients’) frequency and repetition:

  • Reminders: Post stickies or index cards in plain sight to remind you of your new default mode. Write it on your calendar. Put it in Evernote or Notes or a favorite App.
  • Partnership: Ask a buddy to check in with you on your new default mode. Make sure you choose someone who will be supportive and non-judgmental.
  • Languaging: Use phrasing like “I am growing in my ability to _________ [e.g., see solutions]” to allow your mind to accept that this is a developmental process.
  • Tracking: Measure and track behaviors that support the new default mode. That’s why weight-loss apps like MyFitnessPaul are so popular—they help people augment their focus.
  • Monitoring: In addition to tracking the behavior, consider journaling around what’s working, and what you’re learning along the way. This can help keep you in curiosity mode, instead of condemnation mode, if you feel your progress isn’t going as quickly as you’d like it to!

So my challenge to you today: If there’s an area that you’d like to be more of a “solution” focus instead of a “problem” focus, join me! Choose your preferred focus and change your default. Share your insights and wins below!

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3 Responses to “Career Coach Training–What You Focus on Grows”

  1. Thanks, Susan, for reminding us how deliberate changing our perspective needs to be – and how we can, with gentleness, shift our mental habits. You are a blessing! May you have a day filled with mindful and positive focus!

  2. […] Career Coach Training–What You Focus on Grows – Susan Whitcomb […]

  3. April M Hunt says:

    This is wonderful! I hope you don’t mind, I’ve linked to this article as part of a post I wrote on just this subject. Thanks so much. ~ April

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