Imagine that the inner workings of your brain are wired together just like a computer. Your own personal Operating System. Its job is simply to keep all your various programs humming in action; it drives everything – dictating how well you perform, what results you produce, how you think and feel. Let’s refer to it as your State. And just like the OS on your computer, most of us have no idea exactly how our State works, what it’s up to, or how it impacts our lives.
Why should you care? Because understanding your State is the key to not only upgrading your career, but any area of your life. And I say that with more than a decade of Executive Coaching experience under my belt. In fact, this year, I used a State Change to knock my own career out of the park.
If you’re looking to upgrade your career, relationship, body, you name it, this blog is for you.
A SORRY STATE
At the end of last year, I didn’t realize it, but I was in a bad State. Despite working my butt off, I was not producing anywhere near what I wanted, and I was failing in my sales goals. It didn’t make sense! I’ve been in this business for decades, I’m great at what I do, what gives? And work wasn’t the only area where I was having trouble. In search of finding the man of my dreams, I had been on EIGHTY-something first dates but was still single. Things were pretty pathetic.
I was not my best self, and I was mad at life. After a disappointing business call, I’d walk around thinking, You gotta be kidding me! I’m trying to make a difference on this planet! Why can’t I have a sale? This is ridiculous! After a bad date, I would throw my hands up and think, Look at how hard I’m trying! Why can’t I find love? Where is he?!
Although I didn’t notice it right away, it wasn’t long before my sorry State started to have an even wider impact. If I left a voicemail and didn’t get a call back, I’d go straight to, Why am I always alone? Nobody cares about me! Poor Beth!
And I really felt that way! It sucked!
THE PITY PARTY
I’ll never forget the evening I was getting ready for yet another date, and already discounting it as a waste of time. I Skyped my sister Marnie and told her how reluctant I was feeling. “I can’t believe I’m about to go on first date number 85! How many dates do I need to go on before I find my guy?!” I was glad I had not put on make up yet, because I began to cry.
Marnie listened for a moment and said, “You should light a pity party candle, because Sad Pathetic Beth is in the house!” My own sister saw right through my tears and called me out! I cried more and asked, “Is there any other way to be right now?!” A very telling question. At that moment, feeling sorry for myself was quite literally the ONLY option I could see. Why? Because I was living in a State – the State of Sad Pathetic Beth.
Our State is the lens through which we see the world. And as you might guess, the view from Sad Pathetic Beth was two things: Sad and Pathetic. That view was creating my results in every area of my life: no sales, lame dates, friends that never called back, traffic on my way into the city, you name it. It was one hell of a pity party!
It got so bad that I started turning everything into a pity party – even the good stuff! One day my sister Lauren was sharing a story about an amazing business opportunity she had brought to fruition. I felt myself spiraling into my State. Instead of being happy, I sat there wallowing in my Sad Pathetic-ness.Why can’t I produce results like that? What’s going on with me?! And I realized right on the spot: this narrative was me, and it was ruining the quality of my life. Clearly, it was time for a State Change.
The trick with a State Change is that you can’t just say, “My State sucks, I’m unhappy!” and go trade it in for a better one. First, you need to deal with the old State – get to know it deeply, really see what makes it tick. That meant I had to do some detective work on Sad Pathetic Beth in action.
My mission was to catch her in her tracks. I kept a log of every sad pathetic thought, so I could learn her language. I noted how she listened. I tracked her triggers. I even made a Sad Pathetic Beth collage that I kept on my desk. And I was very careful not to allow myself to become Sad Pathetic Beth about my Sad-Pathetic-ness. That’s a very common trap with this type of work, so I knew I had to keep myself from falling in that hole.
This process took a couple of weeks, and a lot of patience and a sense of humor, too. You need heavy doses of both in order to face what doesn’t work about yourself. Eventually I was laughing at Sad Pathetic Beth! It became easy to catch myself slipping a “why me” into my thinking, or to see the defensiveness and wallowing in my actions. And that’s how I knew I had got all the way down to the root of the problem. I was bearing witness to my own change! I no longer lived within the State, but was observing it. I was finally ready to move on! Now it was time for me to dismantle what wasn’t working, and replace it with an Upgraded State.
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WILDLY FRIGGIN’ IMPRESSIVE
This is the part–designing who I was going to be in my career, in love, the whole enchilada. I thought about what I wanted the view from my new State to look like? What words would excite me and inspire me to be a certain way? What was the opposite of sad and pathetic? The answer I came up with was … Wildly Friggin’ Impressive.
Wildly Friggin’ Impressive Beth wasn’t just going to deliver on her sales promise, she was going to break records. She was a rainmaker. A world-changer. And she wasn’t just going to date around, she was going to find her soulmate. No, scratch that – she was going to relax and let him find her! And you know what else? He would take her to Paris. How’s that for a Wildly Impressive view? Très friggin’ bien, baby!
Then slowly, I began dismantling the old State – every time I’d catch a thought from Sad Pathetic Beth, I’d replace it with one from Wildly Friggin’ Impressive. Brick by brick, thought by thought, I built a whole New State. It’ll still require maintenance and upkeep, but now I know how to catch it, flip it, andlive it in an instant, which makes me pretty proud.