Isn’t it interesting how something can happen that instantly changes your entire perspective?
Author Stephen Covey refers to this sudden occurrence as a ‘paradigm shift’ in his book, The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People. Such ‘shifts’ are at the heart of powerful life and business coaching. It’s rarely a situation in itself that needs changing, but rather the way we chose to interpret it – and thus emotionally engage.
Let me share a personal example of this in hope that it might also inspire you to look at the situations in your life and business with renewed perspective.
Coffee Shop Reality Checks
Recently I was in Starbucks, indulging in a hot chocolate with cream, whilst going through my diary and business to-do list. Much of which focuses on my plans for the remainder of the year.
There’s a lot going on behind the scenes in my life — which involves a brand spankin’ new company website, repositioning of my coaching services, and planning an overseas wedding. It is all equally exciting and scary in equal measures.
I remember feeling overwhelmed and tense about all of the things I’d have to juggle with my business and personal life. Although I didn’t know it at the time, I became so engulfed in my thoughts that I started to feel a little sorry for myself.
My pity party didn’t last long because something happened — quite suddenly — that changed everything.
The Power of Paradigm Shifts
While sitting in the coffee shop looking outside through the window, I saw a hearse bearing a coffin and floral tribute that read “Mum,” followed by a horse and carriage and the funeral party. Suddenly I went numb.
It’s almost as if time went into slow motion. I felt a sharp pang deep in my stomach that words can’t explain.
Here I was fretting about everything on my to-do list and somewhere a family in my local community was burying their daughter, mother and wife.
It was the reality check I needed.
My attention shifted to how privileged and grateful I am to have my health, a loving family, a husband-to-be that I adore and a business I love.
That’s not to say they’re aren’t bits that are less than rosy. But the point is, in that moment, I was choosing to see the bits that highlighted how extremely lucky I am. In fact, all of the above is truly secondary — as the biggest gift of all is my life, every breath that I still take with ease.
Steve Jobs spoke openly about how he believed death to be one of life’s biggest motivators.
“… almost everything – all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.”
I couldn’t agree more.