Why is it we can put a great deal of effort into creating a plan for a goal we have determined to accomplish, then flawlessly execute the necessary actions but somehow it doesn’t work out the way we envisioned? Have you ever experienced this? Someone else you know can set the same plan in motion and achieve success while you fail. What’s up with that?
According to Parisha Taylor (Pa’Ris’Ha), my life coach and business mentor, along life’s path we pick up experiences and things people say to us that stick in the back of our minds. No matter what is going on in the frontal lobe portion of our brain with the conscious plans we make, those things floating around “behind the scenes” become the silent directors that control the outcome of our lives. I’ve heard this referred to as the “unconscious” programming of our minds.
In a coaching class, Pa’Ris’Ha explained that most of the time the barriers to success have little to do with the amount of effort we give. What stops us is typically an offhand statement or confused decision, which if we were to stop and really take a look at, would seem utterly ridiculous. But at one point in our experience it had significance, and we attached emotions to it. The emotional “charge” keeps it replaying in our brain over and over again, interfering with the success we desire until we do something to confront it. Confronting it means coming to the realization that it exists. As long as it remains hidden it continues to have a controlling influence. Once we face it, the emotional charge is released and the effect it has on us diminishes, even goes away for good.
So how do you confront something you’re not even aware is there? Pa’Ris’Ha offers a technique she calls “Follow the Question Inward.” It’s a journaling exercise, so you need a pen and a few sheets of blank paper.
Start by writing down a goal or a desire you have. Then write the question, “Why can’t I have it?” Now you “follow the question inward” by simply writing on paper everything that pops into your mind. This is not the time to think about it, or talk about it. This is where you allow the unconscious part of your brain to have a voice and empty out all it contains pertaining to the question. Your task is to keep writing anything that comes up until you feel there is nothing left to write about.
Here’s a personal example…
A few years ago I needed a sum of money to pay some sudden healthcare expenses. My mother generously offered me a personal loan to pay the bill. My agreement with her was to make a monthly payment and have the loan repaid in a year. After several years I did not have the loan paid – it seemed that without fail some other expense came up each month that limited the amount of money I could send to her. The result was that almost every month I went through an uncomfortable “drama” with my mother over my finances. I felt frustrated and guilty. It was a source of aggravation for her.
With that in mind, at the top of my paper I wrote, “The entire balance of the loan payment to my mother paid in full.” Under that I wrote the question, “Why can’t I have it.”
I began writing the first thoughts that came into my head and kept going until I had nothing left to say about it. Only when I stopped did I go back and read what I had written. It was astonishing. It was all about a moment when I was 15 years of age and going through the angst associated with teenage hormonal changes. My mother made a comment about how I was changing from a child to an adult, which in a family setting would have been fine. But she said it at a party in front of a group of friends, including a boy that I liked. It was really embarrassing. I sensed the heat creeping up my neck and face and knew my skin was turning bright red. I was totally mortified, and furious that my mother would bring up that subject in public. During the coaster transition into adulthood, young people in our society have a tendency to reject their parents as a way of breaking free from the nest. I recall making a mental note that I would find a way to make her feel just as bad as I was feeling.
After reading my journal notes, it seemed a little insane. Yes, I had surely managed to upset my mother on numerous occasions, but I was also hurting myself. It was not really who I wanted to be, and it was certainly not how I wanted the relationship with my mother to go. I returned to the paper with my pen and added, “This is over; it is done. That was then and this is now. I move forward with the best intentions for my mother and myself.”
In doing this exercise, I felt as though a huge burden had been lifted from my shoulders. It changed the electrochemical signal I was transmitting to the environment. A few hours later on the same day, a business owner I knew called me up “out of the blue” and gave me his credit card number to get started on a project that, in all the time I had known him, he had never mentioned he was considering. It was an unexpected boost to my finances. It was evidence that removing a silent, emotional block gave an opening for changes for the better to take place in my environment and my experiences. Pa’Ris’Ha’s exercise, “Follow the Question Inward” works!