You don't have to live stressed out and exhausted.
Recently I was talking to a client about going after a big dream. She started out the session saying with great authority I have decided to become a (enter fabulous career here). We proceeded to talk about what that mean and the fact that the career she chose fit her well and gave her a lot of freedom to do the many things she was interested in doing. We began laying out how exactly she could achieve this particular career (she would need to return to school) and how she was going to support herself during the process.
From my perspective the session was going well, she had had an ‘ah-ha’ moment she had a plan that encompassed everything she loved we were moving forward and getting clear.
Then she sighed and said, “Well, I don’t know I just need to figure out a plan”.
Then, I was reminded as I often am that I was looking at it ‘on paper’. On paper we had a plan, on paper we had hit all the right spots she was going to be doing something she loved that would allow her time to do other things, she was going to earn money while going back to school, check, check, check. But she wasn’t looking at it on paper she was looking at it through the fear mongers eyes. Somewhere we had switched from her grounded voice of “I am going to do this” to her fear mongers voice that was saying “no way” “who do you think you are” ‘this can’t happen” and on and on and on.
So I said back to her “well, I thought we had decided on a plan…what do you think about that plan now?”
And she said very eloquently, “You know, at night when you are sitting around after dinner and everything seems possible. You tell yourself tomorrow I will do ‘that’, and accomplish ‘this’ and I can do anything in the world. And then you wake up and you realize ‘that and this’ are going to take more than you originally thought. So you don’t do anything toward the plan and then night time rolls around and the world is full of possibility. So I keep thinking if I have a good enough plan I won’t have this cycle.” She leaned back on the couch with an exhausted sigh.
AH, I smiled knowing. I could SO relate. I frequently do that with my own business. Coming up with programs and workbooks as I sit with my nearest and dearest watching TV and then come morning just going about my routine not DOING anything towards my goals. So what happens between the evening and the morning? I believe our fear mongers show up. In the morning when it comes time to take action, our fear mongers get especially scared. It is almost like they mockingly allow us to dream giving us that freedom in the evening–knowing that in reality they won’t let us move anywhere.
So what can you do about it? Well, first off, as I said to my client it isn’t easy. Secondly, it has nothing to do with the perfect plan.
According to your fear monger you will never have the perfect plan so the quest for the perfect plan is a great way to keep you stuck and not moving.
I have found what really works:
- Build a plan–not a perfect plan but some actions steps. Bite-size, easily accomplished forward moving action steps.
- Take Action. Start living the plan, one bite size piece at a time.
- Acknowledge the fear monger. Anytime your fear monger speaks up, simply acknowledge it and keep moving. Remember it is tricky. It knows your voice, knows exactly what to say to keep you stuck. Give him or her some love, remember they are only trying to protect you. I will just say “love” out loud. Reminding myself to love myself and my fear monger (my fear monger can be pretty nasty)
- Keep moving. Just keep repeating those 3 steps over and over and over. Eventually it will get easier but whenever I am starting a new project or busting out of a rut this repetition gets really annoying. And then one day I wake up and I don’t have to repeat it as often. I can just move along and accomplish stuff.