Thursday, June 5, 2008

The ABC's of Spotlighting

We all know what a spotlight is. We’ve been to enough plays, seen enough movies to recognize that stream of light that illuminates a particular area of the stage. It highlights what we should all be looking at.

Well, imagine you are overlooking the “stage” of your life. It is full of different experiences and people. They can be funny, frightening, serious, problematic, joyful. As you look, where do you point that light?

When we think of spotlighting our lives, we want to challenge ourselves to highlight the areas of our lives that are in our best interest. Sometimes that means facing problems. Sometimes that means letting things go. Sometimes that means looking at things less critically.

Take a look at how you highlight the stage of your own life. Look closely at what you draw attention to throughout the day. And make sure that what you are doing strengthens you and is in your best interest. One small change in how and where you shine the light can transform your life!

Don’t waste your spotlighting energy by avoiding problems, obsessing over them or focusing on the negative!

When it comes to problem solving, are you guilty of any of the following spotlighting styles? Take a look and try out some of the simple solutions for each one!

Jittery Spotlighter

If there is a problem, I get a little shaky and start moving that light. Avoiding people and places, procrastinating tasks, shining that light on other parts of the stage, just to avoid the problem. “Spontaneous lunch out when I am buried under 5 hours of deadlines? Wahoo! Let me grab my keys! And let’s only talk about FUN stuff.”

Getting Steady - Spotlighting Solutions for the Jittery

Stop romanticizing! “I’m just a free spirit, I don’t like to go by the rules.” Remember, this is about accepting some of life’s responsibilities. You don’t have to give up your free spiritedness. In actuality, you will have more happiness and freedom when you are free from the trappings of avoidance!

Baby Steps
Pick one small thing to change. “I will pay my phone bill on time.” “I will return calls right away.” Just one small change will propel you in the right direction.

Talk yourself through it! Remind yourself that you can shine the light on your problems and still be happy.

Glued Spotlighter

Focus on a problem? No problem! Let’s get in there with the light and never leave! This is a big deal, needs a lot of time and discussion! Solution? Well, maybe LATER. I have to talk about this a lot more first. “Yes, I am still undecided about that issue from last fall. But let’s talk about it more before I decide.”

Getting Unglued - Spotlighting Solutions for the Glued

Accept that you like the drama and distraction from other things in your life. Maybe even relaxation and happiness aren’t as easy as being in the middle of a dilemma.

Baby Steps
You can change ANYTHING one step at a time. Start by not obsessing over one small thing.
Just one thing. What to eat at the restaurant? Slowly teach yourself to make quick decisions.

Talk yourself through. Remind yourself that you can make quick decisions and that it is healthy for you. Tell yourself "quiet and calm is okay."

Dust Finding Spotlighter

Forget problems in general. I can top that! I can find the “dust bunny” in every situation! If there is something bad in my life, I can find it and spotlight it so everyone can see it too! “Yes, I got a new job, but can you believe I have to drive downtown now? Ugh! The traffic!”

Clean Up – Spotlighting Solutions for the Dust Collectors

Face the facts. You are hooked on seeing the negative. No matter what is going on, you will find the “dust.” Accept that you need to unhook yourself.

Baby Steps
This is really about changing a habit. You start with one step. Maybe 15-30 minute increments of time in which you refuse to speak negatively. No negative comments. 15 minutes. It will increase your awareness and move you toward change.

Talk yourself through it. Negative thought is easy to stop with a little effort and awareness. Remind yourself that you can do it. Be kind to yourself.

No one is perfect. Most of us have a bit of the jitters, get glued to a predicament or fall into dust finding when it comes to our problems. No big deal. But turn on the light and take a look. The key here is to know yourself and begin to make small changes. Be honest and take a step or two this week to fine tune your spotlighting techniques.

Have a great week and remember to make the moment happen!

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