Brené Brown cites her own shadow value as the value to be in control. This value can make it difficult for her to accept the work of others, the support of others.
What is your shadow value?
It can sometimes be difficult to see how we are getting in the way of our own success. Fortunately there are a few ways to get to the heart of the problem. Here are a few of ideas:
One of these exercises should work to help you get to the thing you want, core of what it is that gets in the way of performing optimally. Once you get it, take time to reflect on how this has shown up in your life.
-- Consider how it could show up in the pursuit of your current goal.
-- Better yet, consider, what is the antidote?
-- How will you be able to see it happening before it is too disruptive?
-- What strategy can you use to support you?
And yet, what if the new year does not bring change... at least not for a while.
This is the very reason many resolutions fail. The kids I coach are great modellers of this lesson. They want to climb the next level. They say they are inspired by success. They go to the route with optimism and a plan they have worked out in their head. They try the moves and realize the plan won't work. They regroup, re-strategize and try again. This process is repeated multiple times. But eventually, the effort they are applying is decreasing and their optimism and inspiration is on the steep decline. Eventually, they begin to ask to move on. Some come up with excuses for why they shouldn't try any more.
You see, if what is inspiring us most of the time IS the success or the completion - the outcome, and comfort. But when the end we expect isn't right there, we tend to lose the motivation to keep trying and eventually we give up and move back to what is comfortable because it is comfortable. The problem is we often carry this little voice in our head that tells us we are a loser, worthless and weak. The shamer. It's not that we did something bad... giving up... WE ARE BAD.
I would like to suggest we just haven't been equipped with the right tools to tackle the challenge in the most effective way. And as a coach, it is my job to support folks through what is uncomfortable - to give them the tools... so read on.
This very idea that the world needs to go back to what I am comfortable with is in itself a problem. Just like the kids I coach, if we stick with what we are comfortable with, we eventually become bored. Perhaps we know we have a paycheck and we know we have a roof over our heads, and people to share the holidays with, but are we happy? Are we inspired to get out of bed in the morning? Is our life meaningful?
For life to be meaningful, joy-filled, we earn it by going through challenges, not around them. This means applying all we know, learning what we need to learn, and getting the right supports, to go through the challenge.
The Solution - focus on who you are becoming with a curious open mind
Resolutions fail because we long for the old and focus on our missed comfort. Even if we wish to lose a few pounds, and we were uncomfortable with our weight, the tendency is to focus on the foods we miss, rather than focusing on the feeling of joy and lightness of losing a few pounds.
The kids I coach focus on the joy of getting to the top, and the feeling of comfortable moves. So when asked to try moves that are hard, uncomfortable, inspiration is traded for comfort.
The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new." ~ Rod Stryker
Not the achievement of a successful goal achievement... focus on you and WHO you are, HOW you are with the accomplishment. Let's say we use the climbing example, if you have pushed past the desire to quit a hundred times and eventually succeed, you have become a person who has perseverance! You have mental strength and tenacity. You recognize your power to overcome.
If you lose the weight, you are free from the bondage of food. You are not consumed by your food, rather you are free. As a person who has suffered from disordered eating for most of my adult life, I would suggest that it is the preoccupation with food, or body, that is the problem, not the food itself. The binding relationship to thoughts that reject who you are and the body you wear, and try to smother the thoughts with food or starvation or exercise, those thoughts are the real enemy.
VALUES are the environment in which you operate. They are the essence of YOU. Values define who you admire and wish to be. Values are what you stand for and what you live by.
We all have values... we can all agree that integrity is important. But some of us will put integrity above play. Some will put curiosity above play and integrity. Our own unique priority list of values is what we need to live by.
Use this Values exercise to help unlock your values priority list. Then this year resolve to live by it.
Oh... and check back for the next post. We will shed a little light on the Shadow value. In a recent podcast, Brené Brown speaks with Jim Collins - two inspired leaders - and they introduce this idea of the Shadow values. It is brilliant. We will delve into the other steps to success.
Habits begin with a trigger - an experience that triggers or cues an impulse. The impulse will drive a response or an action. When the trigger shows up again, the impulse typically also arises and if the same response is acted out, the habit begins to develop.
As a relatively new dog owner, I am using the habit loop as a method to train the behaviours I want from my golden retriever. I want her to sit on her bed when I ask her to, so I reinforce that behaviour with a reward. The reward is a key driver of the habit loop.
When folks start Yoga or climbing, they experience the reward of feeling like they have accomplished something, a little excitement and even perhaps some connection with others, a shared experience. These experiences will cause a little serotonin, norepinephrine and epinephrine to be released, giving us some feel good vibes. The feel good experience makes us more likely to repeat the pattern and develop a habit of participating in the activity. We can also gain these little hormonal hits from things like watching a romantic movie or eating some comfort food. Where one option may be beneficial to our health, the Netflix and munching may be less beneficial.
