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Whose business are you in?

Someone asked me this somewhat snotty-sounding question the other day, and it really got my attention.

Granted, it was in the context of unpacking an unhelpful belief using Byron Katie’s four questions, but still. I was viscerally reminded of times I’d asked “inappropriate questions” as a child and got a glare and “that’s none of your business.”

The basic idea is that there are three kinds of business:

1. Your business
2. Someone else’s business
3. God’s business (or whatever word you may have for the mysterious forces at work in our universe)

I’ve noticed that often when we feel really stuck with our calling – questioning whether we’re on the right track, feeling alone, getting close to burn out – we’re focused on someone else’s business.

For example, who’s business is it that the unemployment rate is up? Your actions may contribute to this situation, but you yourself did not create and cannot undo the problem. Now, if you’re thinking that there’s no point in pursuing what you really want to do because the unemployment rate is so high, that is your business. And probably not a very fun business at that.

Or, who’s business is it that your boss doesn’t give positive feedback very often? Does it affect you? Of course. But can you really do anything to change your boss? Does criticizing, disliking, or getting frustrated by your boss’s insensitivity make it better? Then you know you’re not focused on “your business.”

That’s the magic of it – if you have a tight feeling in your stomach and it seems like there’s no way out, you can be 99% sure that you’re not focused on your own business. And refocusing on what your part really is and what you can do will greatly lighten your load, and make you that much more effective.

Spend a few minutes looking at the belief that gives you a knot in your tummy, and ask yourself the snotty question – who’s business am I in, anyway? It might be just the ticket.

Ps. I do recommend Byron Katie’s process for getting clear about the business you’re in.  Check out her book Loving What Is: Four Questions that can Change Your Life.