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Is it time to jump in?

We make thousands of decisions every day. Whether to go left, or right, what to eat for lunch, whether to work on our resume now or tomorrow, etc. But we also sometimes have to choose how to respond to a job offer on the other side of the country, what to do each day in our relationships with our family, friends or significant others.

Most of these decisions get answered easily, via habits and systems. You try a few different routes from point A to point B, then you know which one to take given the current time and day. A small learning phase, then you refine your choice, and it becomes a habit, no worry or willpower required anymore. You’re an expert at choosing the best itinerary home.

This mechanism of testing, refining and creating habits allows you to make 99% of your decisions without conscious thought.

But what of the big decisions?

Tackling big(ger) decisions

When you’re thinking about a big purchase or a change in your relationship status, whether starting a new one or changing the course of a current one, relying on unconscious behaviors is usually not the best option.
Believing you can make a purely objective decision is kinda foolish (unless you’re a sentient robot, in which case, I’d love to hear from you!).

Some people are controlled by their fears and past experiences and don’t even realize it.
But if you want to make the best decision, then you need to understand how you are influenced by emotions and past behaviors.

Spending money

Let’s say you are considering a big investment, whether it’s an expansion for your business, a training, or hiring a coach to help you reach your goals.

All your past experiences and beliefs about money will come to the surface: Is it worth it? Will I make the most of the situation? Will I be able to get enough return over investment to justify doing it? Will I fail miserably? What if it doesn’t work, will I just be into more debt? Will I get screwed or taken advantage of? Isn’t it better to wait until I’m 100% sure it’s worth it?

All these questions are valid questions. They’re also rooted in fear.
But that fear is part of you and its job is to protect you from dangerous and harmful behaviors. The current situation, in most cases, is fine, as in, you can survive in it (as you have done in the past). But change, oh, change is scary.

When these questions and worries come up, do not try to escape them.
Instead, answer them: It looks like it’s worth it, or I wouldn’t consider it. I’ll do my best to make the most of it. Estimates point to good ROI. Of course, I might fail, but there’s a good chance I’ll succeed, and even if I fail, it’s not gonna be the end of the world. Maybe I’ll have to take more debt, but it will be good debt, that is serving my goal and improving my business. Of course, I might be taken advantage of, but when I make a conscious decision, it’s highly unlikely. There is no way, ever, to be 100% sure of the results of any action that’s worth doing, I probably shouldn’t let it stop me from working towards my dreams.

Answering these fears doesn’t mean that you should do any and all actions that you consider, but it will help you to not be controlled by your emotions.

Getting in bed with someone

Whether it’s literal or not, getting in bed with someone is a commitment that requires exposing yourself and trusting someone else enough to depend on them.

A very similar set of questions will arise, and you will need to address them appropriately.
But while money circulate, can be lost and acquired somewhat easily, a relationship with someone requires stronger commitment, and in many cases will be life-changing.

A little voice inside you might ask “You’re going out with this dumb*ss? Are you crazy? There’s way better out there!” or “You’re paying HOW MUCH for coaching? Who’s this guy? Can’t you simply read a couple books and get off your ass?”. If it’s not the little voice, it might be your friends or colleagues.
Observe these questions, observe the emotions that create them. Fear, fear of failing, fear of disappointment, or simply self-esteem problems. Identify where it comes from, it will help you ease the pressure and make a more informed decision.

In the end, it’s all in your gut

Your gut might tell you to go for it, or it might tell you to pass. The problem is that fear is also in the gut, so it makes it tricky to distinguish fear trying to protect you from failure and disappointment and a genuine feeling that some path is right or wrong for you in your current situation.
I find the trick is to address all possible sources of fear first, be aware of them, clear them with EFT or some other method if possible, and when fear is handled, let whatever emotion underneath to express itself.
Imagine each path in succession.
If you feel an expansion and excitement at possibilities, go for it. If you feel constriction and dread, just say no and move on.

So, is it time for you to say no, or to go all in?
Answer in the comments below.

