Whilst working with a client recently he told me that he was feeling anxious and I was curious so I asked why..
“I have a meeting this week” he replied.
“Please tell me more” I asked.
“It’s a big meeting, with a huge company and it could not only change my month, this could change my year and even my career”.
“I want to get it right, make a good impression and get the outcome that I need”.
“What will happen if it doesn’t go well?” I asked.
“That would be a disaster, could effect my chances of promotion, I may even have to find myself a new job.”
As I listened to my client a few things started to occur to me. I could see that his thinking was creating a lot of unhelpful layers and I know from personal experience that when I start to layer insecure thinking, it distorts whatever I am dealing with or trying to achieve.
It’s like when I go to the opticians and they alter the lenses, I can barely see what’s in front of me. The letters on the board in front of me haven’t changed, I’m just not able to see them clearly.
I said to my client “it seems you have a lot of commas and not a lot of full stops.”
“What do you mean?” he asked.
“Let me give you a scenario. I say to you I’m going on a blind date tomorrow. You ask if I am looking forward to it… I’m not so sure. What happens if we don’t get on, or the conversation dries up, I like her but she doesn’t like me, or visa versa..”
He said “I see what you mean. Is it always a bad thing to have lots of commas?”
“I’m not saying it’s bad to have commas. It’s more that if we don’t see what is going on its very easy to find ourselves distorting what is front of us.
Do you remember what you were telling me when we sat down half an hour ago? I am going away on holiday on Sunday. Looking forward to the sun, lounging by the pool, long relaxing walks, visiting new places, experiencing different food. There are still lots of commas, they are just coming from a clearer, less gripping state of mind”.
“How do I know the difference between helpful and unhelpful commas?” He asked.
“What was the difference between your two examples of the meeting and the holiday?”
“That’s easy” he said. “The feeling”
“Great” I said.
There is always information in the feeling. A thermometer will reliably let you know the temperature in that moment. Not yesterday or tomorrow, this moment. Your feelings are just as reliable. They will let you know exactly where your mind is at in this moment. Not yesterday or tomorrow.
Take a moment to think how easy it is for you to entertain too many commas and how that can play out in your mind. What would happen if you had more full stops and less commas?
The fact that you have read this article will help you to be more aware of those times when we lose sight of what is in front of you and bring you back to the moment.