You've probably heard that saying - “Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t.”
The problem with this sentiment is that if you believe this to be true, you’ll never change.
Maybe that’s okay with you. Great! But if it’s not, if you’re not content with letting things continue being how they are, then you’ll need to dare to get to know the metaphorical devil that you’re yet to encounter.
When I left my consulting job more than three years ago to create the business I run full time today, one of the biggest challenges I encountered was not having people constantly demanding things from me. It was actually painful on some level not to be “needed” all the time. I only had a handful of clients when I started (yep, I took a big gamble on myself!), and as I was working out how to build a business in the personal development space I had to get comfortable with the impenetrable silence that not being needed brought into my life. It. Was. Tough. Even with the toolkit of extensive coping resources I’d already built for myself during my side-hustling period.
The mind loves the familiar, and avoids the unfamiliar.
To me, what was familiar was 10-12-14 up to 16 hour work days. Constant client deadlines. Constantly chasing missing information to complete financial due diligence reports. Hard negotiation discussions. External pressure to perform. When that all went away from one day to the next, I felt lost. Despite actively chasing my biggest dream so far.
You no longer need to wonder why people keep doing the same thing over and over even when they don’t like it or somehow suffer as a result. This is it. The unconscious avoidance of (unknown) pain. If we do courageously choose for something different in the direction of moving toward pleasure, it can be terribly painful until we adjust. It feels this way until we make the unfamiliar, familiar.
That’s how the mind works.
So how do you make something familiar? It needs commitment, time, and repetitions. And ideally, broad enough perspective to anchor into a bigger WHY that is centred around pleasure on some level.
I’ll be in the sky when you receive this email. I’m heading back to my home base in Amsterdam after two months visiting family in Australia. I worked remotely so maybe you didn’t notice too many differences. But in the last couple of weeks I wound my activities back to bare essentials and focused on serving my core clients at the highest level while intentionally creating space to be more present with my dear ones and my beautiful physical location.
I soaked in the silence. I enjoyed chunks of time in nature, guilt free. I was able to disconnect to reconnect. I felt held by the boundaries I lovingly set around my professional responsibilities so I could embrace my personal ones. And none of that affected whether or not I felt like a worthy human being. Night and day from 3 years ago. Because more space and more presence feels familiar to me now, and it’s there by design. That’s how I feel good, and it’s also how I am able to continue serving my clients at the highest level.
I’m not perfect. There are times when the chaos returns. But I am intentional, and I have the capacity to self-correct instead of allowing the pull of the old familiar to overwhelm me. Building this new way of “being” has taken those things I mentioned:
A powerful why.
This Wellness Wednesday, I want to offer you the same advice I’d offer myself three years ago:
If it feels weird, you’re doing it right.
Doing something different will feel weird or even painful. Even if it’s for your highest good. It doesn’t matter what it is, this same rule applies.
Like, not smoking when you’ve smoked for years.
Driving a car in Australia/UK when you’re used to driving one in Europe/US.
Retiring after having worked 40+ years.
Expressing your emotions to your partner when you’re used to pushing them aside.
Feeling relaxed when stress is your natural state.
Going out for a walk at lunch when usually you eat “al desko” (I prefer al fresco).
Being debt-free when you’ve been paying a mortgage for the last 20 years.
Not eating food when you’re sad when food has always been your soothing device.
Setting boundaries when you’re used to betraying your own needs to meet those of others.
Putting brand X of mayonnaise on your sandwich when you’re used to brand Y.
…you get my point.
If you’re feeling a bit weird as you try something different or seek growth in some area of your life, know this is completely normal, even recommended. If you’re someone who likes to walk your edge and challenge what might be possible for you, normalising feeling this way will serve you enormously. I wouldn’t recommend stretching yourself in *all the things* all the time, but there is nothing wrong with being blissfully dissatisfied (that is, being in a state of gratitude and acceptance of where you’re at while also aiming to create something even better).
What bigger WHY are you willing to pursue? How weird are you willing to feel in getting there? Are you ready to make a new commitment and put in the time and repetitions required to get you there?
Perhaps it is in fact time to get to know a new “devil”. You might find they’re not so bad after all.
With familiar love and gratitude for your presence with this message.
Are you craving some change? Over the European summer of 2022 (winter for the Southern Hemisphere) I am running a special 30-day intensive coaching offer which uses the transformative power of hypnotherapy to facilitate some quick gains in one specific area of your life. This offer would suit well for something like confidence, habit-breaking, and even anxiety or performance issues. I only offer this to clients who I know are capable of holding themselves accountable through the process and able to continue doing so beyond our container, so if you think this could be for you then let’s get on a call and talk about what you’re working on. Head over and book a free Power Hour session with me.