We’re just over half way through 2020 and it’s been a long six months, right?
I’ve been reflecting on the lessons I’ve learned this year. And I’ll share these lessons in a few days but I can tell you now that my heuristic – slow down to speed up – isn’t just a great rule of thumb for life, in normal times. It’s actually a rule to double down on, in uncertain times.
At the beginning of this pandemic, any mistakes I made were because I was rushing or pushing. When I’m rushing it’s usually because I feel anxious. When I’m pushing it’s usually because I am trying to control things – which is usually because I feel anxious.
The root of the word anxiety comes from an ancient Greek word that means “painfully constricted, or strangled.” And that’s precisely what happens when you feel anxious – whether it’s about the future, or money, or your relationship, or your job, your boss, your kids.
When you’re afraid, your brain becomes flooded with chemicals, stress hormones fill your bloodstream and your system is overwhelmed by a tide of emotion.
The short term impact of anxiety can be paralyzing. You’re stalled from taking action. Or the decisions you make are really poor ones.
But its long-term impact can be worse because chronic anxiety can result in a compulsion to indulge to excess, to soothe your system – carbohydrates, alcohol, drugs, lack of exercise, binge watching Netflix, or binge shopping at Amazon. (If any of these sound familiar, don’t feel ashamed. I can tell you that I’ve indulged in many over the past few months. You’re not alone). Unfortunately, most of these habits are addictive and lead to a reinforcing loop, where poor choices make it even harder to make good decisions in the future.
When you feel anxious, you can’t think straight. When you feel anxious, things look impossible. When you feel anxious, you forget what’s really important. When you feel anxious, you miss opportunities that are right in front of your face.
So, when you feel anxious you have a singular mission… To shift the feelings that are literally strangling your vision, your options and your possibilities.
The simplest way to slow down – especially when you feel afraid – is to take 30 seconds to take 3 very long, very slow, deep breaths:
- Breathe in slowly, through your nose.
- Fill your belly with air, fill your chest right up to the backs of your shoulders.
- Hold that breath for a few seconds.
- And then breathe out slowly, through your mouth, making a humming sound, as loud as you dare.
- Repeat, two more times.
- When you’re finished, pay attention to the sensations in your body.
If you have a decision to make, if you’re anxious about the future, if you’re about to meet someone important, if you’re about to coach a new client for the first time, if you’re about to lead an online presentation, if you’re about to ask someone to marry you, divorce you, or go on a date with you… Pause. Take 3 long, slow, deep breaths.
That’s it. Now you can begin.
And now I want to ask you for a favor
Will you reply to me, telling me one thing that learning from me has helped you do?
It could be signing a $50,000 client. Or signing your very first client. Or starting your coaching business and taking care of your family during the lockdown. Whatever it is, I’d love to hear your story.
This is what makes writing to you worth it.
Please be specific – include actual numbers. Share your story. There’s nothing I love more than discovering what other people have done to change their lives.
Thanks in advance – and stay safe.
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