You’d be amazed at how much energy I put into planning for the perfect outcome. And more importantly how much of that energy is wasted. Take last week for instance. On my way to sign in our Grassroots players, College Blvd. was blocked by construction. I was diverted by the nice construction man and then panicked that the Grassroots folks weren’t going to be able to make their clinic. I rushed to the gym to hurriedly put out a Facebook post with an alternative route. It was high anxiety time, with me as the Hero, saving parents from wandering the wilds of Valparaiso. Except for one small fact – no one saw the post. And everyone had maps on their phones, so they found their own alternative route.
My anxiety and “crucial” Facebook post was, like most of the anxiety in my life, useless.
My brain has always operated at a high anxiety level. I think it’s a result of being raised in a household that was not safe. When my parents were at DEFCON 1, which was most of the time, my best course of action was to hide, while staying alert for an escalation in warfare. I thought if I could stay vigilant, I could save the situation. All I really did was give myself an ulcer at age 13, followed by a lifetime of misplaced fretting.
This latest “crisis“ reminded me that my highest and best choice for success always lies in staying calm. My superpower is problem-solving in the moment from a place of calm calculation, not frenzied planning to avoid the threat of other people being distressed. Their distress is not my business. Devising clear solutions to actual problems is.
My whole life has been a journey to counter my upbringing in drama and chaos, to choose a calm sense of readiness. Instead of playing mental chess with possible outcomes, I can stop and meditate, putting my energy into maintaining a clear mind. That is the path to success for me, not putting energy into feverish planning that often ends up making no difference at all. My challenge is to notice when the frenzy begins. If I can notice my desire to “save” grown-ass adults who don’t need saving, I can stop, take a deep breath, and wait for an actual problem to solve.
Everyone has a choice to let past experiences dictate current actions OR to make a new choice that creates a better habit. What is your least effective habitual pattern? Tell me all about it at firstname.lastname@example.org.