If you’re anything like me, your mind is always going a million miles a minute.
It’s just the way I work.
But this driven mind is both a blessing and a curse.
For years, I struggled with managing my driven mind, and it led to some serious issues. Issues I couldn’t deal with until I became more aware of my choices in how I responded to situations.
Left unchecked, your driven mind may drive you to make poor health choices and limit your leadership potential.
But there’s a solution! Today, let’s learn about unlocking your potential and managing the driven mind with the ABC technique.
The ABC technique covers the activating event, your beliefs on the event, and the consequences of those beliefs. A driven mind will dive into stress without the awareness you gain from looking at the ABCs of your response.
Let’s dive in, my friend!
What Is A Driven Mind?
What do I mean by a driven mind?
A driven mind is one that Never. Stops. Running.
It’s like your mind is running a marathon. Always going and wondering and thinking about what to do next and how to make things better.
You have trouble focusing on getting one thing done because halfway into it you’re inspired about a hundred other ideas.
When you were in school, some of your teachers got frustrated you weren’t paying attention.
If this is you, you have a driven mind.
Most of your life, you probably felt like your mind was a curse.
I’ve been right there with you, friends.
I wished for a different make up to my mind. I struggle to relax, and I’m jealous of the others who do so easily.
But my mind was blown when I accepted this curse. And guess what?
A driven mind isn’t a curse. It’s a blessing.
Don’t be a victim! The driven mind is a gift if we only know how to harness its power and avoid the stress and conflict that comes with it.
Chronic Stress: Why Managing The Driven Mind Is So Important?
Let’s look at the problems with the driven mind, and it essentially all boils down to stress.
I have a driven mind myself, so I know exactly what you’re going through. And to be honest, friends, I felt lost for years inside my stress.
On the outside, I was successful, but on the inside, I was drowning.
Until I realized 3 truths about stress, and they helped me on my journey to manage my driven mind.
3 Truths About Stress
#1 Stress Affects Everyone
I felt and still feel like I’m under so much pressure as a leader and person. I need to do the best I can and meet a high, unreachable standard at times.
For most of my life, I internalized that pressure. I thought it was good and what drove me to do great things.
But when I looked at other leaders, they didn’t seem to buckle under their pressures. Everyone else out there seemed to handle it with such grace.
It made me think, What’s wrong with me?
Then my world opened up.
It’s not just me.
Stress happens to everyone; we just process and digest in different ways.
Leaders, entrepreneurs, influencers, creators…every has stress and deals with it in their way, whether you see it or not.
#2 Stress Can Be Good!
Wait? Did I say that right? Stress can be a good thing?
Yeah, my friends. Stress is a good thing!
Well, the right kind of stress is.
Several months ago I went on a Yoga retreat in Sedona, Arizona. It was a big deal, leaders and influencers from all over were there.
Not many couples other than my wife and myself, but there was one other couple that stuck in my mind.
He was an entrepreneur, a venture capitalist born and raised in the oil industry.
He knew stress, let me tell you.
His wife, on the other hand, admitted she had a perfect childhood.
Weird, right? Not many people have that, and not many people admit that anymore.
But she talked about how this made her struggle as an adult. The stresses of life were a challenge to handle.
Marrying her husband and seeing his stress was hard for her.
Why? Because she’d never learned to deal with that stress as a kid.
It got me thinking:
Stress is good because it teaches us how to deal with challenges in life.
#3 Long-Term Stress (Chronic Stress) Is Deadly
All this being said. Chronic stress can be deadly.
This is the stress you don’t handle. This is being on edge for weeks, months, and years.
In time, this takes a toll on your health and will shorten your life.
This isn’t just being over-the-top; this is a proven fact.
The National Institute For Health And Welfare did a study on how stress can affect life expectancy. At the least, they found it shortens your life by 2.8 years.
Doesn’t sound too bad, I guess. That is, until you add in the dramatically increased chance of hypertension and high blood pressure which then decreases your life expectancy even further.
What Are The Five Symptoms Of Chronic Stress?
Geez, Keeny. This is real stuff. How do I know if I’m in trouble with chronic stress?
By asking the question, you’re halfway there (Bon Jovi reference aside).
Experts agree there are 5 symptoms of chronic stress to watch out for.
Note: This information comes from the people over at Stress.org where they cover over 50 signs of stress.
#1 Sleep Disturbance
You lose sleep when you’re stressed, and you gain stress when you don’t sleep.
If you’re not getting your 6-7 hours minimum sleep consistently, stress is shortening your life.
#2 Frequent Sickness
You think to yourself, Man, I can’t kick this cold! Or Geez, I’ve been sick like 3 times in the past couple of months.
Yeah, chronic stress lowers your immune system and makes you more susceptible to illnesses.
#3 Noticeable And Frequent Changes In Mood
This is the one most people already know.
You hear friends say:
- Dude, you’re mad all the time.
- Relax, it’s nothing to get upset about.
- Are you OK? You’re quiet today.
- You’re not acting like yourself lately.
Depression, anger, irritability beyond your control, it could be chronic stress.
