This morning I caught myself walking down the snow-covered streets of Helsinki exuding a gloomy state.
Sunk in my thoughts, with my head bent slightly, eyes staring unseeingly, frowning, teeth clenched, my facial expression all but inviting. Yes, zombie-like. Basically, like every other Finn you see on the street any given winter morning when the sun is not shining.
Nothing had even happened. My thoughts had just wondered to picturing a workshop I am about to hold in a few weeks’ time, and I was experiencing a weight of expectations – mostly from myself – for a perfect performance.
At that moment, I surely wish you and I didn’t pass each other on the street, because people’s BET’s (TM) are contagious! Luckily, so are positive ones.
BET (TM) is a model which I have created, and it comes from the first letters of the words Body & Behaviour – Emotions – Thoughts. Simplified, it is our internal communications system which is constantly “on”.
Our body physiology includes our posture, gestures, mimics, the rhythm and speed of our movements and the quality of our breathing. Our behaviour is about doing: our performance and our communication – the words, the tone and the body language we use when engaging with other people.
Our emotions can be high or low in energy, residing in certain parts of our body, benefitting us in the moment, or not.
In the BET-model, our thoughts include three parts: our focus, our internal talk, and the mental images we hold at any given time.
Our BET always in the now – even if our focus is on past or upcoming events. The challenge is that most of the time we are not conscious of it.
It affects how stressed or at ease we feel about any upcoming situation. In the long run, it affects our wellbeing, strengthening or weakening it.
It doesn’t matter whether we are talking about a corporate leader faced with a challenging negotiation, an entrepreneur dealing with her stressors or an athlete jittering before their most important game of the season. If it’s currently not working for them, chances are their BET is off.
How to change your BET
How our BET is during most part of the day will determine how happy, fulfilled and energized we feel. It also impacts what kind of spirit we will spread around us.
Luckily, we can change our BET – anytime, anywhere. We can adopt a more open body posture and choose words which feel more uplifting. We may shift our focus to a more resourceful perspective and adopt, for instance, a more curious attitude. We can become more mindful about our internal talk and the videos we are playing in our heads.
However, shifting fast from a state of negativity or stress to a positive, resourceful state can sometimes be demanding.
- A sufficient first step is becoming aware of when you are in a BET-state which is not benefitting you – “to catch yourself in the act”, as they say.
- Second, you have to make the choice to be willing to let go, to create some distance to it. This is about watching our current BET with curious distance, accepting that right now it is this way, but it does not have to be.
This exercise of simple noticing helps you to create the necessary distance to your negative BET, lifting it away from the driver’s seat, not letting it run the show.
Your BET lures you to think it is just how you are (it loves when you identify with it), but the more you practice the act of noticing and taking distance from it, the easier it gets to break this illusion of identification.
Even this simple act will change your experience and your current BET. As a special flavour you can add a bit of an amused attitude when watching your BET spinning, saying to yourself: “Ah, there my brain goes BETting again!”
How is your BET right now – does it boost your energy or trip you over? Happy betting! 🙂
Christina Forssell is a certified leadership coach (PCC) and mental trainer who gets inspired by people who have the courage to flourish and who wish to catalyse others to thrive.
More about BET and other thoughts and tools about how you can influence your performance and wellbeing can be found in the book “Huipulle” (freely translated “Towards your Top”) by Christina Forssell. The book is directed to athletes, but it works for anyone interested in mental training, and deeper self-development and self–leadership. Currently only available in the world language Finnish – sorry! 🙂 )