Do “DO”, Don’t “DON’T”
Rob Schiffmann

We often tell ourselves what we feel we should be doing more of and what we feel we should be doing less of. We say “DO go to the gym” and “DON’T eat all that extra Halloween candy that didn’t get eaten because not a lot of kids came by and also because you bought a ton extra with the secret hope that not a lot of kids would come by”. We give ourselves these directives to help us move through the world in what we deem to be the most effective way. However, behind every good ‘DON’T’ is a ‘DO’ just waiting to happen and when we let it, we DO our best!!!

1-2-3 Snap, Clap, Stomp

 I was teaching today at Genentech in San Francisco, as I am fortunate enough to be able to do several times a year. We were working on an exercise called “1-2-3 Snap, Clap, Stomp”. To play this game, everyone gets into pairs and the partners then count to 3 repeatedly together. So person ‘a’ says “1”, person ‘b’ says “2”, person ‘a’ says “3”, person ‘b’ says 1, etc.. The fact that there are 2 people counting to 3 creates some chaos. We then spice it up a bit by asking them to replace the “1′ with a snap of the fingers. This, of course, leads to more chaos. Then we ask them to replace the “2” with a clap and finally, the “3” with a stomp. By the end, it’s chaos central.

This is when I emphasize the need to slow down so as to avoid fighting choas chaotically. When asking the class what they had learned, they yelled out “slow down” and “stay calm”. Then, one woman said “Don’t think!”

That’s when my brain said I should address what it means to tell yourself to NOT do something and so I responded by saying “rather than tell yourself “don’t think”, we can reframe that to a “do” statement instead, such as ‘DO stay present”. 

This was the “AHA!” moment!

‘Do’ Moves You Forward

When we feedback to ourselves around the things we should NOT be doing, we are essentially asking ourselves to NOT be present. To ignore that which comes natural and instead, stand outside ourselves and force the unnatural. When we translate that to what we SHOULD be DOing, we give ourselves a way forward and an opportunity to grow and try new behavior.

So Please Do…

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