In coaching, some of the most powerful work we do is distinguishing facts from thoughts. Allow me to sum up the value of this work in one crass sentence: You usually can’t do shit to change the facts, but you have the power to change your thoughts.
Let’s take numbers. Numbers are inherently neutral, but we assign meaning to them.
If this is new to you, it should break your brain a little bit. Really think about it: Numbers are neutral; we’re the ones who assign meaning to them.
Let’s take 27%. For a body fat percentage, that might be awesome. For a landing page conversion rate, that might be less than ideal.
But even within the same situation, everyone will have a different opinion about the numbers. A competitive bikini bodybuilder will see a body fat percentage number very differently than someone who has struggled to lose weight their whole life.
A multi-millionaire business owner might see a 27% landing page conversion rate very differently than a brand new business owner.
But the number? Always the same.
Here’s where it gets good. My wonderful Facebook Ads manager recently told me that our freebie landing page was converting at 27% and that anything under 40% should be tweaked.
Here was my split second reaction: “That sucks. I’ve worked so hard but it’s still underperforming.”
I watched my reaction with curiosity, and then offered a counter-proposal to myself. “What if I believed that 27% is an amazing start, I know exactly what I’m aiming for now, and I can of course figure out how to improve it?”
Same number. Totally different interpretation.
Want to apply this in your own life?
Think of a story that creates negative emotion for you. (Bonus points if it includes some measurable numbers.) Write down the story exactly as you remember it. Then, review the story, separating the facts from your thoughts about the facts. Be ruthless on this step. Once you’ve distinguished fact from story, ask “How else could I choose to interpret these facts?” or “What is the most generous, loving interpretation that I could have about these facts?”
Here’s a 4:33-minute video that I recently recorded for my clients that might be useful for you in this process.
If you’d like another set of eyes on your story, don’t hesitate to send it my way. Here to support you.
P.S. I recently had an interesting exchange with someone who booked a consult with me after being on my email list for three months.
I asked her “Why now?” She told me that she’d had reservations about a consult because she wasn’t sure if my focus was on those who need to be “motivated” and are still figuring out their purpose in life.
If you’re wondering the same thing, here’s my answer: Yes and no. The majority of my clients are well-established in their careers but are looking to do things differently moving forward. Often, what served them in the first parts of their career —hustle, status, and wealth—now feels insignificant and unfulfilling.
At the risk of sounding like a life coach: They’re ready to intentionally recommit to their real desires.
She closed by saying that a fresh “set [of] eyes on my current situation would be refreshing.” If you could use a fresh set of eyes, too, I invite you to book a consult with me.