When I was twelve years old, I went on a cross country road trip with my family. We stopped in many places along the way, taking in the sites. While we were at Glacier National Park we visited a bear sanctuary. My brother, who has always had a mild obsession with bears was ecstatic.
We went around the park, with camcorder in hand. And we now have a home video of bears being super cute and my brother asking every other second, “Did you get that?”
Followed by my Dad responding, “Yeah, I got it!”
As I reached a new level of putting myself out there with the release of my first book last fall, I felt like my brother in that video. I would send an email, then constantly check to see if I’d gotten a response. Or I’d post a video on social and continually check Facebook to see if people liked it. “Did you get that?” I’d ask in my head.
Only the response isn’t usually instantaneous like it was in our home video. And when there’s silence on the other end I would get triggered. As cortisol started coursing through my body, I would begin to makeup a story about how I’m not good enough, never was and never will be because I’m not playing the game right…my inner critic would go on and on in this fashion, talking harshly and being super mean, which was exhausting and demoralizing.
It’s a vicious cycle and unsustainable. There’s no upside to constantly asking, “Did you get that?” Occasionally there’s the timely positive reinforcement I sought. But generally people weren’t anxiously waiting for me to email them or say something on social. Turns out people have lives that don’t revolve around me (or you).
And what I’ve learned is that the only way for me to put myself out there and sustain these efforts is if I stop checking for instant gratification and instead move onto something else. I experimented with a number of different techniques to interrupt my pattern so I wouldn’t sink into despair when I didn’t receive instant gratification from my efforts to put myself out there.
I tried to remind myself that I don’t give to get. I wrote affirmations for myself. I would go for a walk. I deleted the Facebook app from my phone. I called a friend. And I wrote in my journal. Each of these tactics helped me get a little more perspective. They enabled me to take back my power by interrupting my pattern to need validation from others and instant gratification.
As I’ve spoken with more and more Misfit Entrepreneurs over the years, I’ve learned that the emotional roller coaster ride we are on is largely fueled from putting yourself out there. The emotional risk and exposure when it’s your idea, your baby is great. And the potential fallout feels more severe when you’ve put your own livelihood on the line. Despite these commonalities, each Misfit Entrepreneur’s emotional roller coaster ride is different and unique to the individual.
Developing awareness of your own triggers and automatic responses is essential. Yours very well may be different from my own. One thing that’s helped me develop a deeper awareness of my own triggers and automatic responses has been stepping out in new and different ways. Whenever we enter new situations or challenges, we are presented with a pristine opportunity to deepen self-awareness. So take a moment to appreciation those frustrations you’re feeling, painful as they may be – they’re a gift that’ll allow you to grow in new and unexpected ways.
My journal has been a saving grace for me to overcome these obstacles, because it is a safe place to process what’s happened, how I feel about it and what I can do to move past it. I’ve learned that the first step is to identify the pattern. Then to experiment with different techniques for interrupting my predominant pattern.
Here are a few reflection questions I’ve pondered to help me re-write my limiting patterns and change the course of the emotional roller coaster ride from putting myself out there:
- When does putting myself out there trigger a negative/fearful response within me?
- What patterns of behavior/thought do I automatically do when I’m triggered?
- What possibilities do I make available to myself by removing this pattern?
- What ways can I experiment with interrupting this pattern?
Share your own experiences and lessons learned with us in the comments. In what ways do you feel stuck? What helps you navigate the emotional roller coaster ride of being a Misfit Entrepreneur?
What’s Rosabella Consulting Up To?
This past week, I have enjoyed porch time at the Rosabella Consulting office! It’s the perfect place to sit and write by myself, or have meetings with clients. I’ve been meeting with colleagues I haven’t seen in years to catch up, as well as coaching clients. And I’ve been preparing for a few exciting Conversational Intelligence trainings coming up!
I start most of my mornings, sitting on the porch, watching people come and go, and writing in my journal. Speaking of writing, I used my porch time to work on a few articles to publish on LinkedIn, this one just came out yesterday!