Your Circumstances Don’t Create Your Results

My first exposure to the essence of this concept was over ten years ago now; and yet, I’m still on the journey to fully embrace it.  It was back when Stacy and I started listening to some Mike Dooley audiobooks and his notion that, “Thoughts become things.”  

It was initially very hard for me to relate to.  I felt like I could influence what went on around me, but to genuinely create a “self-directed future” as Dooley describes it seemed a little far-fetched.  

I was recently brought back to this concept by Stacy via Stacey Boehman, who is a business coach for life coaches.  Stacey uses a simple, but powerful model in her coaching which was originally developed by Brooke Castillo.  The model is:

  • Each of the Circumstances you have in your life leads to Thoughts;
  • These Thoughts lead to Feelings;
  • Feelings often cause us to take certain Actions;
  • And finally, these Actions create our Results.

This Circumstances, Thoughts, Feelings, Actions, Results (CTFAR) model has moved me much closer to fully embracing the notion that it is my thoughts as they relate to my circumstances that ultimately create my results.

Here is an example of how thoughts rather than circumstances lead to results.

Circumstances – A Poor, Black Girl Born in 1954

These circumstances were how Oprah Winfrey started her life.  And what results were expected of someone born into this situation?  Her “only” options were to teach at a segregated school or become a maid, a cook, a dishwasher or a servant.  However, as we know, Oprah completely shattered the mold.

She would watch her grandmother hang freshly washed clothes onto a clothesline who would say, “Oprah Gail, you better watch me now, ’cause one day you gon’ have to know how to do this for yourself.”

This circumstance could have generated any range of thoughts in a young Oprah including, among others, “OK – I need to learn how to do this because these are the kind of things my grandma does, my mom does and all my friends do.  I don’t like it, but this is all there is.”

But instead, she explains, “A still, small voice inside me, really more a feeling than a voice, said, ‘This will not be your life. Your life will be more than hanging clothes on a line.’”

It is interesting to see the workings of the CTFAR model in this example:

  • Circumstances- Being born a poor, black girl in the 50’s
  • Thought – “This will not be my life.”
  • Feeling – Determination
  • Actions and Results – They speak for themselves

Are we all Oprah Winfrey destined for colossal fame and fortune?   No.  But my belief is that each and every one of us is equal on this planet and is destined to love ourselves, to love others and to love what we do.  Start to observe your thinking and challenge those thoughts that get in the way of what you’re meant to do.