You’ve set goals for your organization, your business, your team, and, of course, yourself. Maybe you chose an aspiring revenue goal this year. Or perhaps you took on an extra program or set out to earn an MBA. You’re determined to succeed, and can’t afford the thought of failure. Think Big is your motto.
Could there be a problem with such thinking?
One of my clients, a seasoned corporate leader, studied and prepared for certification for many months. It took the right dose of discipline and personal sacrifice. In her mind, not passing the test at the end of her studies wasn’t an option. Certification was part of the journey of pursuing her business idea.
While I had zero doubt about my client’s ability to pass the test, and understood the importance of this achievement in her career, something about how many times she’d mentioned the same topic struck me: she’d said three times how this institution, this certification, this particular person would be testing her.
Why did my mind perk up at three? There’s something about that number. In all the old stories and fairy tales I read to my children at night, there are three princesses, three dragons, and three mountains to climb.
“Three, it’s a magic number…” sounded in my head, lyrics from a children’s song by Jack Johnson.
What’s the significance of the number 3?
I hit Google.
“Research gives further evidence on why three is the magic number. One recent study found that in advertisements, speeches, and other messages designed to have a persuasive effect, three claims will persuade. Still, four or more will trigger skepticism – and may even reverse an initially positive impression.” This, according to www.alive.com.
I wondered if my client was trying to persuade herself about something.
“The symbol of the triad or trinity has existed over immeasurable time and throughout the world. It can be understood as a key to the integrity and interdependence of all existence.” This, from bookofthrees.com.
The words integrity and interdependence stand out for me. While there may be a need to persuade, stating something three times may also represent an honest subconscious intention. Linked to more than what we hear, the words may describe only the surface of what’s going on.
According to www.numerologist.com ,
“Three is the number of creativity, communication, and expression.”
And here came my sign to what I needed to do, right in the meaning of the third explanation I came across. It was clear I needed to communicate to my client what I had noticed.
“What’s the significance of how many times you’ve mentioned the certification assessments?” I asked, explaining my thoughts around touching on the subject three times in one conversation.
“The certification is all-defining for my professional path,” she said. “I can’t progress without it.”
This resourceful, intelligent, experienced person believes that a certification process has the power to potentially destroy her professional future. How can you effectively prepare and survive the assessment with such pressure on your shoulders and mind?
Over the next few conversations, we touched on how the event itself didn’t have any power over her professional future – her beliefs did. The pressure she’d created for herself was damaging. She felt stressed and overwhelmed.
It makes sense. According to studies, chronic stress impairs brain function and has a shrinking effect on the prefrontal cortex, the area of the brain responsible for memory and learning.
What beliefs do you hold about events ahead of you? Are you attached to a specific outcome? Does that create fear and anxiety? And how can you change that?
It is essential to redefine and reframe the thoughts around transformative events. In the end, as many great teachers say, the meaning of the event is created by you. So that means you can also change it.
Shortly after our last session, my client dropped me a text to say that her assessment was rescheduled to next year due to the pandemic. She’s gracefully moving forward with her life and professional plans thanks to the work we’ve done reframing her beliefs. She knows the certification is just ONE of the milestones that she’s set for herself. She has all the resources she needs to find a different way to get closer to her business vision.
I’m sure you, too, have to deal with constant changes and unpredictable turns impacting your business, your development plans, and, ultimately, your life.
Sometimes such changes can leave you mourning something you wished, planned, and prepared for. It’s okay to have a moment, but it’s not healthy or productive for a change of events to impact your energy and mood for longer periods.
And now you know how to avoid it.
It requires a little practice in mindfulness and noticing. If you find yourself thinking or speaking about the same circumstance three times, try to be your own coach.
Ask yourself WHY? What meaning are you giving the case or circumstance? What are you interpreting that is not serving you? Dig deeper and reframe.
A certification or an event doesn’t have meaning. The meaning comes from the attachment and interpretation you create for it.
Let’s stay free from unhealthy attachments and nurture a frictionless mind.
Let’s keep noticing and dig deeper.
Let’s create powerful, strengthening, freeing interpretations when everything changes in one fluid movement.
Did I just persuade you?
If you notice your “three times” but are unsure what to do next, book a free intro conversation with me www.calendly.com/danapoul-graf. I’ll be happy to guide you to your graceful forward movement and next steps.