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Crew Coach: To change behavior, change how we see things

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Crew Coach: by Capt. Rob Gannon

As the calendar year flips again, it’s that time when lots of folks can do some reflecting and reevaluating, which can sometimes lead to an attempt at making some changes. Often that can lead to trying to change what we’re doing or habits we may no longer want to continue. This is all fine and good, but let me suggest here a step that sometimes gets overlooked in the process of changing what we do, and that’s changing how we look at things.

Before we can have any real success in changing behaviors, we have to take a look at and adjust how we view things and how we react. So rather than getting into resolutions and bold statements of what we’re going to do, maybe a look at our approach, through our thinking and our mindset, is a good place to start. 

Spiritual teacher and author Wayne Dyer introduced me to a phrase I really like: “Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change.” It seems common for us humans to look at an event or circumstance and immediately attach an emotion or judgment to it. Often these attachments we add on come from misleading places. Our preconceived notions or personal emotional histories can twist a simple reality and turn it into something way more complex and daunting. 

How about, for this new year, we try to stop doing that. We try to stop doing that to ourselves, which in turn will lay less of it upon others. We can all think of people we know who operate like this. It also might be that it’s not just others, but ourselves as well. This is, after all, an exercise in self-examination. So let’s first look in the mirror.

Consider a profession – let’s say, working on a yacht. You think you have the next two days off. You are really looking forward to this. It’s been a while and the free time is going to be great. But hold on, a change of plans – the owner is coming and wants to leave for the Bahamas in two days. So no days off right now. 

Big change of plans. How do we handle it? Well, of course, there will be initial disappointment with losing the downtime, but where we take it from there is the key. Do we get all resentful and blaming? Do we complain to others how unfair this is? Or, this year, can we feel that disappointment and then shake it off and roll with the new reality? 

How about every time things change on us, we take it as a test, a challenge: Can we handle it better than we used to? That’s a fine goal right there for the coming year – being better than we used to be. Being better with our thoughts and reactions will lead us directly to better experiences and a healthier all-around attitude.

I remind and encourage folks all the time in my coaching to create the positive outcomes and results they desire in life. I believe that if we can move from the reactive mindset to the creative mindset, life becomes way more interesting and enjoyable. 

I understand that can be really challenging in the face of disappointment, such as in the work scenario above. But it’s within us all to make the shift. If we get hit with a seemingly unpleasant new reality, what can we create out of that to positively move forward? It all comes full circle in that the first thing we may want to create is a better feeling about the new situation. We change the way we look at things.

I encourage just trying this out. We have the choice. We are equipped with everything we need. When we are at that crossroad of same old negative reactions or creating with new perspectives and insights, stay conscious and present, and choose wisely.

Enjoy the voyage.  

Capt. Rob Gannon is a 30-year licensed captain and certified life and wellness coach (yachtcrewcoach.com). Comments are welcome below.

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