How to stop procrastinating and have fun with the things you have to do

If you’re like me or anybody I know, you keep procrastinating on some things because you don’t want to be doing them. For example, unless you’re a happy and skilled accountant, I bet you don’t like doing taxes. It’s tedious, there’s the risk of doing it wrong, and it’ll always cost you time and money.

So what happens after you’ve been procrastinating for weeks and the deadline gets near? You start dreading the moment you’ll have to get to it, you’re even getting tense just thinking about it. And you can’t stop feeling uneasy about the whole thing. Which in turn makes the task feel even more awful.

What is happening for taxes for some, might happen for others when preparing a report, or calling an awful client to tell him his project is gonna be late. Like for hobbies and food, this is a matter of taste and experience. What is a joy for some is a pain for others. And it feels like it cannot change.

It’s too bad, because there is one easy solution.

Open up

However awful one activity seems, there is always a way to find fun in it. But first, you need to be open to the possibility.
In lots of cases, the feeling of repulsion is so strong and deep that it seems there’s no way in hell it would be better, let alone “fun”. But if you can find only one people in the world who believes that doing taxes can be fun, it means that there is no absolute rule that says you have to hate it.

If you don’t have to hate it, then maybe you might find a way to like it.

Find the fun

photo credit: Neal.

In any activity you do, there is a fun factor. Bring your candeur, bring your curiosity and forget about what you think you know. Do you like to play with numbers? Do you like to go on a quest to find where little things belong in the world? What do you think “doing taxes” is? It’s putting numbers at their right places and simply playing with them. You can choose to see any activity in a billion different ways, which means you can choose to see it in a way that’s frightening and disempowering or in a way that’s attractive and empowering. The more fun you’ll mentally create in the activity, the less fear you’ll feel, and the easier it’ll be to do it.

If there is something you have to or want to do, but it is frightening and you don’t know how to proceed, take 15 to 30 minutes to find the fun in it: how other people may have fun doing it, how it uses the same skills as things you like, etc.

It will build the positive anticipation until there is nothing you can do except doing it. Once you’re done, come and share your experience in the comments!

How to be better than MacGyver

If you’ve ever seen a few MacGyver episodes (and who hasn’t?), you almost certainly witnessed some bomb almost explode. Disarming a bomb with only 1 second left is one of MacGyver’s specialty (along with creating all sorts of devices with chewing gum and duct tape). Though defusing a difficult situation only moments before it’s too late is a great ploy to create tension and emotion in the viewer, it also happens quite often in daily life.


photo credit: psd

You have deadlines, taxes to pay, DVDs to return, meeting presentations to prepare, etc. What all these situations have in common is that they cause significant pain (financial, emotional, etc) if you don’t take care of them in time. You may push them back for a while, but the closer you are to the deadline, the more your brain is obsessed with it. At some point, you will drop everything else and take care of the hot potato. In order to deal with it, you might do it yourself, ask your friends for help or even hire a freelancer.

Whatever it takes.

What happens is that the mind doesn’t want to be bothered with it, so it tries to avoid it as much as possible, until it gets real, and realizes there’s no way to escape it.

What happens when you have to do it? You bring up the big guns. And you make it.

Being a hero

Being a hero is about having the courage to do what’s right, what has to be done, when most people wouldn’t.

But when you do what is necessary to make that deadline, you are a hero, you save the day.

I might means you called in all your favors, you dropped or put on hold what wasn’t really important, but you fought, and you won.

But who decided you had to wait until the last moment to do what heroes do?

Everyday hero

You know that when the pressure is right, when you’re close to the end, you find a way to do it.

So how come you always wait until the last moment to invoke these resources?

You don’t need the gloom of the eleventh hour to call your friends and ask for help, or to set aside time and energy to deal with your obligations. Use the resources you have.

Imagine it is the eleventh hour, give yourself an earlier deadline, and be a hero. Not only it will remove some stress from your life, it will also train you to use the best resources for the job, while keeping your mind on your passions.

