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                Your business                      Another's business           God's or reality's business

Are you messing in another's business?

Byron Katie says it best

I first learned to ask the question, "Whose business am I in?" from Byron Katie. Let her speak for herself:

Staying in your own business 

"I can find only three kinds of business in the universe: mine, yours, and God’s. For me, the word God means 'reality.' Reality is God, because it rules. Anything that’s out of my control, your control, and everyone else’s control -- I call that God’s business.

Much of our stress comes from mentally living out of our own business. When I think, 'You need to get a job, I want you to be happy, you should be on time, you need to take better care of yourself,' I am in your business. When I’m worried about earthquakes, floods, war, or when I will die, I am in God’s business. If I am mentally in your business or in God’s business, the effect is separation.

I noticed this early in 1986. When I mentally went into my mother’s business, for example, with a thought like 'My mother should understand me,' I immediately experienced a feeling of loneliness. And I realized that every time in my life that I had felt hurt or lonely, I had been in someone else’s business.

If you are living your life and I am mentally living your life, who is here living mine? We’re both over there. Being mentally in your business keeps me from being present in my own. I am separate from myself, wondering why my life doesn’t work. To think that I know what’s best for anyone else is to be out of my business. Even in the name of love, it is pure arrogance, and the result is tension, anxiety, and fear. Do I know what’s right for me? That is my only business. Let me work with that before I try to solve your problems for you. If you understand the three kinds of business enough to stay in your own business, it could free your life in a way that you can’t even imagine.

The next time you’re feeling stress or discomfort, ask yourself whose business you’re in mentally, and you may burst out laughing! That question can bring you back to yourself. And you may come to see that you’ve never really been present, that you’ve been mentally living in other people’s business all your life. Just to notice that you’re in someone else’s business can bring you back to your own wonderful self."

My implementations of her distinctions

As a life coach...

People often assume that I give people advice. I don't. If they give me permission to be their partner in making some change they'd like to make, then I'm happy to do that. But only with their permission. And, even then, I don't give advice. I sometimes make suggestions and ask, "Does that fit for you?" I'll only get into "other people's business" if they give me permission to do that...and then only for agreed-upon purposes. Then it becomes both their business, my business, and our business.

I never feel burned out. My first priority in coaching another is to have fun with the process. On a few rare occasions, I have interrupted a client by saying, "I'm not having fun here. We need to figure that out first." Just by saying that, I was immediately able to get back into having fun and continuing with the coaching conversation. Ultimately, my client's problems are their problems. With their permission and cooperation, I do what I can. While making sure I have fun, I "go the extra mile." My clients will tell you that. I can do what I can do. What they do with that is their business. 

I never experience my clients as "resistant." If it ever occurs to me that my client is "resistant," I will get curious about that. I know that whatever my client's behavior, including a "resistant" behavior, the intention of that behavior is to try to do something important for themselves. That "resistant" behavior is something to get curious about, something to learn more about, if possible. Almost always, the reason people decide to work with me is they have two or more "parts" of themselves that are in conflict. Even though their parts may be unfriendly with each other, I am friendly with them all, since I know that each one of them is trying to do something for my client by creating whatever behavior it creates.

If I'm not being 100% responsible...

If I'm criticizing or blaming another for whatever, then I'm trying to be in their business. Consequently, I'm giving away some of my own power, because I'm not fully attending to my own business. By criticizing or blaming another I make myself the victim. Whenever you're holding yourself as a victim, you can easily neglect to ask yourself the question, "Regarding my relationship with this person, what would I like to be different. What might I do that could influence making that difference?"

When someone is argumentative with me...

I get curious. Maybe there's something I did to stimulate their defensiveness. I listen. I reflect what they say to help them get that I am listening. I ask questions to hopefully understand better. 

I don't argue back. I don't try to convince them to change their mind. Only if I can tell that they are interested or curious about what I think I know or about my perspective, then I will share my thoughts with a partnership attitude.

Again, this is how I stay in my business and not another's business.

When I invite others to ask someone they know to attend my class...

I say, "If you ask a family member, a friend, or a colleague to join our class, that is your business, as best you can do it, honoring yourself for the courage you are choosing, regardless of the result. When they respond with a yes, no, maybe, or some other response or non-response, that's their business.

Life is so easy when we attend to our own business!

When the COVID-19 virus started multiplying, I knew...

That was God's business. And how others, either individually or organizationally, reacted to God's business was their business. How I decide to respond to the virus and to the reaction of others is my business.

As a passenger on an airplane...

I stay completely out of the pilot's business and out of God's business. Consequently, I am relaxed and feel no fear, because whether or not the plane crashes, or lands in a city different than the one I intended, is completely out of my control. That's between the pilot and God.

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