The magical power of thought determines if we are thriving moment to moment or suffering and sometimes the hardest thing to know is that we are only ever feeling our thinking even when it looks like we are feeling our circumstances.
A couple of weeks ago a colleague called me to review a proposal he was creating for a company that he wanted to consult with. He was very excited about the possibilities of working with this group and according to him, they were very excited to work with him. After their last meeting the company requested that Joe, my colleague, write a proposal for the year. Joe went right to work on it and put together what he thought was one of his best proposals. He attached it to an email and off it went.
A few days later I got a call from Joe and he sounded down. I asked what was up and he explained that he had not heard from the company about his proposal. I could tell Joe was feeling a little insecure as he went on sharing. He said “maybe I asked for too much of their time? Maybe my proposal sounded like I was promising too much? Maybe they are having a hard time with my fee.”
I asked Joe to pause for a moment and reflect on the last conversation that he had with the company. He told me that they had discussed most of what was in the proposal at the last meeting. So I asked if he had followed up with them? He told me that he was planning to today but was really worried because they had not reached back to him first.
I explained to Joe that this is a time to get curious before discouraged. I could see that Joe was living in the story of thought that he had made up about this company. Working with them, what he could do with them and for them and the relationship that they would build. I could also see that because the outer world was not matching his inner world of thought, he was becoming paralyzed with fear and discouragement. Joe’s expectations about how he thought it should be were paralyzing his ability to see possibility.
After asking Joe a few questions about his last conversation, he started to feel better. He started to remember how excited the company was to work with him. I could see Joe’s mood starting to shift as his thinking started to shift. I again mentioned that this would be a good time to get curious about the situation, learn what they saw in the proposal and explore their needs. By now Joe’s state of mind had really shifted and was no longer focused on his insecure thoughts but was focused on thoughts about how he could be helpful to this company. He had made the leap from his head of personal thought to serving.
Joe called the company to set up a time to review the proposal. When he spoke to the project leader, she told him she was so happy that he called. She explained that they thought he may have decided that he did not want to work with them after all. “Why would think that?” asked Joe. The project leader explained that they never got a proposal from him and that they were starting to get concerned. Joe laughed in relief, realized he was one letter off on the email and send it right over.
If we don’t understand that we are never feeling our circumstances but only ever our thinking about our circumstances its easy to get lost. Joe’s story about what he thought was true was so rich and the feeling so strong, it clouded his ability to see what was actually true. He retreated into his insecurities versus seeing that his low feelings and mood were the ripples of low quality thought passing through. Seeing the truth in how thought works would have allowed Joe to get unhooked from the round and round thinking he was doing. He was determined to make his story a reality instead of seeing the self-correcting nature of new thought and curiosity. After all, our experience is never determined by where we are but by the direction we choose to look .