Yesterday an anxious thought entered my mind. I don’t know why exactly, but I could conjecture some reasons. Certain situations or conversations from earlier in the day may have made it more likely for that thought to “pass by” later. But the thought seemed to float into consciousness without any help from “me.”

I’m not sure how much time passed before I realized that I was entertaining this thought. As it floated by, I grabbed it and began to add to it, elaborate on it, and begin the process of “making it real.” At first, I wasn’t fully aware I was doing this. But at some point I “came to” and realized what was happening. I then simply noticed what I had done and dropped the thought. I moved on.

I wish I could say I always move on as quickly as I did in this situation. I don’t. But I am working on it. Perhaps today you will find yourself in a similar situation. An unhelpful thought will pass by your field of consciousness. You might even entertain it a bit. But perhaps you’ll feel a similar “poke” as I did. This “coming to” is an invitation to move on from the unhelpful or anxious thought. At that point, just gently say to yourself. Move on.

As leader, it’s easy to get trapped in thoughts – thoughts that are nothing more than mere illusions. They don’t really exist until I make them exist. But then once they exist, I can create an entire narrative around a person on my team, or the state of a project, or the effectiveness of my leadership. The trouble is, it’s a thought the was once nothing more than, well…a thought. But it became more because I entertained it. This can have serious implications on my ability to live and lead well.

Of course, some thoughts need attention. And as a leader, discerning the difference between thoughts that need attention and thoughts that need to move along is critical to your success. But thoughts that need attention, well that’s a different story. But so many thoughts need to simply keep on moving. Don’t grab them. Just let them move on.

I’m committed to helping them move along. How about you?

What can you do today to let certain thoughts move along?

Drop a response here and let’s talk.