My mom and I have an informal tradition of wrapping up the current year together. We make vision boards, attend a New Year Eve’s church service, or talk over a cup of tea what the year was like and what we accomplished. This is our Mother-Daughter time. Drinking tea Thanksgiving evening as we waited for others to arrive at her home, we shared our 2018 accomplishments. She stated that this year she had built a better mousetrap and they had worked well.
“What Mousetraps?” my raised brows inquired.
She explained further: she had renewed her daily commitment and practice to meditate 20 minutes and to set mental mousetraps to catch negative thoughts. My mother found meditation and mindfulness about 45 years ago so I was comfortable to coming home and finding her in a sitting position with her eyes closed on a regular basis. After all, a divorced mother of two can find time to cry or meditate, or a mixture of both. But I never knew about her practice of setting mousetraps. She sets mental mousetraps and visualize and hear them snapping and popping when a negative thought entered her consciousness.
The following week, I was vigilant during work and volunteer meetings to set mental mousetraps before the meetings began. “Snap. Snap. Snap. Pop. Snap. Snap. Snap. Pop.” My added consciousness prompted me to ask questions to I gain insight into the other party’s perspective and that I slow down and further explain my rationales. I checked out my motives of what I really needed and wanted and shared those. In one instance, I needed a colleague to be more confident and courageous in areas. My trap went off as I began with my bottomline authoritarian and directive thoughts and approach. “Snap! Pop!” Before too many words got out my mouth, I realized what an energy waste that would be to follow this approach. I would in essence shut him down, instead of shore up his confidence and courage to act. I redirected myself and approached with an intent to teach, empathize, coach, and support this very capable colleague, and I left the conversation feeling we had a constructed a path forward.
Building negative thought mousetraps is worth trying and sharing, as some days the feel like an infestation of negative thoughts and vibrations. This is not good for leaders or their teams.
With mousetraps, we can catch our negative thoughts, take a closer look to what is motivating the thoughts to address the root cause, eliminate them, and toss out the negative thoughts so we can accomplish the things that matter most to us.
So my Mom and I will go about setting our mousetraps, what about you?