You’ve been planning a BIG project [not big in money or size or time -Big in how meaningful it is to you]. You put a tremendous amount of vulnerability into it. So much that often it feels like you are doing the wrong things or focusing on the wrong stuff or not good enough to realise it which brings you to waste the precious energy you could use to regenerate and regain confidence.
To initiate any big project, you must step outside of your comfort zone.
Writing these words make me feel really uncomfortable, this is my ego (the one who likes comfy with no change) trying to convince me that it is a bad idea, even though I completed the first big step of my project 4 years ago.
All these negative thoughts are here, generated by your subconscious, to remind you that it is easy to give up or not start as this way you won’t fail.
We’ll touch on the topic of ‘are you failing when you start’ in a separate post as many of my clients benefit from the viewpoint this topic initiates.
However, for this article, I wish to emphasise that the little voice, convincing you to stay where you are, is the part you must tame first. My ‘negative thoughts generator’ seats on my (left) shoulder always reminding me of all the possible reasons realistic or not behind the fact that I should not do this and that.
Stay tuned; I'll tell you more in an article pretty soon.
Assuming that you have tamed your negative thoughts. You are now brave enough to make your first step towards accomplishing your project. Once again, we are not talking about anything significant (remember we always start small), making a list of thoughts or items is often the first step you take, and I love it.
You are doing well until the first challenge comes up and you start talking about it to your ‘friends’….
That’s when you start hearing the comments you never thought you would listen to from your ‘friends’: “I told you it was not a good idea”, “Always thought it was too difficult…”, “That’s what I thought but didn’t want to tell you.”
You get the idea; all these comments are 100% theirs own negative thoughts. By mentioning your first hurdle, you give them the excuse they have been waiting for. They finally have a good reason to justify why they haven’t done it themselves. However, give them the benefit of the doubt, they don't mean to disappoint you or make you feel demotivated, it's likely they are not even noticing.
picture by Jari Hytönen
Don’t give me wrong, I also have terrific friends!!
However, since coaching, I’m a lot more aware of the good ones and the less good ones. Before I thoughts they were right, I should not have started… It was too much for me… Now I’m cautious of who I am around when times are challenging, it takes a lot of energy for me to recover from people who don’t listen to support. And I try my best to be one of the good ones for my friends when I sense the need for a good push upward rather than downward. As always, it is a lot easier to avoid bad ones than be a good one.
The best practice is to start noticing the conversations you have; you will soon recognise the easy-going discussions and the other ones. Remember, it is not about you not being strong or smart enough; they are merely looking for good reasons justifying the fact that they are better to stay in their safe (but narrow) zone.
Comfy is a swear word in coaching. My clients come to me to retrieve the confidence, clarity and hope that became dull by dint of taking in these conversations.
Trust your gut feeling or instinct; the safe zone is the one to be in. The only limits are the ones we set ourselves. Don’t use people’s limitations to justify slowing your progress. IT IS tough but never a reason to give up.
For my part, I have actually flipped the dilemma on its head by taming my left shoulder (negative thoughts about myself) so that listening to it winging serves me as a compass to know when to challenge myself more.
I look forward to hearing your thoughts or receiving your questions as this is a topic my clients love to work on and fully understand to apply daily.