Direction versus Speed: How to Run From Fear and Go Nowhere Fast
"Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it."
- Ferris Bueller
The Road to 100% Responsibility
Sometimes the most obvious truths can be the hardest ones to accept.
As a functional health coach, I do my absolute best to walk-my-talk. I am ruthlessly efficient with my analysis of restaurant menus, supplement labels, and exercise regimes. I park farther from the store to get in a few extra steps while soaking up each sweet ray of vitamin-D synthesizing sunlight. And I practice stress-relieving practices like deep breathing, hot yoga, and…. work breaks?
After pondering this situation recently while adjusting the color-coding on my 7 Google Calendars, I realized that I may have learned some bad habits living here in the human zoo:
- The belief that logic, logistics, and efficiency should ALWAYS be prioritized over creativity, play, and rest
- The belief that if my work productivity ever drops or slows, that my value as a person will drop right along with it
- The belief that my financial income will directly correlate to how hard I push the limits of my capacity to hustle, perfect, and accomplish
Our trusted resource Dr. Brené Brown has plenty to share about these very dangerous and fallacious beliefs in her book The Gifts of Imperfection, which we highly recommend to anyone charting their own personal growth journey.
I read that book myself about a year ago, along with a steady diet of other self-help and personal growth resources since then. The thing is, while I had logically integrated their lessons into my prefrontal cortex in a very sensible and reasonable way, my heart and soul still covertly clung to the aforementioned patterns of being in my day-to-day existence.
I knew that I SHOULD sufficiently play and relax, while still not actually incorporating those values into my actions.A very old, and very wise man once said:
How to Detox from the Hustle
As I value seeking counsel from those farther down the paths I intend to travel, my new mission was to observe the firsthand results of slowing down and letting go of my self-limiting beliefs regarding work expectations. If I released the death-grip on needing to get things done, what might flow from it?
I set my first goal as a simple one: Take one day off from everything. And I mean EVERYTHING. I cleared my personal and work schedules, completely turned off my phone, and let time and space crawl to a halt. The symphony of high-speed thought trains intersecting on precision timetables was about to slooooowwwwww to…a..…grinding…….
Shit was about to get real.
Incidentally, this is my favorite techniques for radical self-care: the Zero-Compromises Block of Time. This beautiful practice involves one main premise: Do what you want, when you want, how you want, with sole purpose of completely honoring your needs as a human being. Hungry? Stop and eat. Quick 5-minute snack or cook a 5-hour full gourmet meal? Choice is all yours.
You deserve it, so f*cking take it.
Feels good, right? Same goes for all the rest of your needs: sleep, movement, sexuality, creativity, rest, and authenticity. More on that last one in a bit, but first I needed some rest.
I started off with a good cry. Given the time and space to breathe even for a few hours, formerly stuck emotions flowed through me with relative ease. Having cleared a path for the flow of fresh energy, I moved on.
The sunshine and a brisk walk were calling my name, so out the door I went. After a few blocks of moving with ease in no particular direction, I stopped by a storm drain to listen to the water gently caressing the metal grate and falling towards the earth below. After a luxuriously deep breath, I looked up to see the words “SLOW DOWN” in an array of momentarily unlit bulbs on a traffic sign ahead.
Nice call, Universe.
I called this bet and decided to re-raise. Really sink into the experience of letting go of ALL expectations to forcibly push farther outside my self-constructed box. As I walked back towards the house, I was stopped in my tracks by a small snail in my path. Let’s call him Steve. For the full conversation, catch the blow-by-blow here:
Learning to Trust in Abundance
Long story short, Steve taught me the value of letting go of not just the control of my own path, but also the micromanaging of others. My first instinct was to “save” him by moving him out of “dangerous” path he was confidently moving along. But after sitting with him (literally) for 15 minutes, I realized that maybe Steve was the one who really had it all figured out. He was cool as a cucumber, doing his own thing while until just a few hours before I had been hustling non-stop. For YEARS on-end without a break in sight.
Yet somehow, Steve’s world not ending. Not even a little. He cruised out to the middle of the sidewalk, slowly but surely, and made his way back in in good time. Accomplishing his goals with ease.
Damn, that was smooth. Slow, sustainable, and smooth.
And in that moment, I felt it. The decisive shift of intention. I saw what it could look like to TRUST in the universe to provide abundance. I visualized how I was getting in my own way and could instantly see how to remove myself as my own biggest roadblock. I saw how taking the time to truly step up and practice self-care, rather than pretending to, could result in exponential efficiency over the short-term approach of continuous hustle.
My humble recommendation to you is: Don’t make the same mistake I did.
I kept pushing harder and harder, hoping I could outrun my fears, self-shame, and true vulnerability. I hoped I could just “cross the finish line” to “success” with my relationships, business, and parenting without ever battling those pesky inner demons that lurked down in the depths. I knew they were there but thought I could handle my “important business” first and get back to them later.
Basically, this approach kicked my ass. Wiped me out. Dried up my creativity. Dampened the spring in my step. Ironically, my fears of failure led me straight down that path I feared most: waking up each morning feeling that omnipresent sense of scarcity. “I wasn’t enough”, “I didn’t have enough”, and “I wasn’t accomplishing enough”. As someone who has the drive to create a huge positive impact in the world, this felt quite literally like a crushing weight on my soul.
And as such, I struggled to take full breath of life.
My white-knuckled approach to creating “productivity” in my life was pushing away the very things I wanted the most: appreciation, connection, belonging, and significance. From others, and most importantly from myself.
Own your Story, or it Owns You
Since unloading that heavy barbell of expectations off my impossibly tired shoulders in that single instance, I’m happy to say that the insights and breakthroughs have been steadily flowing like water down a river.
In the days since, I’ve allowed myself the mental space to create, make important decisions, and provide help to those around me in ways that the fear of tireless productivity previously prohibited. I supported friends, I played and rested to refill my cup, and took off that pressure that was suffocating me.
Consequently, once I saw how it felt to truly walk in my own power I finally gave myself to the permission to FULLY show up in my own life. Genuine authenticity has been a way-point on the horizon for years that the endless detours of my fears had made impossible to reach.
Well I’m happy to say, no more.
From this day forward, Chad T Grant is no longer hiding from himself or others. Win, lose, or draw, I commit to standing up and fully speaking my truth. I have valuable gifts to give to the world, and I will to do my absolute best each day to share as many as possible.
Fears that block my fullest expression and value have to go.
I stand perfectly imperfect, and I know that there are more personal inner demons that need purging in due time.But this time, I’ve got this.