A couple of weeks ago in “Do More Things, Cross More Lines”, I shared with you 3 simple steps to taking action on that thing you know will improve the quality of your life. To recap, here they are:
Visualize Feel the feeling and do it anyway Be okay with just being okay
Last week, I delved a bit deeper into the first step by having you practice a visualization technique, just to get your feet a bit wet. The goal was to show you how to begin to create your own reality, no matter what is going on around you. This week, let’s talk a bit about the second step, “Feel the feeling and do it anyway”. Physically move your body in the direction of the new thing. For this step, we need to understand a bit more about that little section in your brain called the amygdala. The amygdala is a powerful processor of memories and emotions, and is a huge driving force behind creating motivation. It takes various inputs from your sights, smells, tastes, sounds, and memories, and integrates this information into a clear message based on your previous experiences, then generates an emotional response. This emotional response is often fear, guilt or anxiety, designed to prevent you from moving forward in order to keep you “safe” from real or imagined danger. If you are to have the new and novel experiences you desire, you have to push past this initial feeling. The more often you are able to push back on this initial resistance, the more you are exercising your “change muscle”. So get in the ring. Take that job. Start that project. Join the team. Make that phone call. Your emotions will object—expect them to—but move forward. What you are doing is giving your amygdala new inputs. With repetition, these new inputs override that fear and anxiety, as the activity becomes more and more familiar. Of course you don’t “feel like it” yet. You don’t yet know how it feels! But soon you will, and it will be amazing. You’ll look back, laugh, and wonder what you were so afraid of.
I’d like to end this week’s post with one of my favorite clips. I found this 3 minute clip last summer at a very pivotal point in my life. It’s actor Idris Elba sharing his perspective on overcoming fear. I think you’ll love it.
See you next week for step 3!