So as you may or may not know, I do a Facebook Live session that inspires this blog once a week. Until recently I was doing these WAKEUP Calls on Tuesdays, but I’ve decided to move them to Wednesdays.
“But why fix something that isn’t broken?”
For a few reasons…
First of all, WAKEUP Wednesday has a nice ring to it, and second of all, I wanted to run a personal experiment because it’s not the WAKEUP Call that’s broken, it’s me.
Let me explain…
Broken is probably too strong of a word for it but what I mean is that I’d WAKEUP on Monday mornings already thinking, anticipating, stressing about Tuesday’s call. There’s a lot of anticipation, and no matter how long I do these, no matter how many of these I’ve done, I’m always apprehensive and nervous beforehand, and I develop some degree of anxiety for no particular reason. No logical reason anyway.
So it’s quite uncomfortable, but I’m sharing this with you because maybe you’ve experienced something that stresses you out in your life that just logically doesn’t really compute. Or something that gives you anxiety or makes you feel apprehensive or anxious or worried.
Now here’s the thing…
I don’t know at the subconscious core where those emotions come from. All I know is that it’s very complex. I mean, the most complicated or confusing part about it is the very fact that it doesn’t really make sense. Annoying right? Here you are worrying about something that isn’t even real. It doesn’t even exist! Maybe it existed at one point in your life, but there’s a synopsis that was created in our psyche and our brains, and we’re just triggered. We just feel a certain way in certain circumstances.
You following me so far? I’ll give you a personal example to drive it home…
Throughout most of my adult life, every time I went to get my mail out of the mailbox, just before I’d open the mailbox, I would have this wave of anxiety, just this little glitch, this little lurch almost like expecting to find something in the mail that was going to be unsettling. It didn’t really make any sense until I realized there was nothing inherently scary about my mailbox. There’s no logical reason to feel any sort of nervousness about going through my mail.
But…because there’s always a but…
In the past, going through the mail you probably came across something that stressed you out – a bill, a fine or parking ticket, a “Dear John” letter – and now because of those few experiences, you associate a sense of negativity with opening the mail.
I became really intrigued by this concept, so about ten years ago I started taking note and observing how I feel in certain scenarios. And then in that moment when I’m questioning myself or I’m feeling insecure or I’m feeling apprehensive or I’m feeling worried, if I can somehow remind myself that it’s normal to feel that way in that situation because that always happens, that in spite of that, I can push through it and I can continue without cowering or letting my feelings and emotions and my fears get the best of me.
That’s the key…
I remind myself that it’s just some unresolved issue or there’s some reason why I’m feeling that way, but that’s not really who I am. It’s not really who I aspire to be.
Now don’t get me wrong…
It took me a long time and a lot of self-development to come to that conclusion. I’ve tried everything you can think of…things like blocking it out, talking myself out of it, hyping myself up, I’ve tried everything, and I still struggle with it sometimes. Especially when it comes to getting myself motivated for work.
I mean, if I did what I felt like…if I ONLY did what I felt like, I wouldn’t have a business. I wouldn’t have a community. I wouldn’t have much of a lifestyle…
I don’t know how that lands for many of you. For some, I’m sure you know exactly what I’m talking about, for others you might have a whole different world or realm of fears and anxieties that you have no clue where they come from, they’re just there.
Just remember you are not alone…
An old saying is…
“Another level, another devil.”
Meaning, once you start this work on yourself and you start to WAKEUP, just like the layers of an onion, one layer just leads to the next layer. The more you learn, the more you realize just how much there is to learn and the more you grow, the more you realize there’s room to grow.
And THAT is the WAKEUP Call this week…
To me, being awake and what WAKEUP is about, is just the constant reminder of the journey.
Don’t treat your life as being this destination where you arrive in some sort of a comfort zone where your quality of life, your home, your finances, your material possessions, your bank account are all finally where you want them because in an ideal world where you accomplish all of those dreams…then what?
Then you die. I know it’s a little blunt, but there’s no such thing as “arriving” in this world, in this lifetime. There’s no such a thing. There is no joy in the arrival. Arrival is death, that’s when it ends. There’s only the journey.
