I know that there are about 10,000 thought leaders encouraging you to stop feeling. I’m just not one of them.
Why is is that when we get a pit in our stomach, which is a literal manifestation of our intuition screaming at us, “NO!”, we see that as some sort of weakness? We heed the advice to just plow right over it, because “everything good is on the other side of our comfort zone”. This saddens me so much, because to me, the concept of “comfort zone” is better explained in the positive sense, as Gay Hendricks puts it in his book, The Big Leap (there’s an affiliate link to this book below, if you’d like to check it out- it’s a good read). He defines this area as our “Zone of Genius”- the place where we feel naturally gifted to take action that makes us feel competent. Now, to be clear, I’m not advocating plunking oneself down in said zone, never to grow or change- rather, to view your unique gifts and talents as assets- strengths, not weaknesses or barriers to break through. I love learning as much as the next guy, and perhaps more- I have always had a thirst for new knowledge, and specifically for bettering myself- aka personal development.
What I know about the brain reinforces this positive take on the things we do and don’t love to do. Everything stated to the brain is matched up by the reticular activating system, which is a fancy schmancy filter, designed to show us only the stimuli in the outside world that is important to us, lest we go mad with overwhelm. So, when we shame ourselves by dishonoring our intuition and mowing down our natural feelings of dis-ease and nervousness, our powerful brain goes to work finding other ways we can feel shameful and dishonored. To me, this is no way to live. I’m sure you agree!
So, given this fact about the brain, how do we react when faced with a challenge that gives us that nauseous, flat-out wrong feeling? We can choose! We can decide whether or not the thing is something we actually MUST do, or if perhaps that’s just a story we’ve chosen to buy into. I love The Work of Byron Katie- she has a series of questions she takes people through to rediscover that they have the power to buy into a story, or to let it fall away if it’s not serving them (hint: it rarely is). The first question is this: “Is it true?” The second, similarly: “Can you absolutely know that it’s true?” (hint: it’s usually not true).
Let’s take an example. Let’s say I hate talking on the phone. It makes me break out in a cold sweat, trembling with fear and frozen with anxiety. The axiom I’ve been given is this: “Calling people on the phone is the only way to build your business.”
Question one: Is it true? Have I ever heard of someone building their business without exclusively using the telephone to reach out to people? I have, and so, of course, it is not true.
AN IMPORTANT DISTINCTION: When a story is not true for you, that does not automatically make it untrue for anyone else, as well as the inverse. This work is personal development, not fix-everyone-around-you development. Focusing on ourselves often allows others to show up differently in our lives simply by virtue of our leadership.
If you’ve uncovered a story that’s untrue for you, (sing with me now),
For real. For good. Your own good, in fact. Tell yourself a new story, one that makes you feel good. For example: Even though I don’t use the telephone, my business is growing when I connect with people in other ways.
Or: I choose to focus on connecting with my clients/customers in all the ways that feel amazing to me!
Doesn’t that feel so much better? And from that feel-good place, the action you take will yield better results, because of your intention when you took that action. It’s a beautiful cycle- give it a try and let me know your experiences! I’d love to hear about it!