#4 Addictive Coping Behaviors
Man, do I know this one. We also see this on the news all the time.
You work so hard through your stress, you justify having a few drinks every night or taking this pill just to help you calm down when you know you don’t need it.
Chronic stress is linked to addiction in all its forms.
#5 Difficulty Focusing On Important Tasks
The driven mind already has trouble focusing, but when you add chronic stress and poor coping techniques on top of it, you’ll find it damned hard to get anything done.
(Then more stress is created because it’s so hard to get things done).
This is your brain saying, “Woah! Stop! This thing is messing us up, I’ll do anything to make you stop whatever it is you’re doing.”
You need to slow down.
Managing The Driven Mind: What Is The ABC Technique?
Chronic stress with self-imposed isolation emotionally, and friends, this was me.
I didn’t know how to cope, and I turned to alcohol and other substances and was always on edge.
I knew I couldn’t continue this way.
My yoga teacher-turned-life-coach, Marcus helped me turn it around, so I challenged him one day:
“I can’t do the lotus position while sitting on the mountaintop. I manage so many people and have so many pressures and complexities. You don’t understand how I have to deal with this.“
He just listened, and it got me to realize.
All complexities are chosen. We are also able to choose how we handle the complexities.
This is where the ABC technique comes in.
It stands for:
- A – Activating event
- B – Beliefs
- C – Consequences
Build awareness by reflecting on these ideas, and opening your mind to change.
A – Activating Event
The activating event is the event that triggers your stress.
This is usually outside of your control.
Pin-point the events which give you stress.
B – Beliefs
This is how your mind responds to a situation. Stress is unavoidable in most situations, but your beliefs about how the events play out affect the consequences.
C – Consequences
How your beliefs play out.
Negative and closed-minded beliefs result in negative consequences and added stress.
Positive and growth-minded beliefs help you to avoid chronic stress and better handle events in the future.
Activating Event Examples
Let’s look at some brief examples of how this would play out.
|I didn’t get the job I applied for||What did I do wrong? It was that one thing I said in an interview. This company only hires their friends anyway.||Anger, depression, self-doubt|
|My significant other left me||I’m unloveable. I’ll never be able to act or look good enough to keep someone around.||Pushing others away, loneliness, giving up|
|My water heater broke||Could I have stopped this? Why does this always happen to me? It’s the person who owned this house before me’s fault.||Absolving blame, frustration, panic|
|I didn’t get the job I applied for||This is a bummer, but what can I learn from this experience? It probably isn’t my fault at all, the other person was a better candidate.||Growth, self-improvement|
|My significant other left me||It’s over, but I can learn from this in my next relationship. It didn’t work out this time, but I’m not giving up.||Hope, self-improvement|
|My water heater broke||How do I fix this? What should I look for to avoid this next time? These things happen, but it’s not the end of the world.||Learning, calm|
Homework For Managing The Driven Mind
The idea is simple for managing the driven mind:
Be aware of your beliefs and responses to events.
The practice is tough. A driven mind has a hard time reflecting on the situations in our lives because it’s already onto the next thing.
What’s the answer? Slow your mind down.
How do we do this? Look at these 4 ways.
This one is obvious, but it’s so good.
The whole goal of meditation is to slow the mind down to reach an awareness of self.
Whether you do meditation, yoga, tai chi, prayer, or simply do quiet breathing, this quieting of the mind will help you become more aware of your reactions, so you can change your beliefs and reactions to events.
It seems counter-intuitive, but good exercises actually do quiet the mind during and after the exercise.
Taking a pen to paper and reflecting on your day is another great way to force yourself to slow down and articulate what’s going on.
It’s amazing what you’ll discover about yourself as you write.
#4 Reading Or Listening To Great Information
Finding books, videos, podcasts, or blogs and taking the time to stop and focus on the information is another great way to learn about yourself.
In fact, you’re already doing this one by listening to my podcast or reading this post, so good for you! #Shameless plug, not even sorry!
Homework: Pick one of these strategies and do it every day for at least a week. In the end, see how you feel and if you’ve learned about yourself and your reactions to events.
Now, share this with someone!
Let me know how it works for you through email or comments. Whatever you feel like, I want to hear from you.
Get Out There!
This is just one step in managing the driven mind using the ABC technique, but you’ve made the biggest step by looking and learning how to improve yourself and your leadership.
Let me know how it all works out for you by dropping a comment below.
Don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast or YouTube channel if you want to get more great information straight to your inbox.
Now go step into your greatness!
About Kenny Chapman
Kenny Chapman’s mission is to help driven leaders build their ideal lives and careers (even if they don’t know what that looks like yet). He is an award-winning authority on helping people discover their true potential and make the simple, though not always easy, necessary changes.
Kenny is a professionally trained speaker, consultant, columnist, author of The Six Dimensions of Change 2.0 and In-Home Sales Acceleration, and host of the Leadership in a Nutshell podcast. He is an entrepreneur at heart, building multiple successful companies, most recently the Blue Collar Success Group. His teachings have inspired individuals worldwide to reshape their lives and organizations, creating sustainable change, happiness, and personal fulfillment.