My sister and I talked about a way to change thought patterns a while back. It’s a technique that I made up called Cancel that order! I talk about it at the beginning of my leadership series as a part of our emotional intelligence discussion. I was pleasantly surprised when my sister told me about using Cancel that order! and how it was helping her, her friends, my nephew, and his friends.
One of her friends called to chat while I was there, and she brought up Cancel that order! without any prompting from me. She said that none of that “positive thinking crap” worked for her but that Cancel that order! had helped her think more positively and also to gain more confidence.
Wow! It was humbling and fabulous feedback. I am so gratified when my coaching stuff really impacts people’s lives. However, the first person that I developed the technique for was me.
My mom was a worrier. She worried about money, her first grade students, and anyone driving. For a long time, I was a worrier, too.
Then I realized a couple of things. First, worrying about what may or may not happen is a huge emotional energy drain. Second, my worrying did not improve anyone’s chances of success or survival.
Worrying and negative self-talk are habits just like any other habit. We can change them with some effort. I designed a mental game to help me change my worrying ways. I pretended that every thought was a request for something that I wanted. When I thought about something, I was placing an order for it.
When I thought, “I am not going to have enough money this month,” I was placing an order for that to happen. Immediately I would think or say out loud, “Cancel that order!” Then I would replace the order with a new one: “I have plenty of money to make it through the month.”
The fancy, technical term for this is cognitive restructuring. Cognitive restructuring sounds like a hard and technical concept, but it’s not. It’s simply creating new thought habits and intentionally changing the way we think. It’s very powerful.
It isn’t always easy, but we can change our thinking patterns. Any time you catch yourself worrying and creating a worst-case scenario in your head, cancel that order! I actually clap my hands together when I am cancelling an order. Replace the negative thought with a thought about something that you want to happen or with an affirmation. Creating a positive internal dialogue makes life way less stressful.
Cancel that order! is very effective in dealing with negative self-talk. Pay attention to your thoughts. Anytime you hear yourself thinking that you aren’t enough in some way, cancel that order! If you walk to the closet thinking, “I don’t look good in any of my pants,” cancel that order! Replace it with what you want: “I look good in anything I put on.”
Changing our thoughts can’t magically change our reality. However, our reality will never change until we change our thoughts and beliefs. Cancel that order! is the first step in creating the life and environment that you desire.
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