I like having friends that will say “You need to watch ‘Daisy Jones and the Six’ because I need someone to talk with about it.” It serves two purposes: I watch something I probably would not have, and I am guaranteed to have a conversation with my friend, where maybe we’ll talk about the show for 5 minutes, and then get lost in a myriad of other topics.
And, sure enough, I did like the show, but mainly from the reminiscing of the 70s. I swear I could FEEL what those bell bottom jeans and flowing tops felt like back then! During one episode I noted the opening credits, before I learned how to skip them, and I saw that it was based on a book by Taylor Jenkins Reid. My eyes shifted to the massive pile of books sitting on my side table, evidence of my having the time to attend many author conversations but not necessarily the time to actually read the books they’d autographed for me. Sure enough, there was a book – Carrie Soto Is Back – by the same author. I thought back to the very packed room of obvious fans who were thrilled to see Taylor speak. I’d never heard of her or her books before. Now I wish I could go back and hear her again.
So, out of curiosity, I picked up the book and started reading. I was enjoying it – a light, entertaining read – until I came upon this quote:
“When I play out the scenario in fast-forward, I can barely stand to watch it. He’ll say something wonderful at some point, and I‘ll start to believe he means it, despite all evidence to the contrary. And then I’ll start to like him or love him or feel something that I swear I’ve never felt before. And then one day, when I’m in too deep, he’ll stop liking me or loving me, for one reason or another. And I’ll be left with a hole in my heart.”
I found myself saying “Yup” aloud and nodding. And realized I had some work to do.
I am a firm believer in the saying “When the student is ready, the teacher appears.” Or, when you are open to seeing the sign/message, it appears. Years ago, I was “looking” for reassurance that all was well in the world. And what did I find? Hearts. Everywhere. In nature, in coffee cups, in oil stains…you name it, they appeared. And, if I didn’t see them, others did, and would send them to me. They still do to this day and I love the reminder.
So, this paragraph got me thinking: Other than the obvious relationship angle, where else do I jump to a negative conclusion? I always have considered myself a positive, optimistic person, so this side of my personality was a bit disconcerting. After some contemplation, I realized it is a by-product of our innate penchant for self-preservation. Our primordial brains take over and say “DANGER – take preventative measures! Shut down those risky thoughts, feelings and behaviors!” And we do.
In my nearly 20 years of coaching, I’d have to say that fear is the #1 driver of both action and inaction. People come to me because they are stuck (fear of the unknown) or want to make a change and don’t know how to do it (fear of failure – or success). I do it myself. It’s very easy to tell ourselves the story like Carrie did in my book, where things start out well, but then fall apart and the emotional cost of that is too high. But what if we did the opposite: Created a story where we succeeded beyond our wildest belief?
It doesn’t work.
Why? Because we don’t believe it. That primordial brain is saying “Oh really? Show me where that has happened? I’ll show you plenty of times when it didn’t!” And we’re back where we started.
This puzzled me, because there have been times when I went for something without knowing the outcome. Why was that different?
If I tell myself a story about how I am going to do xyz and the result is going to be this or that, I’m setting myself up for disappointment. Sure, it MIGHT turn out that way – or better – but odds are it might not. And all I do is reinforce that voice that will be saying “I told you so…”
Instead, I choose to look at these situations as an adventure. If I approach it with an air of curiosity, knowing I do not have all the answers, I am opening myself up for the experience and the learning along the way. There is no expectation of an outcome, but instead a delight in the journey. It not only opens my mind, but expands my world and shifts my inner belief system to one of possibilities.
So, thanks for the reminder, Carrie Soto, of the shift I need to do. Life is an adventure…and I am here for the wild and wonderful ride!
And thank you for the reminder, Janet. Just the other day, I was asking myself, “what is missing from my life??”…The answer was curiosity. I used to be so curious and didn’t attach an outcome to that curiosity. Expectations, disappointments, fear and yes, the primordial brain has paralyzed my curiosity. I have some work to do to restore it…