You Are More Than You Think: Tools for Challenging The Thoughts that Don't Serve You

Uncategorized Dec 08, 2021

Challenging the thoughts that don't serve you is one of the most powerful pathways to having more joy and more impact across all the areas of your life. 

Upgrading your own internal dialogue is particularly important for all of us with a calling to make the world a better place.  In the coaching work I do with social entrepreneurs and with donors,  self doubt and harsh judgment of how well we are serving others and living out our calling shows up as a big source of suffering.

This post shares a set of tools for and engaging positively with the thoughts that aren't serving you and your mission as a change agent.

A powerfully simple psychological model: the CBT triangle

YOU are bigger than you think, feel or do

Your highest self is a larger encompassing consciousness that can hear and engage with all the dimensions of yourself: your physical sensations and actions, your thoughts, your feelings, even what is not immediately conscious.  Shifting your thoughts is a great way to bring your momentary self into alignment with your higher self. 


Tool #1: The 7 Column Thought Record

This tool comes from the world of cognitive behavioral therapy, and it's also well suited for coaching and individual self development work.  The idea is simple.  You pick a situation in which you are experiencing a strong emotional response that you don't want to have.  For example, let's say you are asked in a meeting to share your thoughts about a key issue and you suddenly freeze up with feelings of anxiety and self doubt.  The situation goes into column 1 of the worksheet, and the emotional reactions go into column 2, with a rating level based on their intensity.  You use columns 3, 4 and 5  of the worksheet to dig into the thoughts behind those intense emotional feelings, identifying objective evidence for and against the validity of those thoughts.  In column 6 you have the opportunity to restate a more balanced thought and in column 7 you reassess the intensity of your feelings around this incident.   There are many open source versions of this worksheet out there on the web--the one shown here is from Carol Vivyan's excellent set of free CBT-based resources 

Lots of additional ways into the work of shifting your thoughts


Tool #2: Byron Katie's 4 Questions + "the Turnaround"

Lots more resources and tools  at

There are a lot more resources for mapping out your thoughts and shifting your those that don't serve you through the self development materials we've put together for change agents.  Set yourself up with a free account to access them in the Joyful Impact members area.  You can also heck out other posts on this blog, including the series on Understanding and Evolving Your Psychology as well as 7 Pillars of Personal Development for Change Agents.


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These are the same materials we use with the social entrepreneurs in our accelerator program and the funders we coach one on one.  The world has never been more in need of a new, greatest generation of change agents and that's why we're opening up free access to these materials to anyone who's ready to make use of them!