How to Face a New Challenge with Hope (Rather than Dread)
You’re fully committed.
And you have no idea how you’re going to accomplish it.
Ever been there?
What did you do?
Frantically start researching?
Beg a friend or mentor for help?
Freak out for days, weeks, or months? Even years?
Or, all of the above, like me?
What Happens When You’re Faced with the Unknown
You like knowing how to do things well, right?
And you like knowing how they’re going to turn out.
When you’re tackling something new, you probably don’t know either.
Scary, isn’t it?
That’s because it feels like your survival depends on knowing…how to do things and what the result will be.
No matter how excited you are about your new project or possibility, it triggers the fear that you might die, because you don’t know.
A Matter of Survival
“Wait!” you’re thinking. “Did she say I feel like I might die? It’s not that bad.”
You’re good at convincing yourself it will be OK, even if you panic along the way. Right?
That means you talk yourself out of the feeling that your life is threatened.
Actually, you bury it.
Which is OK. It has kept you alive so far.
But, living in survival mode takes a toll.
That buried feeling isn’t gone. It’s insidiously building up inside.
Have you noticed that each time you face a new unknown, it feels a little harder? A bit more exhausting?
You think, “I don’t know if I can do this again!”
That’s because you’re dragging around more and more of that buried negative feeling.
The Point You Entered Survival Mode
It was way back. Sometime in early childhood.
From conception until age 2 1/2, your brain was a sponge.
Its job was to absorb how people around you felt about being themselves, and turn it into how you feel about being yourself.
This absorbing process was supposed make more and more good for you.
It was meant to allow the core of who you are to expand and fit well with your surroundings.
The energy that makes up your core is what I call natural well-being. It’s the feeling that you are all good being exactly the way you are.
So, the feeling you absorbed from other people was meant to expand your natural well-being.
But, there’s a flaw to being human, and it threw you into survival mode.
The Underlying Flaw in Humanity
Do you know how your parents or other early caregivers felt about being themselves when you were young?
Even if you don’t know specifics, you can answer this question: Did they feel wonderful every second they were around you?
Of course, not.
Humans have bad moments, bad days, bad years.
From those bad times, your sponge-brain soaked up the feeling that there is something wrong being human.
And, it became personal…it was stored as the feeling that there is something wrong with you being just the way that you are.
This Learned Distress® is the flaw that shoved you into survival mode.
The 6 Survival Mechanisms
Gradually, Learned Distress overwhelmed your core well-being.
You had to keep moving forward, in spite of it. So, your brain formed a survival mechanism to handle the daily onslaught of the feeling that there’s something wrong with you.
Learned Distress comes in many flavors and can be triggered by circumstance, such as encountering a new unknown.
“There’s something wrong with me not knowing how to do this, already, or not knowing how it will turn out.”
In response, your survival mechanism kicks in. You might recognize yours here from the most common:
- I need help from someone else.
- I need to do this the right way, so I’ll research and see how other people would do it.
- I need to work hard to create an ideal result.
- I need crisis, so I’ll let this spin out of control and then find a way to overcome it.
- I need to do things my own way, so I’ll just pretend I know how to do this and figure it out as I go.
- I need everything to fail, so my failure at this task will serve as further proof. (Yes, really, this is a survival mechanism, and it’s the way some people move through their entire lives.)
Is There a Better Way?
Did you recognize the way you handle life?
Maybe you’re thinking, “Well, yeah, that’s just how life is. Why even bother talking about it?”
Because, Learned Distress may have overwhelmed it, but your core well-being is still there.
What would a life based on well-being be like?
Actually, it goes step further.
Learned Distress and natural well-being are stored in your sense of self.
This feeling storage bank is not just the filter through which you experience life or the way in which you respond to it.
Your sense of self is actually generating every moment of your life from the feelings it stores. Automatically, without any conscious input or control.
So, all those negative situations weren’t just triggering the feeling that there is something wrong with you.
The feeling that something is wrong with you generated those situations.
So, let me rephrase my earlier question.
What would a life generated from your core well-being be like?
How Survival Looks Close Up
I’m in the process of training my first group of Quanta Change Guides.
This is something I knew was coming for years, and I was fully committed.
And yet, I had no idea how to do it.
As I pondered, all of my survival mechanisms kicked in.
I looked to my own training as a Quanta Change Guide. But, I had just glued myself to the founder of this work and absorbed everything I could. It wasn’t a structure I could use to train multiple people. Strike one.
I told friends and colleagues what I needed the outcome to be, and they had no ideas for me. Strike two.
I looked at schools and training programs for other helping professions. I found no good fit. Strike three.
I spent years in quiet desperation, believing much of the time that I just wasn’t going to find the right way. Strike four.
The only option left was to take my own medicine.
What a Big Dose of Quanta Change Did
Actually, I’d been working on this issue for years, so it was just a matter of knocking off a couple more layers of, “Help, I don’t know how!!!”
Quanta Change work in this arena of “I don’t know” centers on trusting and allowing one’s core well-being to show the way.
It’s about trusting in one’s own uniqueness, which is the opposite of looking to people or other models for the answer. Having said that, answers that come from our natural well-being will often point us to existing knowledge, if it’s really a perfect fit.
In this case, I felt drawn back to the training for my first career as a professional violinist. Instead of being about book learning and training, it’s about immersion and mastery over years and decades, from which one then uses to teach.
Once I was ready to start my first Quanta Change Guide class, I just knew this was the only way to do it, despite the fact that I was completely ignoring any conventions or rules for training in this arena.
I challenged my own fear that “I don’t know enough” by inviting two long-time therapists with 50+ years of experience and a few Ivy League degrees between them. I said, “I have no idea how you trained to do your current job, but here’s how you’re going to become a Quanta Change Guide.”
And then, I started teaching in the way professional violinists learn to play and teach.
It felt right to me, but I really knew I was on the right track they started saying things like, “This is what school should have been,” and, “Wow, this immersion model is the best way to learn. I’m starting to think from this perspective naturally.”
As is always the case with big Quanta Change, the shift taking my own unique direction has felt natural and easy to me. Not once have I felt like I had to figure anything out or push hard to make something happen. It has just been fun, and it’s working.
Is Survival Worth the Toll It Takes?
Is your survival mechanism even working for you?
Are you getting the results you want?
Are you happy with the status quo?
Or, is it getting exhausting to muscle that same boulder up the same old hill?
Are you tired of dreading the next new challenge, sure that this time, you really will fail?
Here’s the thing.
Your core well-being isn’t just a little better than surviving your Learned Distress.
It’s a LOT better.
It’s better than you can even imagine.
So, what are you waiting for?
Things are changing faster than ever in the world, and you, like everyone else, can use all the help you can get to keep moving forward.
And, the world could really use the good that will come from your well-being.
What if you could live with more ease than ever before and serve the world with your uniqueness?
That is what is waiting to be uncovered…right inside of you!