12 Feb Zentrepreneur – The next smallest step
Last week I “suffered” some restless nights. This made me fear that my sleeping problems, which I have experienced in the past, were maybe returning. Of course this created additional anxiety which only worsened the whole thing. Just great….
Next to that I have another limiting believe and that is that such feelings like fear and restlessness should not happen to me as I am trying really bad to live a conscious life. I moved to Tenerife to enjoy the calmness and nature, I have a 4 hour workweek and I read shit loads of self-help books. So why is my life still not 100% perfect and why am I still experiencing such lousy feelings at night?
One reason is that these books or lifestyle design guru’s promise us things that are often utterly unrealistic. “365 days successful”, “live your legend”, “Awaken the Giant within” or “having a 100% perfect life” are titles that you will find everywhere around. This unrealistic view is reinforced when opening Facebook where it seems that everyone else is having a bad ass good time. This can make you feel like shit. Basically, there is nothing wrong with feeling (temporarily) like shit, because that’s part of being human I suppose. However, we are made to believe by our gurus and Facebook friends that something is terribly wrong with you when experiencing shitiness. This is where you really get into trouble, because now you feel shit about feeling shit, which only worsens the situation. Just great…
I am not saying that it’s all bullshit that is been sold to us by the multi-billion-dollar instant happiness industry. There is also lots of advice that is beneficial to you or will help you attain your goals. Next to that Facebook can be good fun as well. However do understand that these things are moreover far from realistic.
We are human and we as humans need to experience uncomfortable situations and emotions in order to develop ourselves. If we weren’t able to experience anxiety and fear, we all would have been dead already. We need these emotions to a certain extent. Next to that we can’t experience joy if we don’t know its opposite. There is no day without night and no night without day….
Well, this all is great news for me and my broken nights… It seems to indicate that nothing is wrong with me, it’s just being human. It’s part of the process of starting up new things and facing and overcoming uncertainty.
Tackling these challenges actually brings us happiness. Happiness comes from how we handle our problems, not avoiding them. Happiness can’t be a goal in itself, it’s a result of you being able to deal with your challenges while trying to reach your goals.
Furthermore, the good news is that we are also able to influence the quality of the problems we face.
How? By pursuing goals that are worthwhile. Goals that are based on proper values. Chances are that you are better able to handle problems that arise while you are trying to build an orphanage for starving children than handling the problems you will face while you are trying to sell dope to drug addicts (remember Walter in Breaking Bad?).
Hence to make our problems more enjoyable, let’s focus on creating more worthwhile problems by choosing proper values in our lives. Proper values should be:
2) Good for you and all others
3) Applicable now, in the present
4) Under your control, e.g. I want to be liked by others is out of your control and hence a shitty value to live by, you don’t control the perception of others towards yourself.
Ok, thanks for the lecture Rob (or not), but what does this have to do with you feeling so sorry for yourself with your sleepless nights?
Well, although I have based my new plans (becoming a trainer/coach) on proper values I still seem to perceive my challenges as bigger than they actually are. So how can I reduce my restlessness and anxiety that are caused by this blown up perception in my mind?
At this point the self-help books actually do come in handy. Phrases such as “the next smallest step”, “just do something principle” and “overcome procrastination” all state that you just have to take the single smallest step without feeling uncomfortable. My worries during the night covered all the plans at once that I have for my future coaching career. My mind went into overdrive again and figured I needed to create a state of the art new website that offers sublime online courses, great blogs, multiple social media plugins and even more just to make my coaching practice successful. This created fear and conflict again, because how would I be able to combine all this with without sacrificing quality family time!? So taking “the next smallest step” / “just do something” in mind, I decided this morning that I would just start of somewhat smaller. Just with one thing that felt comfortable. Exactly, writing this blog and then discover what the next smallest step will be after that.
Having come up with this great simple and realistic idea my mind unfortunately directly returned to overdrive again (the mind seems to be constantly searching for imaginary problems). This time arguing that I should plan & envisage all my potential clients, trainings and retreats that I might possibly have during the rest of my life… Luckily this time it took me less time to see my mind was playing tricks on me again and I was able to quickly apply the next smallest step methodology. How? Focus on just attracting another five new clients and after that see what the next smallest step will be. Although this all sounds quite simple ; the broken nights have proven that the mind tends to disagree with this simplicity, shooting into overdrive when it gets the chance. Just great…
But guess what? It seems to be working! I am enjoying writing this blog and if you are still reading this then probably it has been enjoyable for you as well. Pitching for a few more clients should not be too complex either and if it fails, well at least I don’t have to worry how to combine all those big plans my mind comes up with my family life :).
Let’s finish with an actionable summary:
- Don’t kick your own ass for feeling uncomfortable about something, that’s completely human. Never feeling uncomfortable would actually be very unhealthy and might turn out really ugly. So become comfortable with being uncomfortable and appreciate that you get an opportunity to learn from that experience.
- Set your goals based on proper values
- Take it easy, Rome wasn’t built in one day. Take the next smallest step that still feels comfortable and take it from there.
Hope you enjoyed this read, I at least enjoyed writing it. Have a great week!
PS You can help me by one of my following Smallest next steps, namely recruiting new clients, see my previous post.