If you look at it like that, you have to ask yourself…
“Do I want a journey that’s just super comfy and maybe just goes around in a circle, on a smooth track, no obstacles, no challenges?”
I’ll give you the answer…NO! You’d be bored out of your mind!
You and I are, we are all so much more capable in this day and age to do so much more than just live a life of comfort and ease. Although, that is definitely an option and it’s anyone’s prerogative to live that sort of life.
That just doesn’t interest me. So at the same time, I know if I reframe the things that are uncomfortable, reframe them as challenges or better yet, as opportunities to grow, I know it’s part of the process, it’s part of the journey. It’s just part of it. It’s not always rainbows and unicorns.
There’s the taking out the trash part of the Tuesday night as well. There’s the unpleasant, the not so fun parts of life and the further we get into this; it really becomes a matter of how uncomfortable do you want to get? To me, being uncomfortable is something I’ve been able to train myself to thrive on.
So on the one hand, I’m choosing to put myself out there. I’m choosing to take on the responsibility, I’m choosing to do a WAKEUP Wednesday, but I don’t necessarily feel like it. At least not right before doing it. All I have to do though is just remind myself that it’s kind of like going to the dentist. You kinda dread it, but once you’re there and the initial chitchat is over, 20 minutes later you’re out the door, and it’s like, wow, that was no big deal.
Well…kinda like that, but times a million for me because what I get as a personal victory is a feeling of personal pride, of personal accomplishment, of reward from essentially forcing myself to do something that I didn’t feel like doing. It’s so worth it. That’s why I do it.
“Jay, that’s kinda screwed up and a little masochistic.”
You’re not wrong! But guess what, we rarely feel like doing the work, can’t be bothered…
It takes more time and energy for me to get myself to get motivated to go for a run than it does to go for the run. If I just have some way to turn off the knob in my brain, that volume, just go for the damn run instead of deliberating for 45 minutes whether I should do it or not and then only having 15 minutes left, and then saying, “Well screw it now, I only have 15 minutes, it’s not even worth going for a run.” I feel like I’m not gonna have quite as good of a day on a day like that. The days where I say to myself,
“When have you ever felt like going for a run, Jay? Seriously? You thought it would change today for some reason? Don’t expect to feel excited about going for a run. In fact, it’s probably gonna be the worst run of your life but you’re gonna do it anyway because there was a place and time when you made the decision, consciously, that running being part of your routine makes you a better, healthier, more productive, happier person, and more than anything, the sense of accomplishment that you slayed that dragon for doing something that you just didn’t fucking feel like doing, but knew you had to do.”
That conversation takes about five minutes, but there are times when I don’t feel like having that conversation with myself either. I’ll just say you know what? I’m not gonna go for a run today, or I’m just not gonna go for a run for the next two weeks. I’ll just throw in the towel on winning that battle every day. But then I’ll double down on a different battle that I’m fighting or something that I’m working on. Or I’ll make sure that I’m extra prepared for the upcoming workshops or seminars or something. I’ll force myself, or I’ll say, look, I’m not going for the run but I’m gonna force myself to pay the bills on time this month and the stack that I love to procrastinate over, I’m gonna work on that end of year taxes.
Ugh. Working on your end of the year taxes?
All of the sudden going for a run sounds like a date with destiny. Holy crap. So there’s a whole myriad of these things that we’ve gotta do.
In a moment when we were inspired or invigorated, motivated, encouraged, we made a decision that we were going to do something. The secret is, figuring out how to become consistent doing those things knowing full well that you’re not always going to feel that way. You’re not always going to…you’re not always gonna feel like doing it!
