This is the third article in a three-part series spotlighting careers. 

It’s another morning of rushing to work. I’m navigating my way through the subway system. Coming from a different location than usual, I’m following the signs and the arrows. My eyes are glued to these trail markers directing me to my next train connection.

I enter a long, enormously wide hallway. As my eyes gaze upward for confirmation of my route, I see a sign painted to my left on the ceiling rafter of the tunnel. The sign was sprawled out with one word in big letters: “Tired”. Ok, it got my attention, a nice marketing tool. I ask myself, what’s the catch?

I look to my right and (I’m not plugging, nor endorsing Apple here) there is frame after frame hanging on the wall lining the length of this tunnel, depicting iPhone 6 photos. Each photo was more crisp, more life-like than the last, displaying exquisite images of our world, creatures, and inhabitants.

As I glance up again, there’s another sign on a ceiling rafter in front of me that reads, “Why Bother” and still another further ahead that says, “It Will Never Happen”.  My curiosity is peaked. I’m prompted by something I heard in a lecture the night before, that if we’re open and recognize that they exist, there are messages and messengers always around us.

What’s Your Message? 

I’m bought in and ask myself, what’s the message here for me and for those I interact with? My first realization is that I’m walking down the middle of this huge tunnel, on one side the messages that I hear are the voices I’ve heard from many clients, and that play too often in my own head. On my other side is beauty, goodness, and the miracle of all that surrounds us.

My message came in clear. Yes, life is all of it — the challenges, the pain, the blocks. It’s all of what holds us back from all the happiness and fulfillment that we’re meant to have. My message was…that we need to take the middle road.

How Do We Get To The Middle Road?

By removing the judgment — that “this is good” and “this is bad” — and rather come to the understanding that it’s neither good or bad, it just “is”. It’s the process we have to go through. Just as a fruit that ripens on a tree, if you bite into it too early, it tastes sour. Our life is no different.

Not a day goes by that a client doesn’t recognize or question an attitude, perception, or behavior they would like to change about themselves in relation to a situation they’re going through.
“Why do I do that?” or “Why don’t I…” or “Why can’t I just…”

If they can tune into the energy behind those questions for a moment, they will feel that they’re full of self-judgment and maybe even frustration.

Question Everything

There is a middle road. It involves this one route: shift the “Why” questions, which can be analytical. They do help us to rationalize, and yet oftentimes, this rationalization leads to the feeling of being a victim. “Why” questions can encourage a sense of entitlement or help to justify what has happened. Very often our involuntary response is that it puts us on the defense.

What’s the shift? The answer: asking ourselves “How” and “What” questions. They are more open and constructive; they will keep us moving forward. It’s hard to make a choice about how you want to show up in a moment, or a future moment, when you’re looking into that rear-view mirror focused on how you got here.

Imagine asking someone “Why did you do that?” as opposed to “How did you come to that decision?” or “What led you to that process?”

Can you feel the difference in the tone? One is more judgmental, while the other is open to understanding the process, removing the judgment, and then having a conversation around it.

Getting To A Higher Consciousness

Once we can reach this point, when we disconnect from labeling, it opens us up to a new perspective and to see a big picture through a wider lens. We can breathe deeper, be more patient, and perhaps sigh with the feeling of acceptance. We surrender to the process.

We can then ask ourselves, “What is the energy I am getting from this?” That path will lead us to our “ah-ha” moment of “wow, this is how I got energy.” Now we can change and use it for our growth.

What is clear is that we have a choice to make. So the next time you feel judgmental, take it easy on yourself. Take it easy on others. Come from a place of curiosity to improve your frame of mind and your relationships — at work, at home, and at play.