So there I was sitting at the island in my kitchen, papers strewn across the counter, a million things left un-checked in my day planner…anxiety bubbling up in my chest and tears in my eyes.
*Just breathe*, I told myself. *Take a breath, you can fucking do this*
Oh the exhale Landon turns to me and says “Uhm…what’s wrong??”
I guess I exhaled a little more forcefully than I had meant to. And now my face is red in defense. When I feel defensive…when my armor is threatened…when he sees through me and all my stupid anxieties…my face turns red. It’s not even fair…how can I hide when THAT happens! Damnit. He’s on to me…
“Nothing!” I snapped back. My armor fully in tact, crisis averted.
The truth is that I didn’t really know what was wrong. I just felt…overwhelmed anxious and TIRED. Really, really tired.
There was a story going around and around in my head…*it’s too much, I can’t do it all, how am I supposed to get all this done, what’s wrong with me…*
But I wasn’t about to let HIM see that panic…I didn’t want him to get pulled down into this hole with me! ONE of us needs to keep our shit together…
But what I didn’t realize was that by snapping back, this pushed him into his own hole.
You see…we all have bad days.
Days where we don’t feel like we’re enough.
Days where we just want to quit.
Days where it doesn’t feel like we’re going anywhere or accomplishing anyyyything.
No matter how hard we try.
How much we work.
How little we sleep.
But what I realized this week, is that this thought is not mine. It’s my dinosaur brain…protecting me from growth. Protecting me from venturing too far outside of my comfort zone. HOW DARE I become any more successful than what I’m used to.
Stupid fucking dinosaur brain.
So it was that day that I chose to take my power BACK.
Don’t Let A Hard Day Turn Into More
Negative thoughts, overwhelm, emotional and mental fatigue…it’s all rooted in one main truth. We are choosing to believe them…we are choosing to allow them to control our actions and our outcomes. We are choosing to stay comfortable, normal, status quo.
The first thing we need to do…is to get comfortable with the uncomfortable. To give yourself space and permission to feel something that you perceive as being “bad” or “wrong”. The thing about negative thoughts, is that they only become negative when we decide they are negative. And then only impact our actions when we give them power by believing them.
What if instead of buying into the belief that you are overwhelmed, that you can’t do something and that you aren’t enough…you paused. You recognized the thought. You acknowledged it even. And then you let it fall on the ground in front of you and stepped right over it.
What if you thought instead…”stupid dinosaur brain, trying to keep me from growing. That’s not my thought…how did that thought get into my head anyways? No more.”
And then what if you replaced it with a new thought. One that does serve you? One that grounds you and pushes you into the discomfort of growth?
One that gives you permission to meet yourself where you’re at?
One that empowers you to start believing a NEW story? One where you are enough? That you deserve success? And that you can do anything you decide you want to do?
I’d say that’d be pretty powerful, wouldn’t you?
But all too often we become a prisoner in our mind and a byproduct of our thoughts. We allow them to control us rather than us controlling them. We don’t think we have a choice…we take our thoughts as truths without question time and time and time again.
The way the brain works is miraculous. And, by the way, it’s been working the same way for about a billion years (or something like that…don’t check that stat…it’s been a long fucking time). Our brain is so simple. It thinks good-bad, right-wrong, happy-sad. It doesn’t think with the compelxity of…hmm you know I’m feeling a little overwhelmed, maybe this is a sign that I need to plan my days better so that I can accomplish everything without feeling stressed.
Would be nice if it did? But instead it thinks…overwhelm! AH! ABORT! BAD BAD BAD! CRY, PANICK, REDFACE, PARALYSIS!!! Stop all missions this is NOT WHAT WE SIGNED UP FOR!!!
So what are we to do?
- Start to tune into how your body feels…what are you signs that your brain is controlling the story? How do you feel? We respond physically to all emotional and mental struggles. What’s that physical reaction for YOU??
- Give yourself 90 seconds to feel it, recognize it, and own it.
- Release it, this is not your thought. This is not who you are. Replace it with a new empowering thought.
- Move on.
Pull Yourself Out of a Funk
Despite our best efforts, we all fall into a funk from time to time. Remember, this is a whole new way to think about your thoughts, empower yourself in your beliefs, and rewrite your story and your identity. This does not change with one empowering moment.
In fact, if you were to talk to business owners from start-up to multi-million dollar success stories…you’ll find one commonality between them all.
These thoughts NEVER STOP.
No matter how successful you get. No matter how many times you rewrite the story. No matter how self-aware you become. It’s legitimately IN OUR DNA to doubt ourselves. To worry about “what if’s”, to believe the opinions we have been told by others, to have hard days, to struggle with constant positivity and maintaining an empowered state.
The real truth is that no one is immune to bad days. No one can be fully empowered all of the time. Even Tony Robbins has fleeting moments of self-doubt. This is the game you’re playing with yourself. It’s never going to stop. And the fastest way to feeling small is to EXPECT yourself to overcome this.
