It’s been an interesting summer. Back in early August, Kyle, Eva and I were on a campervan holiday driving to northern Italy and back. About 4 days before we came home, I had a real opportunity to put into practice some of the lessons I’ve learned from my own amazing coaches…
As a business owner, I still occasionally scan my emails while I’m away and I happened to see an email that threw me into a complete tailspin!
Before heading off on holiday, I’d carefully planned my diary so that I had just enough time on my return to finish preparing my 4 sessions for WellVet Weekend two weeks later.
It was going to be a tight squeeze, with a 4-day week after the Bank Holiday, Eva happened to be starting school so was only in for 2hrs a day plus we were meant to be going camping at the weekend.
I’m also doing 2 lectures at Vets Now’s conference later this year but they didn’t need their slides for ages yet so I planned to start these after WellVet.
Apart from the fact I’d somehow completely missed that Vets Now needed a full set of lecture notes for both lectures by the Friday of the week we got back……
The email said the deadline could not be extended due to print deadlines, blah, blah…
We happened to be cruising along the autobahn somewhere near the Black Forest in Germany when I read the email, and over the following 8 miles or so, my body and mind went on quite an intense journey!
Here’s what happened:
As soon as I read the email, my limbic/chimp brain went into overdrive and I had a big adrenaline rush. I felt sick, my heart was racing and I couldn’t think clearly.
Then my old patterned ways of thinking and my limiting beliefs kicked in with all sorts of not-very-great thoughts like:
- You’re really slow at creating content, normally it would take you a week each to write those sets of notes, there’s no way you can do it in 4 days on top of the WellVet lectures.
- I’ll have to work late into every evening and over the whole weekend
- I’ll just have to tell Vets Now I’m not doing notes and get paid less and be the only speaker who doesn’t have notes with their lectures
- What if you can’t finish your Wellvet lectures? Everyone will think you’re rubbish.
- I’m such an idiot for missing that deadline, I teach people about time management for God’s sake, how could I have made a mistake??
It was a diatribe of “I’m not good enough” very typical of the negative inner-critic voices most of us have, and it did NOT feel great, to say the least!
The old me a few years ago would then have gone into a downward mental spiral.
I would have become withdrawn and stopped engaging with Kyle and Eva as much, been miserable that evening and probably for the rest of the holiday, dreaded returning home and then stressed about it all and felt overwhelmed.
This is what actually happened instead:
I stayed present with the physical feelings in my body and recognised that I was experiencing a limbic brain hijack.
I wanted to get my higher thinking centres in the neocortex back online again, so I took several deep, calming, rhythmic breaths while just observing my thoughts and what my mind was saying to itself about me and the situation.
I stayed open and curious. I recognised that I’d gone into ‘underfunctioning’ mode. I’ve talked about this in previous newsletters, the fact that as people we tend to fall into one of two patterned ways when we feel anxiety.
In high stress situations overfunctioners are the ones who start telling everyone what to do. They give advice, take over, micromanage, and basically get up in your face. Their need for control impacts everyone around them.
Underfunctioners on the other hand tend to step back. They become less competent under stress, they are very happy to let others take over and they can often become the focus of worry or concern. Their anxiety becomes contagious.
Overfunctioners need to slow down, feel more and let others get involved.
Underfunctioners need to remember they are perfectly capable and step up.
The things that can STOP us stepping up or slowing down here though are:
1.) Our sense of self-worth
2.) The stories our negative inner critic is telling us
I had a choice to make at this point.
I could either choose to stay with the current stories I was telling myself, or I could start to reach for better feeling thoughts and beliefs.
The more I look into these topics, the more I truly believe our thoughts create our reality so I dug deep and started writing myself a new mental script.
My mental ramblings went something like this:
“WellVet Weekend is just a conference. What if I removed my sense of self-worth from the equation? I could choose to remember that I have inherent value as a person that has absolutely nothing to do with my successes or failures.
Even if I fluff one my lectures or don’t perform well, I am not any less of a person and I am still an amazing, talented human being.
What if I created a new affirmation for myself around content creation – that I am a content-generating ninja and can fire out brilliant content super-quickly and with ease. 😀
D’you know what, let’s just bloody well go all in – I’m also going to choose that not only can I do it quickly and easy, it will be fun as well and I’ll enjoy it! How different would that feel!
I’m really good at constantly chanting the affirmation, “I don’t have enough time…”. What if I chose to believe that there is always more than enough time to do what I need? Would that make me relax and actually crack on with stuff rather than freezing in overwhelm? Hmm, interesting – let’s try it and see!”
What I’m starting to realise more and more about overcoming our old, limiting ways of thinking is that it’s a daily practice of CHOOSING the new way of thinking.
Of course our habits pull us towards the usual way, but we DO have the option of wiring in different neural networks if we’re willing to put in the daily effort required.
Just as if you want to be able to run 10K, it’s no good doing the odd 5 minute run and reading a few books about running – you’ve actually got to get out there 3 or 4 times a week and keep pushing yourself to get the results.
It’s the same with the mindset stuff.
Over those two weeks, I had to work HARD on my mindset daily, harder than I would normally but it worked!
Because I was holding the mental space for those new possibilities, my brain then starting looking for ways to make them come true. I fired out both my Vets Now lecture notes and completed my WellVet prep.
I even managed to go camping at the weekend too!
So are there any areas coming up for you in the next 2 or 3 months where you’re currently feeling anxious and either overfunctioning or underfunctioning?
What are you telling yourself about this situation and is how helpful are the current stories?
Could you take 10 minutes with a notepad and write yourself a new script?
We get to choose. We get to create our reality. Be proactive – don’t just be a victim of your old patterned ways of thinking.
It IS possible to transcend the old you and take yourself to a new way of thinking. You just have to keep on choosing it. 💕