How to find your (mindful) Treats or (oops-self-sabotage) Tricks

Happy Halloween and the final day of MindfulWorkplaceMonth. (And, as Van Riper writes here, "just the beginning of efforts to fuel a game-changing movement of mindfulness in the workplace that promotes human flourishing.") I continue to humbly learn with myself and clients, that an essential skill for resilience and mindfulness applied to daily choices includes cultivating your hit the pause button discernment about trick or treat.

Trick or Treat?

My client Sarah has become increasingly aware of her choices and underlying motives. When attracted to a glass of wine or a piece of chocolate cake, she has two “stories” to assess. One story might say, “Go ahead—having that wine is great self care. You've been working hard. You deserve a treat.” Here is a moment of truth opportunity. Is this truly an optimal treat or is a self-sabotaging inner voice tricking us into believing this is smart well being?

Trust me, I’m not preaching about abstinence from wine or other goodies. If the example were a weekend vacation would that be a smart self care choice? Not necessarily. We each need to tune in to our higher wisdom and pragmatically think things through. Would that be short term fun, but stressful consequences for her business commitments? Once upon a time I had written "off" in the calendar, and upon further reflection changed it to "office" and felt lighter for clearing many things I wanted to get done. That was the real treat! We need to connect more deeply to that bigger picture mission, potential consequences, trade-offs and heartfelt priorities. This is especially relevant if we are tempted by immediate gratification rather than lasting fulfillment and true sustainability. We need to cultivate that discernment about “moment” vs. “momentum.” Sarah keeps sharpening what it means to really love, respect and care for herself- to consciously discern when it’s a clever trick and when it’s a genuinely health-fueling treat.

With CEO Jack, we explored how he shows up in a key strategic planning meeting. Feedback from his team indicated they were concerned about his reactions, thus they might hold back. Also, Jack needs to let go of control and empower others more for his desired business growth and personal goals. He is smart and quick to dive in with ideas and solutions, possibly preventing him from seeing the capabilities and contributions of his team. We coached about his higher values and desired outcomes. Jack’s Trick or Treat discernment question was, “If I speak up in the meeting right now, will it contribute to the higher mission of the business longer term (or maybe just satisfy my emotional needs for the next 10 minutes)?” This really helped him to consciously choose when to jump in and when to bite his tongue. By letting others pick up the ball and run with it more, Jack can create more breathing room in his life, as well develop trust that his business could run without him in the future.

For your own Trick or Treat moments, ask "Is this what my clever trickster self feels like doing in the moment or is this truly what my higher self knows is best for me and what I really want to fuel?" Step back and reflect on questions like, What is the high priority value I want to honor? What will be the longer term impact or ripple effect? What might the aftertaste be? What matters most?

The self-pride that stems from keeping your promises to yourself, and managing your energy well is a great momentum builder. Each choice in sync with your true values contribute to more pep in your step and to you being a joyful contributor in the world. Dare I say, waking up inspired and falling asleep grateful? :-)

Powerful Questions:

•  Actively observe your Trick or Treat moments for a couple weeks. In what areas of your life is this most relevant? What are you learning?

•  What are the provocative questions to help you discern an optimal choice?

I hope you enjoy many treats to delight your tongue and brighten your bottom line. Cheers!