At the beginning of this year, I made a list of books I plan to read in 2019. Take Control of Your Life by Mel Robbins was one of them. It’s still early in the year, but I’m glad I’ve finished it already. There were a lot of helpful tips for managing fear, changing your mindset and paying attention to what’s really going on in our bodies.
When we respond to fear, it’s our bodies that get triggered first. Your stomach may tighten, your face may get hot, some people break out in hives etc. The response is different for everyone, but it’s that discomfort that makes us not want to face our fears and return to normal as soon as possible. This is great in a situation where your safety is at risk and your gut is telling you to get away, but it’s not so helpful when you need to make changes in your life. Even positive change is scary because it takes us out of our comfort zone. There were several coaching sessions in the book, but I will focus on the first coaching session because it resonated with me as it’s where I am in life right now. I will summarize the five takeaways from the session and explain how they work.
Figuring out your Pattern
The workbook opens up with some questions. What is your biggest fear and what is your response to it? One of my biggest fears is being stuck in the same place in life and never figuring out my purpose. I can’t imagine being stuck at my dead end job for another five or ten years. I don’t even want to imagine it for another six months. I have no passion left for it. It sucks the energy right out of me. Part of my fear is that I’ll never find something that I love doing. I’d settle for tolerable at this point. This is why the first coaching session in the book, Take Control of Your Life, really resonated with me. The coaching session was with Dan, a man whose biggest fear is never figuring out what he wants to do in life. He’s currently a teacher, but wants to retire from that and wonders what else is out there for him, but what stops him from exploring other options is his pattern of thinking and rethinking. I am also an over thinker.
When I was exploring the possibility of becoming a transcriptionist, I was thinking of everything and it became overwhelming. I had so many questions floating around and instead of working on one thing at a time, I’d either jump all over the place or never get anything done. I’d worry about which software I was going to use. How I’d track the money I was making, how much money I’d make, what I’d need for my business, how to do an invoice, what would I do for a style guide? I needed to write a business plan and didn’t know which part to work on first. Basically, I had jumped way ahead of myself. Most of this was before even trying to work for a transcription company and in the end, I figured out that I didn’t want to make it my life’s work. I hated the different style guides, the low pay, the inaccessibility of so many things and how it would take me a long time to get back up to a good speed. I’d need to be transcribing constantly to get fast again and the fact was I didn’t have the time or energy to devote to it. It’s been a similar process with my interest in coaching and the possibility of running a childcare business from my home. I’m still interested in these things, but I often try to think about the big picture and analyze every detail. For example, I was listening to a podcast about how to set up a life coaching website, but I haven’t even taken the certification course yet.
In the book, Mel Robbins talks about wanting to own a small town coffee shop for years. Eventually, she got a job working in a small coffee shop on weekends, but she quickly learned that she hated working there. What she loved about the coffee shop was the sense of community and her ability to afford a daily coffee if she wanted. She also enjoyed taking the time to sit down with a cup of coffee and chat with those around her. What I loved about transcription was the flexible schedule, the ability to work from home and the idea that I’d be making content accessible to people. I was more excited about my work environment and the prospect of helping people than actually transcribing documents. These are all things I can find in other jobs that would be a better fit. Sometimes, we end up hating the thing that we think is our passion, but every time we explore a new possibility, we learn something new about ourselves.
If we keep ourselves too busy, we don’t have to think about what scares us. If I’m busy, I don’t have to apply for jobs. I don’t have to think about what I want to do next. I don’t have to financially plan for how I’m going to get there. If I’m busy, I keep things the same. They are comfortable because they are familiar, but they are uncomfortable at the same time because I feel the tension in my body. If we slow down, we can figure out what we really want to do. You can slow down by taking a walk in nature, meditating, spending time with those who support you, write in your journal, take a hot bath etc. Whatever reenergizes you.
State It To Create It
In the coaching session, Dan says, “don’t laugh” before he states his dream out loud. His passion is wine and he’s interested in taking a class or opening a wine bar. I didn’t think it was laughable. It’s his dream. Mel discussed how we under state our dreams or never state them out loud at all for the fear of being judged. What if we never achieve our dreams, what then? We’ve already stated what we want and now others might hold us accountable. We also fear that people may think our dreams are stupid or crazy.
What if you don’t know what your dream is? Follow what you enjoy. What are you interested in? What have you always wanted to do? Well, I’m in that boat. I don’t know exactly what my dream is. I’m interested in coaching, so my first step would be to figure out one thing I can do to explore it. Maybe it’s taking a class. Maybe it’s talking to a coach. Maybe it’s watching youtube videos. Once you start, it leads to something else.
Brick By Brick
Don’t think too big. Break your goals down into achievable steps that you can work on each day. When you have a box of legos, you construct your building brick by brick. That is how to pursue your dreams. If your dream is starting a blog, sit down with a blank document and write. Then when you have a few entries written, then worry about the next steps of setting up the website, promoting on social media etc. My interest is coaching, so I signed up for a couple of free webinars. It’s not a huge step, but it’s exploration and it’s one action I can take so I’m not just spinning my wheels.
Passion is not a Person, Place or Thing.
I needed to hear this. It’s not the job, a big house or the new relationship that brings passion into your life. It’s what you have within. You grow in to your passion by following your Curiosity. If you are wondering about your passion, try answering these questions. What are you curious about? What would you do for free? Whose life are you envious of and why? Follow the energy inside of you. That’s where passion lives.
To summarize, there were five takeaways from the first coaching session in Take Control of Your Life.
- 1. What is your biggest fear and what is your response? The first piece is to figure out your patterns.
- 2. Some of us use being busy to cover up our fears. Slow down. Take the time to listen to your inner voice in order to figure out your next steps.
- 3. State your dreams out loud in order to create them.
- 4. Achieve your goals brick by brick. Instead of thinking big, think small. Break actions down into small achievable tasks. If the task seems to overwhelming, break it down further.
- 5. Remember that passion is inside of you. Follow the things you are curious about. Follow the things that energize you and that will lead you in the right direction.
If you have the opportunity, I encourage you to listen to Take Control of Your Life and download the companion workbook. The questions are thought provoking, the tips are super useful and Mel and her coaching clients explain and demonstrate these concepts in a way that I can’t. Each person has a way of sharing their own personal stories. It’s conversational and relatable, so definitely check it out if you are interested in working on your mindset and breaking through fears. Have you read the book yet? What did you think? Tell me in the comments.