For the past 8 years I've either worked as a self-employed person, consultant or manager in a company. In all instances I have always set my hours, created the rules and guidelines and essentially danced to the beat of my own drums.
Fast forward to today, I decided to take a job as an employee, as a Coach with an International company, working remotely.
When I signed up for the job, I was truly excited to be a part of a global company because I wanted to learn and expand my capacity, while doing what I love, help people be their best selves.
It was and still is, a match made in heaven but with a twist.
Due to the nature of the company, all interactions with everyone in the organization, is done remotely and online. And when I say all interactions, I mean all. With team members spread throughout the world, operating in various time zones; training, communication, agreements, assessments, meetings etc. are all done through online systems and applications.
While I have conducted most of my businesses remotely and online for a while now, I have never experienced being a part a business ran strictly online, on such a large scale and with so many people all at once.
The initial few days were very daunting, navigating my way around the virtual space, familiarizing myself with new applications, while learning and gaining a better understanding of the company’s culture.
Additionally, because I am now an employee, there are several rules and standards, I am expected to adhere to, none of which were created by me.
Honestly, while I knew I would experience some challenges making the transition, what I didn't realize at the time was, the number of false beliefs and arguments I unconsciously had about being employed.
From the day the agreement was forwarded, and I began reading through it, I became aware of the discomfort I felt around having to follow so many guidelines and protocols. While I consciously understood why and its importance in protecting both the company's interest and my own, I strongly felt some resistance building up.
The discomfort intensified even more when I began reading the Employee’s Handbook. I felt the anxiety and overwhelm rise to the extent that I had to put it down.
Now, I know you might be wondering why would I feel so strongly about something seemingly so good, right?
You see, sometimes, actually, most of the times, we unconsciously accept beliefs about subject matters, usually early in our life, which then becomes the framework for how we see and experience those matters.
In some instances, the beliefs may have originated from an influential voice in our lives, such as a parent or organization. Or, it could have been created from our own perception or interpretation of a situation.
It is important to note that the belief does not necessarily have to be based on facts but simply a notion, one accepts to be true.
In my case, the belief about employment was formed, based on my observation of the example set by my family, who were mostly entrepreneurs. I grew up seeing both parents and many family members, run and manage their own businesses. This modeled example, helped to create the association in my mind that having one’s own business was the thing to do.
Truth be told, I believed that I had sufficiently dealt with these false beliefs and notions through my inner work of healing and reprogramming of my mind. However, this new experience with the job, now shows me that there is still some residue of the belief in my subconscious that is obviously still affecting me.
While I’ll admit, its intensity isn’t as powerful as in previous years, especially because of my growth in self-awareness, I am still affected to an extent, by the limiting belief.
The reality is, this narrow belief may have continued to go unnoticed, if the job opportunity did not come about.
As such, I see the job as a teacher, helping me see and deal with the residual effects of this belief that no longer serves me.
I believe that life is like a mirror reflecting back to us who we are. Through or interactions with situations and people, we are better able to see ourselves, if of course, we choose to embrace and see them as such.
Let’s say for instance, I was unaware of this limiting belief, I could have easily missed this golden opportunity to do further work on myself, because my attention would have been fixated on seeing the job as the problem.
Learning to develop a similar mindset, where everything and everyone is a lesson, is a beneficial and strategic approach to life. As you can probably imagine, from this viewpoint, life becomes easier because you no longer feel the need to fight with situations and people. And it becomes one filled with opportunities for your growth and expansion.
How do you then begin to re-program your mind to see these invaluable opportunities, even in the most challenging and difficult situations?
1. Start with the small things- If you start with a not so challenging situation that doesn’t necessarily cause you to be flustered but instead, creates a mild irritation within you, this can be great to place to start.
For instance, an undesired noise coming from your neighbor’s house in the middle of the night, may trigger some annoyance. In that moment, if you can, become aware of how you feel without judging what you feel.
When you become aware of the emotion, you are essentially separating yourself from it, which then can potentially minimize its effect.
From this unclouded space, you are better able to delve deeper, into better understanding, the thought behind, why you feel the way you do and change it if necessary.
2. Make it a habit to ask yourself, “What is this person or situation showing me?”- I absolutely love this question. It is a game changer that helps to move you from being subjected to a situation, into a more objective, curious position.
Often times, we conclude on matters prematurely, determining that it is this or that, which essentially satisfies the logical mind’s need, to categorize and label experiences, as either good or bad.
While this approach may work well in helping us to deal with familiar situations, it can also hinder us from being open to new opportunities, that can potentially aid our development.
I believe, a better and more expansive approach is to remain curious. Curiosity helps us to be more open and exploratory in our perspective, allowing for new insights to come through.
When we ask ourselves powerful questions like, “What is this person or situation showing me?”, we become open and available, to seeing beyond our immediate body of information, thereby welcoming new information and understandings.
3. Switch your focus from life happening to you, to life happening for you- A large majority of people, operate from a space of victim hood, interpreting life’s challenges as happening to them.
Because what we focus on expands. If we focus on seeing life as bad and against us, then, that’s what we will experience more of. However, if we switch our focus and begin to see how much of life is always happening for us, we will inevitable experience more of this.
As profoundly stated by the great Aristotle, “Life is neither good nor bad but thinking makes it so.” All of life’s events and situations are neutral, while we give them meaning.
From this place of immense power, where we get to create our reality, we are afforded the opportunity to give life meaning that serves us and helps us to grow.
4. Practice, practice, practice- We have all heard the age-old adage, Practice makes perfect, which is true for everything, both pleasant and unpleasant.
The more you practice becoming aware of yourself and your automatic reactions to challenging situations and people, the more empowered you become.
You are then better able to use these experiences to serve you, by helping you to transcend any limiting beliefs, thereby creating the space for growth and expansion.
“I truly believe that everything that we do and everyone that we meet is put in our path for a purpose. There are no accidents; we’re all teachers- if we’re willing to pay attention to the lessons.” Marla Gibbs
When we adopt the mindset of seeing everything and everyone as a teacher and lesson, we take the lead in creating the reality that best serves us. We become perpetual students of life, where we are continuously learning and developing, all towards our never-ending growth and expansion.