Through my private practice as a coach, I have discovered something about humans: We all have an internal switch.
At all times, it is either switched to creating or reacting. It can never be on both. It’s either/or.
When we’re in reacting mode, we feel things like resignation, apathy, anger, disappointment, resentment, upset, shame, frustration, and exhaustion.
When we’re in creating mode, we feel things like inspiration, fun, excitement, connection, joy, and playfulness.
Creating mode is simply way more fun, but most of us have resistance to switching into it, because the switch requires us to give up being a victim of our circumstances and become responsible for the results in our lives.
Reactive mode is when we allow our present moment to be dictated by the results that have already happened. For example, “I can’t be loving to (insert name here) because he/she is a horrible person,” or, “I can’t be confident because I’m fat,” or, “I can’t be generous because I’m broke,” or, “I can’t be happy because my partner just broke up with me,” or, “I can’t have my dream career because I’m bad at business.”
But it is an illusion that the possibilities of each moment are constrained by circumstances.
We have absolute freedom to choose how we want to be in every moment, regardless of what we do or don’t have or think ourselves to be.
Our bodies, our finances, our relationships, our careers, our living situations and the people in our lives do not actually limit us.
We just conveniently blame those circumstances so that we don’t have to be fully responsible for how we’re showing up in life.
When we are in reactive mode, we look to our results to give us permission to be who we want to be—“I’ll be confident once I lose weight,” or “I’ll be generous once I make more money.”
This “one day” mentality allows us to avoid responsibility for our current way of being.
But our current results are actually a function of who we were being in the past. What we currently have is a merely an echo.
For example, I have a client who wants to be an inspirational leader but constantly gets frustrated and stressed when she looks at how few followers on social media she has.
I asked her to consider that her current results are 100 percent a function of who she has been being. Through this lens, she discovered that she has been being inauthentic—she pretends she wants to make a difference for others when really she has just been seeking validation.
When she discovered this, she shifted into creative mode and choose to stop being frustrated by her current results and start being of service and connecting to others. From that place, she started actually making a difference for people and gained many loyal followers.
When we are fixating on our current results, we are dwelling on the past. Dwelling on the past prevents us from creating and keeps us stuck in reactive mode.
From reactive mode, we can’t create anything new. We can only create more of the same stuff we don’t want, which then gives us more reasons to complain and blame life.
When we are reacting to the conditions of our lives, we are being the victim of our old ways of being. We are trapped.
In reactive mode, we are dealing with things. We are either trying to fix things, change things, avoid things, hide from things, compensate for things, or conceal things.
When we are in creative mode, we create from no thing. We create from nothing.
From creative mode, we don’t create to fix, change, avoid, hide, compensate, or conceal.
We do not create as a reaction to anything; we create freely. We create for the pure joy of creation itself.
And no matter how much we create, we are still always left with a blank canvas to create some more.
We are always left with a clear, empty space from which to create. Our creations never fill up that space.
That space—that emptiness that contains within it the possibility of anything—is who we really are.
In reactive mode, we identify ourselves with our thoughts, beliefs, possessions, relationships, bodies, finances, successes, and failures.
In creative mode, we don’t identify ourselves with anything. We recognize that we are no thing and the potential for everything.
In reactive mode, we believe that the right circumstances are a prerequisite for being who we want to be.
In creating mode, we recognize that results are a product of being who we want to be. So we stop focusing on what we have and what we want to achieve, and start focusing on who we want to be.
In reactive mode, we play the hero. We constantly have a challenge to overcome. It’s a struggle.
In creative mode, there is no struggle. It is fun, playful, and easy.
Switching into creative mode is a choice you can make at any time. All it requires is a willingness to give up being a victim of circumstance.
Creating is like finding balance when you are learning to ride a bike. Once you discover what it feels like, you have total freedom to explore. And you can find it easily every time.
So, here’s how to switch into creative mode (here’s the video tutorial):
1) Write a list of all of the results with which you are currently dissatisfied (in your finances, health, relationships, career, adventure, skill development, travel and/or fitness).
2) Ask yourself: What ways of being produced those results? For example, if you have an unfulfilling relationship, ask yourself, “How was I being in the past that produced this?” You might find that you were being insecure, judgmental, selfish, inauthentic, conceited, resigned, attached, untrustworthy, or untrusting. The trick here is to only look at how you were being, not how anyone else was being. Coming from the empowering perspective that you are the only one responsible for the results in your life is the key to creative mode.
3) Look at your past ways of being and ask yourself, “Is this how I’m committed to being?” If not, own it! Discovering that you haven’t been being who you want to be is a major cause for celebration! It means that you have identified the source of your ineffectiveness at producing the results you desire. Having awareness of how you’ve been being gives you power over it, so now you can actually do something about it!
Owning where you’ve been being small gives you access to greatness, so feel free to dance around and shout aloud, “I’ve been being selfish and lazy! I’ve been being selfish and lazy!” The key here is to not add any significance to this discovery. The past no longer exists. How you were being doesn’t constrain how you can be.
4) Declare who you want to be. The results you want to produce are merely an excuse to get to be the kind of person you really want to be. So ask yourself, “What kind of person would I need to be in order to produce the results I desire?” Perhaps you’ll discover that you’d need to be more generous, more of a leader, more self-expressed, more confident. Pick a few ways of being that inspire you.
5) From these ways of being, ask yourself what actions you would take. For example, what actions would you take if you were being more generous or more self-expressed? Generate a list of five actions for each way of being.
6) Schedule those actions in your calendar and do them! When we are consistently taking actions that are in alignment with our authentically desired ways of being, we produce the results we want.
7) Return to this each time you are ineffective at producing results. Reevaluate your ways of being and continue to generate actions.
For more help with this, schedule a free discovery call.
Author: Brandilyn Tebo
Editor: Travis May