It’s a time of relaxation and usually a time of challenge – a self-imposed challenge. The challenge could be to clean out my closets, visit specific touristy sites, go to festivals, or start an exercise program. The list is endless.
This year, my challenge is much deeper than years past. I’m not sharing it here (more on that below #12) but it’s the most important summer challenge I’ve ever done.
What about you? Do you have a hill/mountain to climb? Something to clear up/remove? A skill, that if learned, would improve your life?
Maybe we could each do a challenge together. Strength in numbers, as the saying goes.
Do or do not. There is no try.
You must unlearn what you have learned.
Named must be your fear before banish it you can.
Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.
That is why you fail.
The greatest teacher, failure is.
Pass on what you have learned.
~Quotes by Yoda
Action Ideas (Ideas to get ya thinkin’. Not medical advice.)
Change is uncomfortable as we are entering an area of unpredictability. Predictable = greater safety in our survivalist brain.
1. Understand your ‘why’.
What is the big picture project? Why is it important to you to tackle it? And why is that important to you? Then, for the next 5 responses, ask yourself ‘why’ to drill a bit deeper. This will be important later.
2. Create a list of several ways you might be able to reach your final why. Perhaps there’s a better and quicker way to get there. Or, perhaps once you thought about your deepest why, you realized it wasn’t the best use of your time. Knowing your deeper why and several ways to get there will be helpful when, not if, you struggle/fail.
3. List what can go wrong, or what the costs are. The costs aren’t just what could go wrong but also being aware of what other opportunities you are saying no to or rejecting in order to dedicate time and resources to your challenge.
4. List all the possible positives if you reach your goal or partially reach it. Historically, we needed to be more aware of what could kill us than what would make us stronger. Therefore, danger is at the forefront of our thoughts. Fixating on danger kept us alive. Now, often it keeps us stuck. After the adrenaline rush of deciding to change wears off, we have to intentionally think about the upside, or our survival instinct will kick in to keep us safe. Thank your survival brain - it’s doing its job, but keep it in check. It doesn't run you.
5. Create a plan and break it down into milestones, then break it down some more, and then some more. Feeling a sense of control and keeping the change small reduces the warning bells from going off and allows us to create a bigger change over time than trying to make a single large change.
6. Once the plan is created, simplify it further (yes, I know this is the same as #5 but we really need to make the steps smaller). Reduce the daily commitment to a no-brainer level, at least for the first week. You can do more on any day but you can’t do less than the laughably small daily commitment. Having laughably small daily commitments make it easier to build momentum.
7. Accept that life IS uncomfortable. Staying safe and playing small doesn’t ensure comfort. If you never address discomfort, then your world will become smaller and your options fewer, which will eventually lead to discomfort.
8. Normalize the upcoming feelings. Look back in your life, of people you know, or of those you’ve heard about and see where the same feelings have occurred. Acknowledge the feelings and do the laughably small daily commitment anyway. Not only are your feelings normal, they won’t kill you. You’re still here, aren’t you? You have a 100% survival rate of overcoming discomfort. 😂
9. Schedule time on your calendar and allow enough time for any change to occur. If you don’t have it on your calendar, it’s a dream, not a goal. Give it more time than you think it will take before seeing a difference.
10. Change your environment. Environmental support is a predictor of success. Sometimes we don’t have our workplace or home set up to encourage our goals. If your bike is hidden behind painting supplies in the garage, chances are, you’re not biking tomorrow morning before work.
11. In your mind, select three people to support you, three places where you feel safe, and a create a bucket-load of patience. Your three people don’t have to be someone you have direct contact with. It could be people who inspire you.
The places are retreats where you can go physically or in your mind to rebuild and strengthen.
More patience will be needed than expected. Dig a deep well of patience. Then know, at some point, you’ll need to make it deeper.
12. Keep the challenge to yourself. This one surprised me. In the course ‘The Habit of Ferocity’, we were taught that when we share our goals with others, when picturing our success as we share the goal, the brain starts to believe it’s already completed and stops releasing the neurochemicals on the topic because it’s ‘old news’. According to this theory, focus on daily habits building towards your goal and celebrate the milestones.
I always thought it was the opposite – we should share our goals. Perhaps it depends on the person. I’m going to try it this way.
13. Take care of yourself during this uncomfortable stretch period. Perhaps a weighted blanket will help you build up the resources you need by giving you a deep and regenerative sleep. Try one of our 3 full sized blankets: 10 lb and 15 or 20 lb weighted blankets.
Have a wonderfully slightly uncomfortable week.
Providing calmness & comfort, learning & laughter,
P.S. If you’d like to share your challenge with me, along with a target date, I’ll gladly send you a follow-up email after the follow up date (option no longer available). And, in keeping with what I learned in my class, you don’t need to tell me specifically what you want complete.
Also, if you take up the challenge, track your feelings and difficulties along the way. It’ll make it easier to support someone else's journey. Success breeds success.
People with sensory issues or who are on the spectrum often have greater difficulty with moving into the unknown. Yet, that’s what’s required of them to live as independent a life as possible. By doing this challenge, you will be more empathetic and better able to strategize their success journey.
Be a rad role model and spend some time in the discomfort zone every day.
Websites used in this article:
Many websites were used for this article, mostly TED talks. However, I was watching them for my own education and didn’t write the URLs to what I watched and what I read.
This week, let’s just say, there’s lots out there.
Do what works for you.
Happy summer fun and fear-facing! 😊