For the longest time, I never wanted to say, “If you are unhappy at work, what is your part in it?” I didn’t want to say that because I didn’t want to blame the victim. After all, corporate America is so imperfect. Companies are big and unwieldy, and small failings, especially of senior managers, become magnified to make life really difficult.
But I am at a crossroads that I’ve been coming to for some time. It turns out that a ton of what happens is in our control. Neuroscience, which is exploding, is telling us that our thoughts, especially when we verbalize them, become our intention. And that intention drives action, which drives outcome. What that means is that work, and life, goes in the direction of what you say, to yourself and to others.
Here is my challenge to you. For just two days, every time you have a constricting thought, switch it out for a more productive one. So if someone cuts you off running down the crowded subway stairs, instead of accepting the thought, “Jerk! It’s all about him, isn’t it?” try, “Huh, he looks like he’s in a hurry. I am too.” Or if you are in a meeting and the person who irritates you most does that thing they do, ask, “What could their positive intention be?”
It’s a strange thing, but freedom can be right inside, and can begin with one small shift at a time.