Some people might just be able to WAKEUP and flip a switch every day and feel that way everyday. For some of us though, there are those days when we don’t feel like it. Just knowing that you’ll get the energy to do the thing by doing the thing, you’ll get the inspiration to go for the run after you’ve gone for the run.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve promised myself beat red, heart pounding, finishing a great run, and I swear to myself I’m gonna set a new personal record for the week or the month, and I’m just gonna recommit just because how could I not? It is just this…some people call it the runners high. It’s like this massive dopamine rush that you get. I feel amazing. Wake up the next day, and it’s like it never happened, and I’ve gotta fight the same battle all over again, and to get our brains on board to just do what we know we need to do, we need to just fricking do it.
Stop the dialogue, stop the bullshit, stop the internal debating and just do it.
It’s called activation energy. It means that it takes more mental energy to get yourself started than it does to actually complete the task.
Seems like it should be common sense, doesn’t it?
Growing up, how many times did your parents say this to you?
“If you spent half as much time and energy doing your homework as you did avoiding it, you’d be done already.”
A good example of this is that I actually had my water get shut off a couple of years ago because I neglected the auto-payment that got turned off somehow. I didn’t answer the phone, I wasn’t checking my mail very regularly, and it was just really embarrassing. I had guests, and it was a real pain in the butt. It taught me a little bit of a lesson there.
“Hey, a little bit of short-term pain, can avoid a bigger issue, avoid a bigger problem.”
Do the things that are important but not urgent.
Going for a run for me is an important part of my life, but it’s not urgent. If I don’t do it today or this week or this month or even this year, it’s not gonna have a huge impact, it’s not like a life or death situation. But it comes back down to me personally, and I’d encourage all of us, especially as we’re coming into the holiday season, and coming up to 2018, the more time you spend thinking about and visualising and journaling and writing about and talking about what’s important to you, the more you begin to realise it.
It’s something that takes effort. There’s no such a thing as, “I’m gonna wait until January, and then I’ll implement a new habit.” It doesn’t work that way. Any change or any habit takes repetition, takes effort.
Just shut up and do the thing.
And this brings me to my final point…
What are the things that, if we could design an ideal life, we would want more of? What are the things that we would want less of? What are the things that we’re content with?
I’d really recommend that you do an exercise like this at some point before we roll over into the new year. Answer these questions…
- What would you like more of?
- What would you like less of?
- In which areas of your life are you content?
Then take the things you’re content with and ask yourself…
- What’s working?
- What’s not working?
The idea is to get the things that you want less of moved into the content column. By doing that, the things that you want more of, you automatically have more of because we’ll automatically take the energy that we save and the things in our lives that weigh us down, that bog us down, that burden us, as we eliminate those, we have more energy to put into the things that are the most rewarding.
It all comes back to how I started this post today when I talked about having to go on stage or speak or do a WAKEUP Call. I would’ve thought that after 15 years of doing this, it would start to come naturally. And while it has gotten a bit easier, I still get nervous and anxious. It’s something I thought would go away but you know what? It hasn’t.
I want less of that feeling but I’m not gonna get less of that feeling of anxiety by avoiding the WAKEUP Call, or by avoiding putting myself out there, by avoiding really contributing and serving, and taking a risk with my voice and my opinion, and taking the risk of upsetting someone or making them uncomfortable.
So what are the things that you know you need to do? What are the things that you need to do that you’re for whatever reason, just not doing? It’s a tough question to ask ourselves. You might say, “I don’t know, I just don’t know.” Well, that’s not true. We all know what we have to do today. We might not know what we have to do tomorrow or the next day or next year or 10 years from now, but we can’t claim to be adults who are taking full personal responsibility if we refuse just to take responsibility for the actions we need to take, to get what we want, what we need in life.
If you don’t know, then keep asking yourself and keep mulling it over in your head until you do know. Look at the areas of your life that you want less of, look at the areas that you want more of, I guarantee that those two areas are correlated…
They’re two sides of the same coin.
Your biggest gift right now could be your biggest burden because you’re not bringing it to the world. You’re not sharing with anyone. You’re not contributing to anyone. Why? Because you are putting your feelings, your emotions, your comfort zone ahead of theirs.
You know who loses in that situation?
Everyone. Including you.
And THAT is your WAKEUP Call for today, #WAKEUPWednesday. See ya the same place, same time, next week…
…because I said so.