It was a normal Monday morning. I started out by trying to get caught up on the things I should have done Sunday night. For some reason, the weekly goals didn’t get looked at again like they were supposed to. So, I did my morning meditation, wrote my gratitude journal and then dove into my Monday morning routine.
I knew I wanted to get some shopping done but I also knew I had to get out fairly quickly because the area I needed to go to gets really busy just before lunch time. I’d been caught in the mess before and knew I wanted to avoid it!
So I worked away trying to get everything done before I left. Before I knew it, the “drop-dead” time I needed to get in the shower to get out of here on time came and went. I then proceed to whine and groan about how I should have done this or that.
I simply decided to stop the voice and demand that I get ready and go right then. No excuses. No whining. No anything. Just freaking do it!
I felt like the poet Robert Frost in “The Road Not Taken” except I WAS taking that road and would see where it led me. The only condition I had was that I could NOT do it and then spend the rest of the day complaining about it. I was going to purposely put myself in an uncomfortable situation to observe how I did with it. Here’s how it went.
I started out well after I knew traffic would be bad. Add to that, the constant rain and you’ve got a witches brew of potential stress. I pushed on anyway.
As I thought, traffic was congested and slow. I didn’t care. When I got to Trader Joe’s, it was a madhouse just parking and then walking in the rain to get into the store. I didn’t care. I observed and breathed into it. The store was packed and I had to patiently wait to pick up the few items I get there. I didn’t care. I smiled, breathed and observed. I checked out with an incredibly friendly clerk who made smiling that much easier. I went to my car in the rain and had to wait what seemed like an eternity to get out of the parking lot. I didn’t care. I breathed, smiled and observed. I drove a little way down the street to Whole Foods and drove into their parking garage. The mess at Trader Joe’s couldn’t hold a candle to their parking garage and every single person waiting for a space like it was the last one on earth! Didn’t care. Observed, breathed and smiled. Shopping was surprisingly easy because wherever all the cars had parked, they were oddly not in the store. Observing and breathing were even easier. I thought my plight had ended with a victory.
Not so fast buddy!
Got out of the parking garage and on to my final destination, Wild Birds Unlimited. Got there in pretty good time and spent some time talking back yard feeding with one of the employees. We had a very pleasant conversation and I felt the stress melting away even more! When I finished, I went to get out of the parking lot and realized traffic had backed up in both directions all the way to the store parking lot. I didn’t care. I breathed and observed. Eventually, I made it to the main road an was convinced my expedition was about to come to an end.
Why are the cars nearly stopped a mile up ahead? You guessed it. An accident at the next major intersection had backed up all the way to where I saw them stopped. Probably at least a half mile. I didn’t care. I had made it this far with my mindset. Why give in now? I breathed, observed and drove on until I was past the accident. I stopped thinking about whether or not this really was the end and just drove on.
I got home at nearly 1:45 and ended up eating lunch around two. Did I mention how glad I was I took a Kind bar with me before I left just in case?
After lunch, I took some time to reflect on my morning. I was very proud of purposely throwing myself into the “belly of the beast” and I kept fist pumping and saying those words several times throughout the day.
What Did I Learn?
I learned that I really did have to ability to set aside preconceptions or even fears based on actual situations I’ve been in. I saw that how you approach an uncomfortable situation can make ALL the difference between a stressful and miserable experience to an empowering one that shows what we’re really capable of. I decided right then and there I was going to use the same approach to many different “facts” and “truths” I had been accepting for a long time. I am going to question every time I’m about to act on something I believe to be true and ask myself how I know it’s true. I don’t expect any of this will be easy but I do know I’ll learn even more about myself and be proud of who I have become in the process.
What Will Be Your Belly of the Beast Moment?
I challenge you to look at all the ways you’ve found to keep yourself from growing and stretching your abilities. Namely, all those constructs you’ve come to accept as irrefutable “facts.” Every time you find yourself saying something like “I can’t or won’t do that because….” that you ask yourself why you won’t or can’t do it. Even if you find you’re acting on solid information you should still ask yourself why that must keep you from doing what you need to do!
Then, leave me a comment below and tell me about your experience and what you learned from it. Also, tell me about any breakthroughs you’ve made because you challenged your beliefs.
Remember, you don’t have to turn your life upside-down to become the success you want to be. It’s the little changes made consistently like Darren Hardy talks about in “The Compound Effect” that add up over time. Mindset is one big piece of the puzzle. Just make sure not to beat yourself up for your failings here. Make sure to only celebrate the victories no matter how small they seem to you!