If the sofa, Netflix and some snacks have become habitual during our lock down and mask-wearing era, it can be even more difficult to reverse the trend. We can try to throw a little self-discipline and will power at the situation, however, our reserves may already be on empty just dealing with working on a screen all day, minimal contact with others and stress when wandering around the public places as the numbers of COVID cases continue to rise.
Willpower requires energy. Consider the following equation Rod Stryker introduces in his book, The Four Desires; Creating a life of purpose, happiness, prosperity, and freedom.
Desire + Energy > Karma (resistance)
If we have a desire to change a habit, or a desire for growth, our effort must exceed, or overcome, the resistance, the obstacles. If we use an example of wanting to take caffeine out of our diet, we must apply effort when we feel the impulse to have caffeine. If we want to spend less time watching Netflix, we must overcome the desire to sit down and put on the next favourite series to binge watch. Not only must you resist the urge to sit, you must continue to resist the urge for sometimes quite a while. That takes energy. AND if Netflix was giving you the hormonal good feels, it now leaves you with time and a lack of feel good, or perhaps a sense of missing something.
So what's the solution?
As a recovered eating disordered person, I can tell you that focusing on what you can no longer do to get the numbed feeling means I had to sit with the negative, empty, fearful, difficult emotions.
As you sit with the emotions, it is helpful to examine your experience, your emotions with a little distance.
-- I recently learned this exercise from Pema Chodron's writing; ask yourself what colour you would give the emotion you are experiencing, what texture? If the emotion were a shoe, what would it be? If the emotion were a person, who would it remind you of?
-- Another tactic offered by Byron Katie is called The Work. You ask four questions, then turn your negative thought around.
It's a difficult place to stay and just be. But we humans seem to forget that we are not meant to be comfortable all the time. Growth happens when we get uncomfortable because we will find a method for moving through what challenges us.
So finally, focus on what you can do, what you have already done that has supported your choice.
Peace is never found in the future because you can only live in the moment you are in. If you focus on the moment you are in and recognize all you have in that moment, things are much easier to navigate. Expecting things to be different only cause continued unease.
In my own narrative of this activity, I often go to the experience of my marriage ending. Months of not knowing what would happen, the fear of living alone, the fear of sharing my son with someone who lives in a different country. The shame of being left.
It took months, but when I was introduced to this exercise, I was steeped in gratitude. Without the end of my marriage, I would not be discovering so much about what gives ME meaning. I would not have been discovering how to create a world I really wanted. I could see the shortcomings in my relationship honestly and armed with that wisdom, move into new more powerful relationships.
As I see it? The silver linings practice is a way toward gratitude. A way toward peace and appreciation of what is. It is a way to side step the ongoing rebellion toward what I don't want.
Questions have the power to open our mind; that is, the right questions have that power.
The wrong questions can put us into a defence of what we know and how we perceive ourselves.
Consider these two questions...
1) Why are you having coffee with your breakfast?
Immediately you may find yourself move toward the number of reasons you start your day with coffee.
2) What is your favourite beverage in the morning?
Perhaps now you consider other options besides just coffee. You might think about water or tea.
Yesterday as I coached, I was leaning into this idea when I asked the youth to consider the following two questions...
1) What do you get out of climbing?
2) How does it make you feel?
I proceeded to move forward with the second question first. I used my own example as I walked them through the next steps. My emotion was joy.
You can see I have a number of words that start to hint at the things that bring me joy... things like connection, laughter and play all hint at not climbing alone. Challenge, success and send lead me toward knowing I like the challenge, empowerment from climbing. Adventure and curiosity tell me I am not really a big fan of climbing same routes over and over. I prefer the uncertain outcomes.
I then referred to the first question - What do I get out of climbing? For me... as a coach, I get to understand more about movement, mental training and required strength. In other words, it gives me more wisdom I can share with someone I coach.
Now I am armed with some very key information as I decide what goal to pursue. I know it needs to give me the following -
- new learning so I can share it with clients
- be connected to climbing with people - no solo sessions for me
- challenge me - meaning be outside my current comfort zone
So... what's your goal? Think you know? Then once you write it down, imagine yourself completing the goal... really visualize that moment. See the area, the people, the route, hear the sounds, smell the smells. Be in that moment you know you have succeeded. What it really what you wanted? Did it give you the feeling?
Toward the end of the session I also asked the youth to consider what will be their biggest obstacle. Knowing the obstacle helps you to understand how you are going to stay inspired when the going is tough. And let's face it, if you have chosen a goal that really stretches you... it will get tough.
Not sure what you obstacle is? Don't worry... I'll help you find, just stay tuned. IN the meantime, share your goals... I would love to hear them.