Use Acceptance to Release 'Sticky' Negative Thinking

Sometimes in life, you reach a crossroads when your old rules stop working.  A common one that many people experience is your 40 year old body can’t eat and process what your 20 year old body used to and you end up gaining weight, developing health issues or just feeling crappy all the time.  

And many of us successfully face this crossroads.  For me it was getting rid of most of the beer and all of the donuts and fast food; and instead cooking at home with lots of fruits, vegetables and healthy fats.

But What if I’ve Tried for Years and Haven’t Changed?

 Sometimes you face a challenge that is so big and negative thinking that is so pervasive, you literally spend years trying to work through it.  For me, this was my career. I spent 25 years working a corporate job. I loved the vast majority of the people that I worked with, but quickly realized that the endless meetings, red tape and politics were draining the life force right out of me.

For the last 20 years of my corporate career I struggled mightily with trying to make changes.  I considered many different career paths including business coaching, writing and some early failed attempts at real estate development.  My wife and I also often joked about selling everything, moving to Hawaii and buying a food truck. There are lots of people making the food truck thing work in Hawaii, but I eventually settled on studying to become a financial planner in 2006.

But I couldn’t move past the negative money and self-worth thoughts that kept me stuck in my corporate job.  Thoughts like:

“You’d better hang onto that steady paycheck for as long as it lasts!”

“If you fail in business, you’re going to end up homeless and die penniless!”

And underlying these thoughts, I’ve now come to understand my worry that:

“If I walk away from this ‘good’ job and fail in business my (wife, family, friends) won’t love me or approve of me.”

I Had to Hit Rock Bottom

Fast forward eleven years to 2017.  I had mightily flamed out of my corporate career and was working in the back room of Target along with driving Uber to get me out of the house and out of my head as I chugged my way through severe anxiety and depression.  Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with either of these jobs. They both served a very important role in my recovery and gave me a great reason to get out of bed in the morning.  But this was about as far away from the wildly successful entrepreneurial career I had envisioned for myself over the last 20 years.

The Paradox – Accepting What Is to Finally Move Forward

Several books, most notably Radical Self Forgiveness and Letting Go of the Person You Used to Be set me on the path to both fully accepting myself and fully accepting my career situation and loving both in all of their imperfect glory.  

And now, in retrospect, it was the successful navigation of this paradox that was among the biggest keys for me to finally create the career and the life that I wanted to live.  And for me, this paradox was when I eventually 1.) released clinging to specific outcomes related to my career and my life and instead 2.) focused on setting an intention for how I go about my daily work and simply allow God (or the Divine, Source or however you refer to a higher power) to sort out the rest.   I then 3.) released myself from the prison of needing to always know the “how” and the prison of my negative thoughts and finally 4.) unlocked business opportunities that have far exceeded any I could have planned for on my own!

Are you at an Impasse?

Are you at an impasse with a major life goal and your thinking associated with it?  If so, have patience, have love, and have faith. Have patience and love for yourself in all of your imperfect glory.  Mistakes have been made, and years may have gone by, but you are still an amazing soul and an amazing source of light for those around you.  The world is a better place because you are in it.

Follow this with patience and acceptance that maybe you don’t know how you’re supposed to get there or even if you’re meant to get there at all. (This is the tough part of acceptance, believe me I know!)  

And finally, have faith that you can set an intention for the life you want to live and faith that God will show you the way.