Are You Thinking About What You’re Doing?

I recently had some big changes happen at work that are impacting my role and the responsibilities I have been asked to focus on.  Cognitive TriangleUsually I am the one making decisions and leading the charge, but this change was politely handed to me.  My initial thought was “WOW, I need to digest this change a bit.”

When I say digest, I mean process and think through because for me, the past 20+ years, I have been making the decisions so this was different for me.  I needed to pause, process, and respond appropriately vs. react.  In reality, I may have had too many plates spinning but doable for me with a strategy.  Either way, it’s done and now it’s time to process and adjust my vision.

Fortunately I was out with a good friend of mine a few weeks ago and he was explaining a process that his coach has him do throughout the day so he is responding to activities appropriately.  The process is to ask yourself 3 questions throughout the day.  The questions are:

  1. What are you thinking?
  2. How are you feeling?
  3. What are you doing?

After doing some research on this process I found that this is called “The Cognitive Triangle” which actually helps us identify or change irrational thoughts and behaviors. I continued to look into this process and apparently without realizing it, our thoughts are behind our feelings and behaviors so if you catch your thoughts early enough you can highly influence your behavior.

Not huge news if you are self-aware  and have developed the habit of self-regulation, but I don’t think that is as common as we think. There is a lot of ways to attack self-regulation which is how we respond to situations, but the above 3 questions is a simple process to start with.

If you are like me and in a continuous improvement state, work on developing this habit and see if it changes your behavior and responses. What’s really neat about this is we GET to control how we respond which can make our lives a lot happier. If we are happier, the ripple affect can kick in –> happier you at work –> happier you with family -> happy family -> happy community -> and so on.

Action Items

  • Create the cognitive triangle habit in your life by asking the 3 questions 3 times a day.
  • List the ripple affects you are creating.
    • Are you a positive influence at work?
    • Are you a positive influence when you are at home or when you come home?
    • Are you a positive influence in your community or other affiliations?
  • Read Emotional Intelligence to understand more on self-awareness and self-regulation.

Good Luck – it’s your life so live it on purpose.