Let’s say that you spend a week every month dreading some project you have to get done. If you can gather the resources and get it done before the stress comes up, you instantly gain 12 weeks a year that your mind can spend on a subject that you love instead of one that you dread.

I’m not saying it’ll clear your all schedule, but it might clear up a lot of the background processing of your brain, allowing it to be free to enjoy and be passionate instead of being tense and unhappy.

It’s simple to be better than MacGyver, gather all your knowledge and resources and deal with the bomb as soon as you have the tools to defuse it at your disposal, instead of waiting until your mind can’t simply hide it anymore.

Tell us in the comments how you are better than MacGyver.

How a system can help you attain your goal

Who needs another constraint in their lives? Between jobs, opening hours, taxes, and other rules, systems have a bad rep. Not surprising, they are limiting your freedom.

The magic box

motion gears -team force
photo credit: ralphbijker

But systems aren’t all bad, if you learn to use them well, they can be used to help you attain your goals.

How come?

  • They give a direction, helping you visualize the goal
  • They create space to focus
  • In time, they provide the comfort of a known situation and process

But be careful, not all systems are created equal.

Think outside the box

For a system to be truly effective for you, its goals and limitations need to be clear, which means, you have to look at it from the outside.

No system if all-encompassing, they are all limited. Decide what you want a system for, and look for the limits of the system, so that you are not subconsciously constrained by them.

Let’s take an example. If you want to do some exercise to keep in shape, you know that a certain regularity is needed. Depending on how you feel in your body and mind, you could need to show up once a week, or every day.

Let’s say you decide to run twice a week, every Tuesday and Friday, at 6.30 am, for 30 minutes, before you go to work. So, that’s your system. Sounds good? Take a minute to imagine what its limits are.

Done? Here’s what I came up with:

  • I have to wake up one hour earlier than usual. Can I do it?
  • What happens when I’m tired or don’t feel like running?
  • What if it rains?
  • If for whatever reason I miss one day, do I try to catch up the next day or do I just skip it?

These are all questions which hit the limits of the system. When building a system, you want to make sure that all aspects are covered so it’s effective. For example:

  • Find a running buddy to get support and accountability, it’s way easier to show up when someone’s counting on you.
  • Run everyday (or 5 days a week), so it can become a habit and you don’t have to change your all routine each odd day you planned to run.
  • Decide beforehand the amount of rain you’re willing to sustain, and a contingency plan in case you can’t run, don’t skip!
  • Be willing to change the plan if it’s for a better one long-term, otherwise, you’ll simply destroy the system for a short-term gain.

Every habit or lifestyle decision we make is in its own way a system. I am a vegetarian, my system is that I don’t eat meat or fish, even if they are the only things available (never happened). I trust and depend on that system. I know that when I started, had I tried to be vegetarian, I wouldn’t have been able to cope to the social pressure, but I created a box, a system, then trusted and followed it. It’s been 19 months, and counting.

Create within the box

Now that you’ve built the box, it is time to have fun and be creative. The system is meant to help you show up, and in the long term, attain your goal. But once you’ve showed up, it’s up to you to create whatever you want. You can make a challenge to run 10 miles in 90 minutes, or run slowly for 30 minutes then sprint until you’re exhausted.

If you want to create a system to help you write a book, the system will need to give you both limits (you can’t do anything else for an hour) and a space to create (you have a full hour to create!). You could try to write the worst draft you possibly can on one day, then the best one the next. Make it entertaining.

Me? I’m trying raw food, new ingredients, new ways of preparing and consuming food. I am much clearer on the effects of food on my body and mind. When you try different things, you learn. The system allows you to try.

Love the box

Ultimately, a system helps you show up, it works if you trust it enough to respect and follow it, so that it becomes a dependable part of your life.

Once you depend on a system, you don’t need to worry so much about your goal. If you run three times a week with a partner, each and every week, you won’t worry anymore that you “should” do something to keep in shape, it’ll be taken care of, by the system.

What’s one system that allows you to thrive?