You know we’re our own worst enemy, right? Our minds like to ‘protect’ us by giving us the worst-case scenario for whatever new thing we try to do.
That thing we call fear or anxiety.
Our brains panicking and convincing us that we can’t or shouldn’t do that thing we’re trying to do because it’s too hard, we’re not good enough, no one cares, we’ll look stupid, it’ll cause an apocalypse and turn our hair green… OK, maybe not that, but you get the idea!
Our minds give us so many reasons to not do the thing we want to do. no matter how much we want to do it.
In some cases that’s fine; robbing a bank, jumping off a cliff, anything else that is morally, lawfully wrong or just plain stupid and dangerous. Let fear and anxiety hold you back from those things. But it doesn’t ONLY happen when we shouldn’t be doing it.
It can hold us back from what we really want, or even need!
Our brains don’t like change. Not “us” as people. Our brains. The neurons and pathways that we’ve developed and grown throughout our lives have learned what’s good and safe. Our brains want to hold onto ‘good’ and ‘safe’. Eventually, we’re living in a nice, pleasant, safe way… our brains are OK with that. This path works, so this is what our brain wants to stick with.
We’re doing OK. We’re not hurting anyone, and it’s not hurting us, so it’s fine.
But what happens when we want to change something in our lives?
Our brains; my brain, your brain, the guy living 3 doors down (cool band, but not what I mean)… our brains don’t want to make the change.
We get stuck in our thought patterns and loops
There’s so much science and research, and people talking about our thought patterns and loops that there’s not much point in me going into it. In fact… when I was trapped in my own head, this video by Mel Robbins was one of the things that helped me through it:
I became “a first-class asshole”
Just as Mel says in the video, at the key moment, I got stuck in my head. I panicked. I wanted it to be ‘perfect,’ I was overthinking EVERY tiny step that I needed to take. I had a minor meltdown and ended up sat on my living room floor close to tears.
All I needed to do? Press a button. That was it. I needed to press one button, take one small action. Nothing serious was happening, but I got myself into full-blown a-hole mode.
Thinking too big.
Looking 5 steps into the future at the bigger goal was causing me so many problems. It had got to a point where I was adding too much unnecessary pressure to what I was doing, and to myself trying to get it done. Jumping in the deep end isn’t always a good way to start.
I had big expectations for what I needed to do after looking around at other people convinced I had to be more like them in order to do well. I don’t need to be like anyone. I was setting myself up for failure by thinking that way.
Somewhere along the line (I’m not sure when), I’d convinced myself that in order to be successful, I needed to do something big. That’s a load of crap.
By thinking that way I was overcomplicating what I was doing. I was setting myself up for failure. Trying to do too much, and trying too hard to be something I’m not, I was losing sight of my values, of who I am at my core, and how I like to work.
That doesn’t help anyone
Not only was I driving myself mad, and holding myself back, I wasn’t providing for my clients either. I have clients and friends who have been waiting months for me to take the next step. I’d told them I’d be there to help them.
Not taking the steps I needed didn’t just hold me back. It was holding them back. I was letting them down. That’s not good enough.
Somewhere not long after my mini-meltdown where I’d all but written off what I had planned, my business coach checked in with me. Honesty is the best policy, so I shared where I was at that exact moment. Stressed, overwhelmed, miserable, full of fear and anxiety. Unable to move forward.
Break it down into the simplest form
Within a few short messages, everything I needed to do was stripped back to the bare minimum. No muss, no fuss. Just how I like it. I had simple, actionable steps to take. Things I can more or less do with my eyes closed.
Once something is broken down to the simplest steps, there isn’t much left to do other than take the next step. A step so small that it’s impossible not to do it.
Like I said earlier, I’d overwhelmed myself to the point where all I wanted to do was sit on the floor, give it all up and cry. That wasn’t an option… so I broke it down, and the only thing I had to do was press a button that said send… the world didn’t implode, nothing went wrong. In fact, everything went great, and that’s what’s so incredibly hilarious and frustrating about the whole thing.
Moment of truth: Is there something you’re holding yourself back from? Something you’ve built up in your mind as huge and so overwhelming that the only thing you’ve actually done is freeze from the scale of it all?
What’s one tiny step you can make to overcome that today? The smallest of all the steps. Go do it. Let me know how it goes.