Here’s a story from one of my clients. She was in a recent Set Your Sights workshop and had this fabulous result from the Bothers Exercise.
I can tell you the “Bothers Exercise” really worked for me…. One of the bothers on my list was my young adult sons not answering or responding to my phone calls or contacting me on a regular basis and me feeling disconnected from them. Several weeks after the workshop, it occurred to me that my sons had been calling me at least once a week since the workshop and answered their phones when I called them, and this has continued since that time on an even more frequent basis. This is testimony to me that focusing on what we want instead really can make a difference, and this exercise really works!! And, it was as simple as writing bothers on a piece of paper and listing what I wanted instead. Although I didn’t consciously think about it again after I left the workshop, I did get results within a very short time. Thank you, Karen, for a great workshop and for all you do to help others achieve their goals!
As she stated, the Bothers Exercise is as simple as writing down what bothers you and then deciding what you’d like to have instead.
When I talked with her about it, she mentioned that as she was writing what she preferred, she was able to shift her feelings about their lack of response and focus instead on what she preferred.
So, what is it about this process that makes it so powerful?
One aspect is what I describe as “drawing your pushing energy away from the other person”. I’ve often described this phenomenon of relationships with a wrestling analogy. When you push on others – whether physically, with your thoughts or words, they almost always resist. It makes perfect sense. Nobody wants to be “pushed over” physically, emotionally or energetically. So they resist when you push on them.
What does this “resistance” look like? If you’ve been nagging someone to do the dishes, their resistance is likely to be doing even fewer dishes. If you pressure someone about eating too much, they resist by possibly eating even more. Even if they are aware that the dishes needs to be done or that eating too much is not good for them, they almost have no choice but to resist your pressure.
While, on the surface, it may seem nonsensical, it’s the way most people are put together. Take some time to observe yourself and those around you, and you are likely to notice this phenomenon.
You say that you would like to end the frustration and see the behavior change?! Take back your pressure; it’s that simple. While it may not be easy, it is simple.
Just like in the wrestling analogy article, one simple strategy is to draw back your pushing energy. The first step is to notice when you think about or speak about the other person’s shortcoming. Each time you catch yourself nagging or criticizing, either in your head or out loud, STOP THAT THOUGHT! Once you’ve stopped the thought, make yourself think about something completely different. A strategy I recommend is to make yourself think about something you’d like to improve about yourself or your own life. Think about that each time you are tempted to nag or criticize verbally or silently. Note that the silent criticism, nagging or judgment is just as powerful as speaking the words out loud. You need to stop the internal thoughts as well as speaking them.
Once you have achieved the “drawing back” of your thoughts and your energy, you are on the road to experiencing a shift in the other person’s behavior. Over the years of coaching clients to use this strategy, I have seen it work countless times in a variety of situations at work, at home, and in a variety of relationships.
Give it a go, and let me know how it works for you!
If you are ready to shift your relationship or your experience, sign up for my workshop this Saturday. And, as you use my strategy, remember that your silent thoughts are just as powerful. Note that in the story above, she did not tell to her sons or anyone else, and the results still showed up for her.