Use Your Mental Mouse
by Sharon Teitelbaum
Have you ever wished you could take your computer mouse with you into your off-line life? When you're looking for a parking space near that new restaurant, wouldn't you like to pull down a menu of options and click on "find a spot 2 blocks away"? When you realize you have just introduced your spouse to your colleague Justin Case but called him the wrong name, don't you wish you could just highlight the whole transaction and delete it?
Well, I contend that you actually have a "Mental Mouse" which you can learn to use to your great advantage. Here are some ideas to spark your imagination.
Often the answers to our challenges are visible to us, but they flit by so quickly that we hardly notice them. They occur to us in the form of fleeting ideas or images, which we may not even register. Or we dismiss or disregard them. This needs to change. Harvesting images and ideas that are vibrant and compelling can be a critical step in moving forward in our lives. Capturing them for later consideration can make a difference.
Here's what to do. When one of these images appears, use your Mental Mouse and click "save." This is your way of saying to yourself, "This is a compelling idea. I will remember it." As soon as you can, jot it down on a piece of paper, or write it to a computer file. Do this regardless of whether it's practical, realistic, reasonable or whether it passes any of your other requirements for an idea "worth keeping."
Now it's saved. You can look at it later. Many of these images come from your intuition or your inner wisdom. They are worthy of your consideration. Some you will reject, but others can lead you deeper into the life you dream of.
EMPTY YOUR RECYCLE BIN
My computer misbehaved several days in a row recently. When I asked my Computer Wizard about it, he told me he told me to see if my recycle bin needed to be emptied. The truth? I had completely forgotten about the recycle bin. When I looked, I was appalled to find probably a year's worth of "deleted" files. HAHA! They weren't deleted REALLY. I used my mouse to empty that recycle bin, and got rid of those files once and for all! My computer once again became docile, servile, and even perhaps a bit ingratiating.
What a great metaphor! How often do we do this in our lives? We THINK we've gotten rid of something because we've "deleted" it, that is, removed it from view. But it lurks!! It is still really there for us, below daily consciousness, waiting to be called back into service, eating up our energy, zapping our memory, using up precious creative and productive juice.
What's in your personal recycle bin? It could be an ancient, obsolete image of yourself that you are still fighting, say as a sloppy 6-year-old, even though your work is meticulous, your reputation is sterling, and your personal appearance and home are impeccable. I have worked with affluent clients at midlife who still carried with them an image of themselves living hand-to-mouth as they had in their younger years. These outgrown images of yourself can be emptied! They are not serving you.
Ditto for the "I should have's": I should have gone to medical school. I should have married the other guy. I should never have left South Dakota. These may be serious hints about actions you need to take to make your present life better - in which case, take the actions: make a move into a science career, or just start taking some courses. Get clear what's missing in your marriage and enroll your partner in creating it with you. Identify what you miss about South Dakota and find it where you are. Or visit South Dakota and remind yourself why you left! But let go of the "should have's." They are big time energy thieves.
What's lurking in your recycle bin? Grab the hand of a trusted friend and go have a look. Use your mental mouse to let go of what you no longer need.
I recently wrote an email and attached a file to send with it. By mistake I attached the wrong file. So I detached that file and attached the correct one. I was struck with how easy it was!
When you're stuck in a traffic jam, stressing out because you're late for a meeting, wouldn't you like to click "detach" and just release all of that tension? You actually can, by using your Mental Mouse and choosing to detach from this and other attachments (to a particular outcome) that are not serving you well.
Have you ever had to work on a project with someone you just don't like? Or someone who doesn't seem to like you? This can be difficult, especially if you have high needs for connection or being appreciated. You have obviously already clicked "attach" earlier in the process, or you wouldn't be so invested in creating a particular outcome: people liking each other. But the truth is, once you're aware of what you're doing, you can mentally click "detach," and support yourself to be okay with whatever the outcome is. This actually leaves you freer to do your best work.
Notice when you are stressing out. Use your Mental Mouse and detach.
1. Play with the idea of a Mental Mouse.
2. Stop and take notice when you wish you could "click."
3. Identify the human action you need to take.
4. Take that action.
Copyright 2003 Sharon Teitelbaum. All rights reserved.
Sharon Teitelbaum may be contacted at http://www.stcoach.com
Sharon Teitelbaum, www.stcoach.com, a Master Certified Work-Life and Career Coach, works with high achievers, people at mid-career, and professionals seeking greater career satisfaction and work-life balance. She coaches by phone and in person in Boston. Her newsletter, Strategies For Change, offers practical tips for work-life success. Getting Unstuck Without Coming Unglued: Restoring Work-Life Balance is Sharon's most recent book. Sharon also also delivers keynotes & workshopson work-life issues. Clients include Children’s Hospital Boston, Merrill Lynch, Arnold Worldwide, professional organizations and alumni groups. She's been featured in national publications including The New York Times, Forbes.com, and Working Mother Magazine. Married for 30 years, she is the mother of two amazing young women