Month: February 2019

The Mask: Change isn’t as Easy as It Sounds

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So maybe you’re starting a new job, or a new diet, or you got a new haircut.  You were supercharged about it, and knew it was the right call.

The next morning, WHAM – panic set in!

Why would you do this? What were you thinking? So stupid!!!! Damn it. Questions are firing quickly in your head like a fast-forward soundtrack of fear and loathing.

Suddenly, the emotional bravery becomes riddled with questions and fears and now that waters all murky and how will you ever undo this moment that’s permanent. SHIT!

It’s real – the things that happen after change are often harder than the change itself. It’s the self-talk and the way we internalize it all that bites us. The mask of fear is really scary.

 

So today, let’s talk about those feelings.

First things first. The feelings you’re experiencing are really normal.

You’ve gone through so much change at such a fast pace that it’s very natural for all of your systems to be at a breaking point try to keep you where you are.

But it’s significant and indicative of something really cool happening in your head! (you all know I’m glass half full, but this is true in more ways that optimism)

Your whole system is on the precipice of a major breakthrough and that’s why you’re feeling this. Your mind is saying “You know we’re not ready for this! Hold on now – wait a minute now! We need to do it my way!”

The feelings come from your system trying to keep you safe, and protecting you is the intention. But the system, the brain, is dead wrong.

Meanwhile, your subconscious is saying “We can let go of fear and make this change. We’re ready!”

This battle to allows all this change to unfold. The way you’re feeling, then, is really important part of the process. We’re talking about major recalibration and that that doesn’t happen easily, so this unrest that you’re experiencing is important to experience. It speaks to the growth you’re about to undergo.

 

What happens when we usually try to make change?

If you’re like me, a human being, you probably failed a few more times than you’d like to admit. I did.

I tried to start a new running routine. Failed. I tried to start a new gym routine. Failed.

What happens is you get all excited about the change, you go through it with excitement, but because you haven’t done the real work underneath the change itself,  but then your body freaks out and tries to pull you back to what you know, and you listen – you abandon the change and make some excuse up. For me, it was that I just didn’t like to run in the cold.

If we know this unrest and discomfort on the very edge of permanent change is normal, we can focus on accepting these feelings of anxiety and allow the change to take place.

 

All of this is very normal.

 

QUESTIONS AND DOUBT

Asking questions and having doubts is also normal.

When you start to question yourself for the choices or this new path that you’re on, pause for a moment. Good work. It’s good work not just because of the above, but in general I believe we should be calling the stuff in question and verifying what we know as truth. Maybe it was truth and isn’t anymore. Maybe it still is. Maybe it never was. We must ask those questions!

 

I quit my job in May of 2015. It’s been 3 and a half years since I did that, and I can’t lie to you and tell you that I didn’t feel these feelings. It was scary. It was intimidating and I did have my fears and doubts win a few battles. I’ve been there. I would question the shit out of EVERYTHING, still do.

I still question my goals, and my path. I still have doubts. It’s not that those go away. Even as I climb up higher and higher into what I believe success really means, they are still there.

But I have trust underneath that all.

I even trust DOUBT.

I trust a doubt will creep in and I trust the doubt will continue to pull me away and I trust that doubt is part of the process. But that doesn’t mean that I trust the doubt itself, I just know that part of the process is doubt.

A question I get all the time: “I don’t know where I am right now – where am I?”

And sadly, that’s where most people stop! The fear takes over, and they don’t look for answers to the question. The fact that they don’t have an immediate comfortable answer (because they’re in the midst of changing the answer) makes it really uncomfortable. But there’s good news. That’s the best time to keep going!

It’s a great place to stop and pause and say “Hey, where am I?” with a more positive tone, and to get to a point where you can ask about what matters and what you want.

I know change is hard. But we must consider that commitment to change is the only way to make it happen in a way that serves us.

Sometimes what we want changes. And if we don’t know where we are, we can’t ask where we want to go. Both of those require some time investments, but the reason asking those questions is so important is that it creates good friction.

 

GOOD FRICTION

Our mind hates good friction, but our best self loves it and our body loves it.

Though, our mind, our mind likes to stay in safety.

Safety is another fun word for comfort and consistency and as you’re going through all these changes, you’re challenging comfort and consistency and your brain is wired to say no.

This is perfectly normal. Your brain is trying to latch on to what it knows, what would keep you safe.  And what will keep you safe is only based on what it knows. Without facing this emotion – you won’t change. Simple as that.

You’ll feel things pull you back as your brain cries out, “WAIT, no! Don’t go! Come back! It’s not safe there! STOP! NO NO NO!”

And here’s the start of the friction. Your reaction and response to this brain noise is the critical element to the change you want to make.

But this is just a mask.

Normally, the response is “I’m questioning it so therefore it must be wrong.” And that’s going to take you back towards brain safety. This is about getting out of safety because safety hasn’t taken you where you wanted to go in the first place. That’s why we’re making change, right?!?

I believe it’s healthy to question changes, reasons and motivations. I believe that when you’re facing the discomfort of making change, it’s important you endure it, and hear the thoughts you have.  Your whole world isn’t rattling, your whole foundation isn’t unstable. It feels that way, because there’s friction. We want friction.

Friction lets us know change is happening, so as uncomfortable as it is, invite it. Let the feeling happen. Go with some curiosity into it as you make your change and ask yourself why you feel this particular way.

 

“Is this what I actually want?”

“Is this the change that’s important to me?”

Those are key questions. If so, then you’re ready, and any friction you feel is just an indicator that you’re on the right path.

There’s a really important lesson here that comes with change.

 

HAPPENINGS OF CHANGE

First, you have something that you want. You get it, you get comfortable.

Then you set your mind to change. As you do this you build a new want and start to let go of the old want.

Seemingly obvious, we build habits around what we initially wanted, and now we are starting to let them go. This is where the friction comes from. Replacing an old want will drive you bonkers. Here’s an example:

 

I thought a career was the right choice for me. Then I met entrepreneurs and talked with my dad more. I eventually was letting go of the idea of a career and thinking I could be something else, something more. But guess what crept in?!?

Yup, doubt and fear.

My brain didn’t want to let go of safety, security, and all those things that come from following the traditional path. So, it was scary, and hard, and I had lots of friction. Friction internally, externally. Everywhere I looked I was getting mixed messages, especially the mirror. I remember sitting in my window and feeling so scared that I was wrapped in a blanket like a burrito, immovable.

I had to let go of one to get to the other side of change. You will to, but I believe in you.

Your brain is making a new connection. It’s unplugging one wire and plugging in another, and that’s going to cause lots of strange things to happen in your mind, especially in transition.

 

These new connections you’re making, these new synapse links and is actually you waking up to and experiencing the change you want to make. It’s happening – hence the reason friction is all a part of it.

The good news?

You’re now in probably the most beautiful of states.

Brain: I’m not letting this happen. [puts scary mask on]

Subconscious: I want this! Let’s go, get out of my way! Take that stupid mask off, it’s silly looking!

I want you to do the work and experience the discomfort anyway – because we are going to push through it and make his change happen. On the other side of this is everything that you want, is everything that you’ve asked for, is the alignment that we’re looking for – it’s right there!!

 

I know change can be scary, but change happens with this fear and chaos all mixed into it. On the other side is the beauty that you can be and can have.

 

If you’re dealing with change and would like some insight or someone to talk to, please reach out.

 

-AV