When I’m all in a tizzy, very very very very very sure that something OUGHT to be a different way… that’s a clue.
A clue that I’m stuck.
Creating suffering for myself.
Today, I’d love to share with you the fastest tool I know for getting out of my own way.
It’s not for the faint of heart.
It requires that we literally question the thing we’re most righteously sure about at any moment.
But gosh, it’s powerful.
It’s called The Work, and it was created by a wise woman named Byron Katie.
She’s got detailed instructions and worksheets available for free on her website, so I’ll just give a brief intro here.
When do I know it’s time for The Work?
The more sure and upset that I am — especially when I’m convinced that I’m right and THEY’RE wrong — the more The Work is ready to blow my mind.
If I’m willing to let it, that is.
Here’s how it works.
Step 1 – Identify a thought that is causing you distress or limiting your life in some way.
Example: He should respect my time.
Step 2 – Ask yourself the four questions about that thought:
1. Is it true?
2. Can you absolutely know it’s true?
3. How do you react when you believe that thought?
4. Who would you be without the thought?
1. Is it true? Yes, of course it’s true.
2. Can you absolutely know it’s true? Well, I can never be absolutely sure of anything, so no.
3. How do you react when you believe that thought? I get angry, contracted, feel blame, pull away.
4. Who would you be without the thought? Spacious, free, flexible, loving understanding.
Step 3 – Turn the thought around to opposites of the original statement. Often a statement can be turned around to the self, to the other, and to the opposite.
“He should respect my time” can turn around to:
- I should respect my time.
- I should respect his time.
- He should respect his time
- He shouldn’t respect my time.
Step 4 – Find examples of how the turnarounds are as true or truer than the original statement.
The goal here isn’t necessarily to change your mind, deny the original thought, or send you in the opposite direction of where you were going.
It’s to open possibilities.
To help you see beyond whatever narrowness you’ve gotten stuck in.
In doing The Work, I’ve experienced genuine state changes, where anger just melts away.
I’ve had flashes of empathy of seeing someone else’s point of view.
More than once, I’ve used it as a tool to find my way gracefully out of conflict.
It pries open a gateway to a world I don’t have access to when I’m upset.
Take a few minutes and try it right now, why don’t you?
If you don’t have anything else coming to mind, you could even try it on the thought, “This is dumb and won’t work.”
Let me know how it goes.
PS – Just curious, have you heard of The Work before today? Have you done it?
This post was originally sent as an email to the Magic Words of the Week newsletter list. Every week, I share reflections on a word, quote, or phrase I think will help you thrive in your life’s work.