Eating cake might seem like a bad idea – with the residual holiday weight gain (yes, I know we're coming up on May, but some of us are still working through it!) and all – but I’m not talking about real cake. What I’m talking about is the ability to recognize what you want and go for it. It is so easy to give up, say it’s too hard, and just do whatever we have always been doing. The real gain comes when we push ourselves to do more. However, this push is often the mechanism that starts our fear.
What if I make a mistake? What if I can’t do this? What if I look stupid in the process? These are real stories that we tell ourselves. They come from childhood, prior life experiences, and our inability to see ourselves clearly. It becomes a vicious cycle – our values and beliefs drive our thoughts and feelings, our thoughts and feelings drive our decisions, our decisions drive our actions and behaviors, and our actions and behaviors drive results. If I believe I am going to make a fool out of myself in trying this new “thing,” then I start from a place of failure. The rest of the cycle literally will stop me dead in my tracks. Why would I take this risk if I believe that I will fail?
So… now what? Back to my opening statement: that life is short, so you should eat the cake. For one day, be aware of the story you are telling yourself. What does your inner voice say to you? Are you beating yourself up, failing before you even start, and looking for reasons not to begin in the first place? If you don’t know what your inner voice is saying, start with consciously choosing to be quiet and listen. In order to eat the cake, you have to pick up the fork – the metaphorical fork of understanding yourself, that is.
Once you start to connect to your story, challenge yourself daily with the following questions:
- What am I afraid of?
- What if I’m wrong?
- What if I can really do this?