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March 7, 2022


You have more control than you think

In this week’s Systems Change Newsletter…

  • Invitations & Announcements
  • Catalytic Thinking Exercise: What do you have control over?
  • Resources to Further Your Practice

Invitations & Announcements:

Succession Planning:
This month’s Integrity Conversation is happening next Monday, March 14. We will continue to apply Catalytic Thinking to the critical topic of Succession Planning. If you want to be part of that conversation, let us know. Info is here

Hildy’s Latest Article:
In a post this past weekend, Hildy shared 4 things you can do when life feels overwhelming and exhausting. These days, that could be any day, any time! Read it here…

Catalytic Thinking Exercise: What do you have control over?

Life has become overwhelming. What started as a perfectly normal year in January of 2020 is now heading into a 3rd year of circumstances over which we feel we have no control. COVID. Systemic racism. Climate change. COVID again. Ukraine. Everything, everywhere feels like it is on fire (and sometimes those are very real fires!)

But it's more than that. It's the fact that this pile of crises is added on top of the everyday things we face all the time - from dealing with workplace issues to to dealing with aging parents. Those things didn't disappear just because the world is off balance.

What we forget in those circumstances is that there is always something over which we do have control. It could be simply our thoughts about the situation, or it could be actual actions we can take. That's where this week's practice comes in

Try this

This week’s exercise takes only a minute or two. Yet it can be immensely powerful.

1) Take a deep breath to quiet your mind.

2) List at least 5 things you have control over, no matter how small.
I have control over _______________

3) Notice: Did any of the items on that list surprise you? What did you feel as you thought about the things you DO have control over?

Try this practice every day for a week. You might do it once in the morning as you are anticipating the day, or in the evening, after the day’s occurrences have all piled up in your head. Because it only takes 2 minutes, try doing both!

As you make your lists, you will become more aware of your own self-talk, as you will be listening to yourself through the lens of Catalytic Listening. This is powerful, because your self-talk – and how you listen to yourself - is another thing over which you DO have control.

Sometimes just the simple act of listing those 5 things is enough to help your shoulders relax a bit. At other times, it is helpful to take action – to do one of the things you’ve identified.

Either way, being mindful of the things over which you have control can change the feedback loops in your brain. That simple act of interrupting the fear-based loop will allow you to access the part of the brain that can insert reason and creativity into the conversation you are having with yourself.

That is why this exercise – and all of Catalytic Listening – is such an important part of the Catalytic Thinking framework.

Resources to Support Your Practice:

  • READ: The power to listen differently can change whole conversations and relationships. Read more here…
  • LEARN:  Scarcity of resources is one of the most fear-based “we have no control” loops. This short class on Collective Enoughness will help you find resources that are hiding in plain sight, all around us. Even the tuition is “Pay what you can!” Find it here...
  • LISTEN: This beautiful podcast with poet Ocean Vuong focuses on something over which we all have control – the words we speak and write. Thanks to Joyce Lee-Ibarra for sharing this one! Listen here…
Photo by Nataliya Vaitkevich from Pexels

Help Keep Our Programs Freely Available
Most of the programs at Creating the Future are free or low cost, with liberal tuition assistance when they aren’t.

If you find our programs of benefit, we hope you will consider contributing, to help keep these programs available to as many people as possible.   Donate here ...

eJournal Archives:
If you’re new to our eJournal, or just want to remind yourself of past practice exercises we’ve shared, check out our eJournal archives here.

Creating the Future's Mission
Teach people how to change the systems they find themselves in,
to create a future different from our past -
all by changing the questions they ask.

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