About 3 weeks ago I read Seth Godin‘s new book, Linchpin. Yes, I know, I’m still talking about Seth, but hang on, you’ll find out why in a moment.
Since then, I have had more creative energy, completed more tasks and begun more projects than the previous 3 – 6 months. The difference is astounding and I feel like I’ve had a blow to the head!
We all have defining moments and reading Linchpin was one of those for me. My friend Mary raved about it until I had to read the book just to shut her up. I truly had no idea it would alter my life so profoundly.
So, what happened?
The illusions I’d created to keep myself safe fell away one by one as I read the book, and I got clear what it was costing me to not keep my word to myself. As a coach I am brilliant at supporting others to pursue their passions and take action, but left to my own devices my lizard brain can get pretty damn active.
This of course leads to suppressing myself and playing it safe, behaviour that seems pretty uncoach-like.
It’s just very, very human.
My lizard brain will do anything to keep me from being creative, taking a risk and moving out of my comfort zone. Ironically, these are all actions that leave me feeling enlivened and satisfied.
When I decided to launch this blog, my lizard brain went on high alert; I had apparently entered the danger zone and the chatter in my head got loud – really $%^& loud.
I was having panic attacks, unable to sleep and feeling worried about these weird conversations I was having with myself.
Conversations that went something like this:
Me: I want to launch my blog.
Lizard brain (LB): No way, nope, not going to happen; you’re not ready yet.
Me: You’ve seen how much work I’ve done this week and I’ve been feeling ready; I think this is it!
LB: You’re not looking at all the possibilities; there’s a lot that could still go wrong. You only have this one chance to get people’s attention. Do you really want to blow it?
Me: What if it was about connecting with people instead of getting it perfect? Would it be ok then?
LB: Hmm, good point, but I still think you should wait.
Me: LB, I really want to do this. I’ve waited a long time, I’ve listened to your “coaching” and you’ve done a great job at keeping me safe. I appreciate that AND I’m going ahead with this. I’ve decided tomorrow’s the day.
It’d be great if you could relax a little and be happy for me. I really think you’ll be surprised at how good it feels to connect with people. Won’t you give it a try, for me?
LB: You’ve already launched one project this week; can’t this wait awhile longer? I’m worried about you.
Me: I know and I appreciate it; I don’t want you to stop worrying about me. I think it’s great that you do. You’ve given me so much time to prepare and that’s priceless. You’ve done such a good job of it that I really am ready now, so you can pat yourself on the back and be proud – of both of us.
LB: Well, when you put it that way, I guess tomorrow’s a good day. But I’ll be watching and I want you to know I’ve got your back.
Have I made friends with my lizard?
I’ve begun to think of it as a cute tree frog whispering in my ear rather than a man-eating Caiman crocodile.
LB is still there, doing its thing and I’m becoming OK with that.
The difference now is that I don’t hear just the criticism and fear.
I don’t feel just the frustration and disappointment.
There’s something new, something unfamiliar showing up; a knowing that I can appreciate my lizard brain for keeping me safe and doing its utmost to protect me.
Knowing that it’s got my back, I can finally do the work my heart’s been longing for.