Whose Business Are You In?

The View

Have you ever noticed that when you spend mental time and energy thinking about other people — what they are thinking, whether or not they like you, why they act the way they do — that you experience more stress? Prior to becoming a life coach, I spent the majority of my time in other people’s business. I thought about my students, their parents, my family, my partner, friends and even strangers that I would see at the grocery store. Truth be told, I have a judgmental streak that I am trying to heal. To be fair, we live in a pretty judgmental society. I had been trained how to support people with disabilities to obtain and maintain community employment, and I was considered an expert, although I neither liked nor claimed that label. Nonetheless, somewhere along the way, I began to think that I knew what was best for people. “If David could act like this during an interview, he would have a better chance of getting the job.”

An eye-opening lesson occurred when I worked on a federal grant that was researching ways to support people with disabilities not only to be successful in community employment, but also to be more interdependent on their co-workers, supervisors and the community as opposed to being dependent on paid support staff. One of the many things we uncovered was that the more involved people were in their own decision making and lives, the more successful and happy they were.

This is not rocket science. The people with disabilities we supported began making choices as to where they wanted to seek employment, how many hours they wanted to work, and if they wanted to quit and pursue a different job, etc. But those of us who are non-disabled take these choices for granted when undertaking our life’s pursuit. And realizing that made a world of difference in how I supported my students.

I am ashamed to say that while I have always believed that everyone has the right and responsibility to make choices regarding his/her life, I still tended to be pushy or controlling when offering support. This carried over into my personal life, where I was sometimes bossy with friends and offered uninvited advice. I could even hear myself say, “Don’t you think you should go to the doctor?” — as if putting it in the form of a question made it any less bossy! I had become overly responsible, and I stopped being present in my own life because I was spending my mental energy in others’ lives. As a result, I began to suffer.

Byron Katie is an American speaker and author who teaches a method of self-inquiry known as “The Work.” It is a lovely way to help people work through grief. In addition to her amazing contribution of “The Work,” it was Katie who came up with another tool to help relieve suffering. She asks the question, “Whose business are you in?” Katie explains that there are three types of business in the world: 1) your business, 2) my business and 3) God’s or the Universe’s business. She simply states, “Much of our stress comes from mentally living out of our own business” (Loving What Is).

Instantly, Katie’s message made sense to me. Now, I am not saying that I have not slipped into someone else’s business since then. I inadvertently wind up in other people’s business occasionally. Yet now I just need to ask myself or hear, “Whose business are you in?” and I am instantly reminded where I don’t want to be. After embracing this tool and looking back over my previous five years of supporting people with disabilities, it became clear that I had spent a tremendous amount of energy in other people’s business, thereby creating my own stress.

Today, I try hard to stay in my own business. As a result, I find that much of my stress has dissipated. It’s amazing! Ultimately, I only have control over myself and my choices. I don’t have control over anything or anyone else. This is a healthy reminder of that basic tenet.

Successful athletes have understood this notion for a long time. You hear interviews constantly in which athletes are asked what they are going to do about their competitors and what they will bring to any race, game or tournament. Successful athletes consistently tend to answer, “I am going to concentrate on me, my race or my game.” They don’t get caught up in how their opponent is training, what shoes the other is wearing or the other person’s strategy. They play their game. Athletes know that they are at their best when they are focused and in their own business.

Did you find yourself in other people’s business yesterday or today?

Do yourself a favor and try to stay in your own business for three days and see if it makes any difference in your life.

Please share what you discover.

Whose Business Are You In?

The View

Have you ever noticed that when you spend mental time and energy thinking about other people — what they are thinking, whether or not they like you, why they act the way they do — that you experience more stress? Prior to becoming a life coach, I spent the majority of my time in other people’s business. I thought about my students, their parents, my family, my partner, friends and even strangers that I would see at the grocery store. Truth be told, I have a judgmental streak that I am trying to heal. To be fair, we live in a pretty judgmental society. I had been trained how to support people with disabilities to obtain and maintain community employment, and I was considered an expert, although I neither liked nor claimed that label. Nonetheless, somewhere along the way, I began to think that I knew what was best for people. “If David could act like this during an interview, he would have a better chance of getting the job.”

An eye-opening lesson occurred when I worked on a federal grant that was researching ways to support people with disabilities not only to be successful in community employment, but also to be more interdependent on their co-workers, supervisors and the community as opposed to being dependent on paid support staff. One of the many things we uncovered was that the more involved people were in their own decision making and lives, the more successful and happy they were.

This is not rocket science. The people with disabilities we supported began making choices as to where they wanted to seek employment, how many hours they wanted to work, and if they wanted to quit and pursue a different job, etc. But those of us who are non-disabled take these choices for granted when undertaking our life’s pursuit. And realizing that made a world of difference in how I supported my students.

I am ashamed to say that while I have always believed that everyone has the right and responsibility to make choices regarding his/her life, I still tended to be pushy or controlling when offering support. This carried over into my personal life, where I was sometimes bossy with friends and offered uninvited advice. I could even hear myself say, “Don’t you think you should go to the doctor?” — as if putting it in the form of a question made it any less bossy! I had become overly responsible, and I stopped being present in my own life because I was spending my mental energy in others’ lives. As a result, I began to suffer.

Byron Katie is an American speaker and author who teaches a method of self-inquiry known as “The Work.” It is a lovely way to help people work through grief. In addition to her amazing contribution of “The Work,” it was Katie who came up with another tool to help relieve suffering. She asks the question, “Whose business are you in?” Katie explains that there are three types of business in the world: 1) your business, 2) my business and 3) God’s or the Universe’s business. She simply states, “Much of our stress comes from mentally living out of our own business” (Loving What Is).

Instantly, Katie’s message made sense to me. Now, I am not saying that I have not slipped into someone else’s business since then. I inadvertently wind up in other people’s business occasionally. Yet now I just need to ask myself or hear, “Whose business are you in?” and I am instantly reminded where I don’t want to be. After embracing this tool and looking back over my previous five years of supporting people with disabilities, it became clear that I had spent a tremendous amount of energy in other people’s business, thereby creating my own stress.

Today, I try hard to stay in my own business. As a result, I find that much of my stress has dissipated. It’s amazing! Ultimately, I only have control over myself and my choices. I don’t have control over anything or anyone else. This is a healthy reminder of that basic tenet.

Successful athletes have understood this notion for a long time. You hear interviews constantly in which athletes are asked what they are going to do about their competitors and what they will bring to any race, game or tournament. Successful athletes consistently tend to answer, “I am going to concentrate on me, my race or my game.” They don’t get caught up in how their opponent is training, what shoes the other is wearing or the other person’s strategy. They play their game. Athletes know that they are at their best when they are focused and in their own business.

Did you find yourself in other people’s business yesterday or today?

Do yourself a favor and try to stay in your own business for three days and see if it makes any difference in your life.

Please share what you discover.

Sorry, comments are closed for this post.