To overcome this is to be inhuman. And as far as I’m aware, we don’t yet have any immortals walking among us *fingers crossed*…so holding yourself to this standard is much the same as holding yourself to the standard of perfectionism. It’s not possible…and so the bar you’re measuring yourself up against is the lowest rung on the ladder. Expect more of yourself. Expect to be able to empower yourself in moments of doubt. To pull yourself out of a difficult day. And to change the story you tell yourself time and time again.
This being said, sometimes when we consistently feel like we’re in a funk, this could be a sign of being imbalanced in other areas of our lives. So if you DO find yourself battling these thoughts more often than you would like…here is the roadmap out:
- Create quiet space for yourself with no commitments or expectations lingering in the background. A solid 2-3 hours of just YOU time.
- Reflect on these 5 main areas of your life. Chances are one or more of them are not aligned with your values, or there is something off in one of them that’s bringing you back to a place of turmoil and doubt.
- Friendships, family and relationships
- Work and study
- Personal growth
- Heart and spirit
- What do you factually know to be true? What do you have true power over to change right now? What goals do you need to set in each of those 5 domains to bring yourself back into balance?
Choose Your Identity, Choose Your Success
How we perceive different circumstances is completely and entirely rooted in our past experiences, the beliefs we hold about ourselves and what we are capable of achieving, and the identity we have formed for ourselves around all of this.
Have you ever self-identified as someone who wouldn’t be able to achieve something because you felt like it was impolite, bragging, or not humble to declare who it is you REALLY are??
An example of this might look like:
Friend: “Wow, Suzie! You’re going to be so awesome at that, I can’t wait to see how far you get!”
You: “Oh, stop. I’m just an awkward nerdy girl” (or insert any describing word here for yourself)
Yup, we have all downplayed our abilities to others instead of OWNING who we really are and why we are totally awesome rockstars at what we do.
This, in essence, is playing the victim. Its playing small. It’s staying comfortable, protected and CERTAIN.
One of the main things we as humans crave is CERTAINTY.
If we don’t say it out loud, we are CERTAIN that we aren’t opening ourselves up to ridicule, embarassment, or failure. If we lower the bar for ourselves, we will always appear “perfect”.
FUCK. THAT. BAR.
Start owning your success! Start declaring what you WILL achieve! Start stepping into the identity of the version of you who isn’t afraid to put it all on the line, who doesn’t live thorugh comfort zones, who is ready to level up their life.
Expect to fail. Expect to fall. Expect to take a beating. This is the game you are signing up for. You are NOT going to get it all right the first time…which is beautiful because how boring would life be if everything was predictable and certain??
You are not here because you want a predictable life. You are here because you want a bold life. An adventurous life. A big beautiful messy life. So start owning that part of you, let her be seen. Let her show up to the party and dance on a table.
You owe it to her.
Bulletproof Your Mind
To wrap up, I have 8 main action steps you can do right NOW that will completely change the mental game for you.
- Morning And Evening Rituals – grounding yourself in the morning through meditation or prayer, visualization of your future success and acknowledging the things in your life that you appreciate and feel grateful for. And then, likewise, wrapping up your days with your wins, what you’re proud of yourself for, and what made today really great.
- Check In With Yourself As Much As You Check Instagram – take the time, a few times a day, to assess how you’re doing mentally, emotionally, spiritually and physically. Are you experiencing any negative thoughts, physical warning signs or emotional reactions to your current circumstances? Take the necessary steps (see above) to counter those stat!
- Create Space For You, Weekly – find the time every week to be alone with your thoughts and reflect on your life, your work, how you’re feeling, your fulfillment, the direction things are going, your progress, etc. Start a journal where you keep these thoughts. Creating space outside of your normal routine gives your brain the ability to access creativity and emotion you aren’t able to access when you’re always “in it”
- Take Care Of Your Body, Mind and Spirit- this is a no brainer, but eat right, move your body, get enough sleep, and practice meditation/prayer daily.
- Create A Vision Board – but don’t just build it and tuck it away. Keep it front and centre! Somewhere where you can look at it and use it to fuel your mindset every day!
- Set Goals, And Celebrate Them – success without fulfillment is the ultimate form of failure. Setting goals and not feeling the way you thought you would when you reach them is what leaves us in constant search of more. Set your goals, and expect them to be milestones to the constant and continuous progress you are making. You will always be growing and evolving. Stop expecting to be “done” and instead expect to celebrate the milestones along the path to success.
- WarPlanning – mastering your schedule starts with setting weekly intentions and time-blocking your non-negotiables. Do not allow your to-do list each day to become a grocery list for failure. Set yourself up for weekly success and meet yourself where you’re at.
- Find Inspiration – this can be accomplished in many ways. Inspiration can be found in the ordinary moments of the day. It can be found in role models and people who are living the life you want to live. It can be found in podcasts and books and articles, and it can also be found in the solitude of morning meditation and visualization. Find what inspires YOU and go there daily.