Do You Need to Change Your Circumstances, Your Thoughts, or Both?

Today I want to dive into whether you need to change your circumstances, your thoughts or both? We’ll be talking about how to determine when to own your reality as truth instead of trying to change it with your thoughts, when to coach yourself to change the way you think to influence your circumstances and when you might need to do both. 

What is a circumstance? A circumstance is a fact or condition connected with or relevant to an event or action. 

An example of a circumstance maybe that…it is a fact that you have a full-time Corporate job. You having a corporate job is a fact, it is a circumstance in your life. 

If you make $60,000 a year, that is a fact. What isn’t a fact is “I only make $60,000 and it isn’t a lot of money.” 

The “It isn’t a lot of money” is a thought you have about the circumstance, the fact itself. 

Another example of a circumstance is that you have 24 hours in a day. Another one is that you may have five hours a week dedicated to working on your business – that is a fact. Your brain may want to have a thought and say, “I don’t have that much time, I only have 5 hours a week to work on my business.”

Another example is you may have a to-do list with 15 things-to-do on it. The 15 things become your circumstance in this example. Your thought maybe, “I’m so stressed out right now, I have no time, I have so many things to do.” Your to-do list doesn’t stress you out, it is the thoughts you have around your to-do list. 

You don’t want to confuse a circumstance for a thought and vice versa. 

You might also think that your job stresses you out and assume that if you change your job, you’ll no longer be stressed. That by changing your circumstance, you’ll all of a sudden get rid of the stress. But here’s the thing, if you don’t work on your thoughts, you may always be stressed regardless of which job you take. 

Be careful of assuming that by quitting your Corporate job and having your own business your challenges and stress will go away. Is it possible though that a job change could reduce the stress that maybe isn’t caused by thoughts? Yes. 

For example, I worked at Target in stores right out of college. It was a super stressful job. Part of it being stressful was the job itself and part was caused by the thoughts I had during that time. After 13 months of working at Target, I found my bridge job. I started working at Wells Fargo through a third-party agency as a recruiter. My circumstance changed and yes, the majority of stress did go away, but I still had to work on my thoughts. 

An example of where when you change the circumstance but realize it is actually about the thoughts you think can be from having a to-do list that never ends. You cross the last thing off but then one more thing gets put on there so you’re in a constant stress loop. Completing the list, oh my gosh another thing I need to do, crossing it off, then one more thing. Let me say, I actually don’t keep a to-do list anymore, I calendar. Meaning I put everything I need to do on the calendar vs a “never-ending to-do list,” more on that in another episode. 

When you start and run your business there will be multiple priorities vying for your attention at once and it can get extremely overwhelming if you let it. You may find yourself rushing to get past the stage of business you’re in because you may think that once I get to X in my business, I can relax and think that “over there” is better. But once you get over there, you start thinking that another over there is better so you’re in a constant state of rushing and avoiding where you’re at. This would be an opportunity to change your thoughts vs thinking you need to change your circumstance. 

The danger of ignoring the circumstance for truth and only focusing on changing your thoughts could cause you to find yourself out of alignment and flow. There is a difference between grinding and feeling hard vs being in flow and experiencing challenging work that supports your path. 

This is why there isn’t a one size fits all strategy for every situation, kind of like financial planning. Meaning, it isn’t always about changing your circumstances or changing your thoughts…it could be both. Everyone has a different situation and requires a different strategy. But regardless of the strategy though, there usually is an underlying approach or process to it. 

  1. Separate the circumstance (the fact) from the thought.
  2. Assess and be honest with yourself on what you can own from a thinking standpoint. 
  3. Own what feels good and what your intuition is telling you. 

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