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Beating the Bully in Your Brain

In Blog, Coaching, Goals, Peak Performance, Personal Development, Self Help | on 04.12.17 | by | Comments ( 0 )

Have you ever felt like your were in the middle of a tornado and all the facets of your life were swirling around you and it seemed like everywhere you looked there was change and chaos and the more you tried to take control of the madness the more out of control things felt? That’s kind of how things feel right now. There are so many changes going on around here!  Here’s just a quick snapshot – we are:

Selling our house and moving to a high-rise condo

Launching our new book, Unrealogical

Launching a new program

Collaborating on another new program

Preparing for Daughter #2’s college graduation next month and all the festivities and visitors that entails

Negotiating schedules for the start of Angie’s health coach certification program and her triathlon training

Gearing up for a big summer of travel

And that’s just the new stuff. Life feels very turbulent at the moment. It’s in these times of uncertainty and change where HUGE quantum leaps take place. However, it’s also when logic can really wreak havoc. That list contains some very exciting things – things we’ve been working towards for a long time – and I am super excited about them all.  But then, all of a sudden, without invitation or warning, the “bully in my brain” – my logic – starts chiming in with its two cents:

“You don’t have the time for all this”

“How on earth are you supposed to get all this done”

“Why even bother”

“Are you even making a difference?”

“Are you crazy?”

“When will you learn?”

And those are some of the nicer things! You see, just because I understand what’s happening doesn’t make me immune to it.  Logic sneaks up on me just like everyone else.  The only difference is that I have an awareness of what is going on and I know that I have a choice:

I can either let the bully win and give up on my dreams, or I can tell the bully to go to hell and keep moving toward my goals.

Sometimes it would be so easy to let the bully win and run away, but then the next time (and there’s always a next time) the bully would be even bolder and have even more power over me. I don’t like to play that game.

So, here are a few strategies that have worked for me to quiet the “bully in my brain:”

What’s the truth? Logic lies.  Logic will conjure up all the worst case scenarios in order to scare us into retreat. Logic’s purpose is to keep us safe and the surest way to keep us safe is to keep us stuck right where we are. Logic is the combination of our knowledge and our experience; it’s what we’ve done and what we know. So, if we are trying to achieve something that is beyond what we’ve ever done before or what we already know how to do, logic can’t explain it. And when logic can’t explain something, it stirs up thoughts of worry and doubt and feelings of fear. There’s not much we can do about that.  What we CAN do, is separate the facts from the fiction. What is the TRUTH of the situation and what are the LIES that logic is telling us?

For example: I listed a bunch of things my bully might say to me above.  Let’s tease out the truth:

“You don’t have the time for all this” Well, yes, I do have time.  We always have the time for the things and people who are important to us.

“How on earth are you supposed to get all this done” One step at a time – just like eating an elephant. I just have to chunk it down into manageable pieces and commit to getting one piece done at a time.

“Why even bother?” Because I am a goal achieving organism and I will never be happy standing still. If I’m not creating, I’m disintegrating… dying… and I’m not ready to die just yet. 😉

“Are you even making a difference?” Yes I am! I know this because people email me every single day that I have changed their life.  Yes, I AM a difference maker!

“Are you crazy?” Maybe. But most of the best people I know are a little crazy. Sanity doesn’t change the world!

“When will you learn?” I learn every single day. I learn that it’s better to put yourself out there and take the chance of being criticized than to play it safe and make no difference at all. I learn that it is better to risk being hurt than to close myself off to possibility. I learn that if nothing changes, then nothing changes….

The Fake Out: Sometimes the bully yells really loudly and it’s easy to be intimidated by it. When this starts to happen, I like to fake logic out by doing something unexpected. Maybe it’s jumping in my convertible and going for a ride in the sunshine with the top down… or going for a walk or a bike ride on the beach… or spontaneously going out for breakfast or lunch… or calling a friend to say “Hi.” It can be anything that jolts me out of my own head and into a place of appreciation and gratitude for all the wonderful things I have in my life, focusing on the future and what I want!

Would I speak to my child like that? When logic starts yammering in my ear, I stop to think: “Would I speak to my child like this?” When the bully in your brain gets really ginned up and is telling you you’re stupid or you’re a failure or you’re fat, or whatever your “bully” says to you, stop and think: Would you stand for it if you someone was saying those things to your child? Of course not! You protect your children from harsh words like that. And if, for whatever reason, you did ever lose your cool and speak rashly to them, you would certainly go back and apologize and work it out, right? Well, afford yourself the same courtesy. We can’t stop the bully from showing up on the playground, but we can surely refuse to engage him/her.

 

We all have a bully in our brain – our logic – that wants desperately to keep us stuck right where we are, where things make sense and are comfortable.  The more we stretch outside our comfort zone, the louder and nastier the bully becomes. However, we can beat the bully! It doesn’t mean s/he won’t be back for another round in the future, but we can win each battle, one at time.

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