What Are You Arresting?: A Coach’s Perspective

by Sabrina Smith

I can imagine the curiosity you must feel after reading this header. Is this article about jail? If that’s your question, then you are on the right track, except what we need to arrest is not a person, but your thoughts. Let’s see if you can relate by reading the story of Bella (a made-up character—or is she?).


Bella is a highly competent and confident individual contributor within her organization. Although she doesn’t have the title of leader, if you ask anyone that Bella supports, they will speak of her as one of the key decision-makers and contributors in the department.

Bella builds great relationships with her peers and leaders, she was even selected as one of five department mentors of newly hired associates. She’s known as the “get it done” person in the office because leaders and peers alike can count on her to equip them with the information, insight, tools, resources, and feedback they need to execute their responsibilities. She is a team player, proactive decision-maker, and rarely are her decisions questioned. If so, she is open to feedback and applies it accordingly.

One day, Bella was asked by her leader to stretch herself even further next year by taking on high profile projects within the organization. Bella hesitates and tells her boss, “I’m really too busy to take on anything else, but I appreciate the ask.” Bella’s boss says, “Bella, I know you’re busy, and I also know what I see in you. I think you can take this on if you really want to. Think about it and get back to me.”

After that meeting the once confident Bella becomes distracted and begins to question herself.


“Does Andy realize what he’s asking of me? Is he setting me up to fail? Peggy and Robert are more skilled than I am, so why would he put me in that situation? I’m just not sure I can do this anyway; I mean, what if I make a mistake? I told him I’m open for other opportunities to grow, but this is not what I meant! I just don’t know…”

Can you relate to the story of Bella? I’m sure many of you can. Bella’s thoughts are leading her to a dismal state of mind, and they need to be arrested! Here are some tips that Bella could use to seize her thoughts:

Instead Of Thinking… Replace That Thought With This…
“I’m too busy to take on anything else.” “What would taking this on mean for my career?”
“Does Andy realize what he’s asking of me?” “Why does Andy believe I can do this”?
“Is he setting me up to fail?” “How has he supported me in the past to succeed?”
“Peggy and Robert are more skilled than I am?” “What skills do I have that have helped me excel in the work I do?
“I’m not sure I can do this anyway.” “What would it feel like if I could do this?
“What if I make a mistake?” “How have I learned and grown from previous mistakes?”
“I told him I’m open for opportunities to grow, but this is not what I meant.” “What does having growth opportunities look like to me?
“I just don’t know.” “What do I know?”

If you are experiencing similar issues like Bella, start arresting those negatives thoughts and replacing them with questions like the above and see how you will begin unlocking possibilities in your life!

IAAP has launched a new coaching program within Academy for Leadership Development. Coaching offers focused work with an unbiased third-party on achieving your unique goals and identifying your blind spots to help you get to where you always wanted to be. Check out more details and schedule your discovery call today!

Sabrina Smith is a coach, leader, trainer, keynote speaker and Founder of Progeny1. Her passion is helping others achieve their professional and personal goals. You can learn more about Sabrina at www.progeny1.training or on our website.




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