How to Trap-door Right Out of Stress

By Certified Coach Alissa Gauger, MBA

It is believed that the average human brain has about 70,000 thoughts per day. In general, I find from my coaching that they sound something like this...

A: “He believes I’m going to fail out of the business.”

B: “She deliberately didn’t invite me to lunch with the others.”

C: “My client thinks I’m not old enough.”

D: “My colleague should not have lost his mother.”

E: “I am ready to take the CLU.”

F: “This candidate would make a great AFR."

And here’s the funny part…most of them aren’t true! In fact, just because we have a thought doesn’t mean it’s true. You can use this to your advantage by working with one of the main things you do have some control over…your own thinking mind.

When is the last time you found yourself thinking that someone else should do, think, say, believe or feel something? If you are like most people that was five minutes ago! Sometimes our minds will even invent stories to fill in missing facts. Think about a time when you made up a story about how another person was judging you or disrespecting you when you didn’t really even know the circumstances. Later you may have found out that the situation had nothing to do with you at all. For example, the client who kept missing meetings wasn’t disrespecting you, they were dealing with a loved one in the hospital. Let’s call this “making up stories."

Now consider the implications for your financial practice. You can find yourself in almost constant stress when you are what’s called “in other people’s business.” Oftentimes this is when we make up stories. Author Byron Katie developed a concept you can try out right now. Print out the image of the three circles on this page or simply draw three, non-touching circles on a piece of paper. Write “My Business” inside one of the circles, “Your Business” inside another one of the circles and “God’s Business” inside the other. My Business comprises things you actually have some control over: for example, your own thoughts, actions, reactions and decisions. Your Business is the domain outside of you that belongs to another person such as your client, spouse or a colleague. God’s Business is the realm of natural disasters, our own mortality, sickness and other forces of nature. (You can also call this “The Universe’s Business” or whatever describes this best for you.) For more information and free downloads, visit Byron Katie’s website.

Now take the examples of thoughts from above and write the letter in the circle you think they belong in. The answers are at the bottom.

Next, try your own situation. Draw three more circles or print another copy. Think of what is irking you most right now. Separate out the respective parties into their business circles. Consider one person at a time in their own business. (People cannot share circles.) What does your body feel like when you are in the other person’s business trying to make them do something? Notice how stress starts to seep in. You may feel a little short of breath, some muscle tightness, anxiety or other unpleasant feelings. 

Okay: now here’s your trap door! Get the heck out of their business. Announce to yourself “I am stepping out of Your Business and going back into My Business. Feel the lightness as the stress lifts from your body.

Whenever you are feeling stress ask yourself this powerful question: Whose business am I in right now?

Imagine how your practice would be different if you stayed in your own business. Keep noticing and coming back every time you find yourself in a war with reality. You can apply even more surrender by thinking to yourself (never aloud!): “I care about you but I respectfully do not care what you do/think/feel/believe.” This is a wonderful gift of respect and unconditional love that empowers everyone around you to own their own business. Imagine a client fully owning their own financial plan. How much more likely are they to follow it?

Now that you know where you stand, just think of how many of your 70,000 thoughts you can reclaim for yourself and your practice. Centered in your circle you are limitless.


My Business

(E & F…well within your business)

Your Business

(A...your MD can think whatever he or she wants. Allow others to think for themselves B & have no way of knowing this!)

God’s Business

(D…this war with reality doesn't help anyone)