If you care about impacting the people around you, then you are offered the opportunity to put yourself on the line, day after day.
My clients often come to me because they're so smart that they're paralyzed by choices. Sometimes we cutely call this "paralysis by analysis," but that belittles the real fear behind the paralysis.
Highly intellegent people who have others depending on them often experience the What If Flow Chart of Insanity... that is, if I can outthink and outsmart the future by predicting every possible outcome of every possible reaction...I will be in control. And if I am in control, I will never experience:
What do we do to alleviate the pain of possibly making wrong decisions, saying the wrong thing, screwing over those around us or making a mistake?
We often collect information. That might be other people's opinions (hello, have you ever over-talked a decision to death?), searching on google, taking a class, reading a book...
We look outward. And more and more in this digital society, we're trained to look outward. We're trained that if we click on enough things, read enough "5 Tips to..." articles, or ask enough people, then crystal-clear answers will somehow arise out of the dust of our confusion.
There is only one place where you can get free of this pain and anxiety.
Click the image above to bring this message of painlessness to your pals on FB/Twitter/Pinterest
I'm really growing incredibly WEARY of the shouty-shouty "YOU MUST" and "FOLLOW ME" and "I DID IT" and "SO CAN YOU" and "GET EMPOWERED" and "SHOUTY SHOUTY" "SHOUT" "SHOOOOUUUUTTTY".
It has created so much noise - noise on the internet, noise in our lives, noise in our smartphones. It's created pheonomena like "Shiny object syndrome" and "Comparison-itis" - both driven by the culture of looking outside ourselves to find answers.
But the truth is so simply most people are bored by it.
(Click to tweet that peaceful message out to your people!)
That is all there is. The place where you are anxiety free, fearless, and unconcerned about rejection, criticism, or making bad decisions is in stillness.
How do I get to my stillness?
1) Cultivate it. In 2 minute bursts, cultivate stillness. When you put your hand on the keys in the car, become still. When you are blending up your smoothie, become still. When you are about to pack it up and leave work, become still.
2) Stop relying on your brain to create a new habit. Instead, choose stillness triggers that will eventually become irresistible. Making coffee==>Stillness. Slippers==>Stillness. Picking kiddo up from bus==>Stillness.
3) Then prompt yourself. Put a little reminder in those places until the habit becomes second nature. We think that we can just decide to do a new thing, and it will be so. And if that were true, Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig would be out of business. Do this step. It matters.
4) Don't worry about the breath or any of that. If you have had lifelong anxiety with me, sometimes breathing actually provokes more anxiety. Instead, listen as far as you can. What I mean by that is: Listen to the sounds in your immediate environment - the dishwasher, the baby breathing, the bubble of the coffee pot. Then, listen one layer outward - the cars on the street, the garbage truck, the birds in the tree. Then, expand again - the children playing in the school yard down the street, the dog barking. Keep expanding your listening until you can hear stardust.
5) Once you've occupied your monkey brain doing all that expansive listening, you're in stillness. Just drink it in, ask nothing from it, and when you're no longer thirsty, move on.
The more you access your stillness, the more it will be available to you in times of need. When the pain comes in - of overthinking a decision, becoming paralyzed, or doing the "safe" thing even though the risky thing would benefit your people more - shut off the phone. Don't seek opinions. Instead, find the place where there is no pain - and from stillness, move forward.
Take a deeper dive and discover if pain is your bitch... or your boss.