Tuesday, July 7, 2009

See the drop, make the hop.

Yesterday I climbed over some rocks and jumped into a rock-pool below. I probably looked like a man taking an unnecessary jump along with countless other men half his age. What I was actually doing was completing a daily exercise. This tool gives me focus, energy and inspiration. I call it “see the drop, make the hop”.

Over the past decade I have read many articles on expanding one’s comfort zone. The theory is that by completing tasks that we are intimidated by we are able to increase our confidence. By working outside of our comfort zone we are freed of fear. Every time one deals with these insecurities one gains power, strength, self-confidence and satisfaction. These are all invaluable feelings which, in daily life, allow us to ride the crest of the wave instead of drinking from it.

On a daily basis I confront every fear that I feel and treat it as a green light to proceed. Fear is an internal warning, not an instruction to stop. Whilst observing the jump from the rocks my first reaction was “that looks difficult – I would have probably taken that leap 10 years ago – not now though.” Normally one stops at this point. Instead I made a judgement based on the fear “warning” and not surprisingly decided that I could do it. As tasks go this was self-indulgent, even silly. As a metaphor to my mind it was the fulcrum for everything I would achieve for rest of the day. I took the jump and changed everything. Post-jump I felt confident, fulfilled and elated because I had dealt with my fear and surmounted it. In business I will often take over the responsibility for making difficult telephone call to a customer, investor, or supplier simply because I want to change the course of my day. By the end of the call I know I can do anything, and the “task-as-metaphor” tool enables me to take full control my attitude. Eventually one begins to actively seek out areas of discomfort to overcome as exciting opportunities

As practical mind tools go this is one of the simplest to use. Whenever you feel trepidation for a task or social interaction acknowledge the fear and treat it as sign to proceed. Instead of seeing it as problem, see it as an opportunity to super-charge your day. Prove to yourself that you can accomplish anything. Pick up the phone and speak to the “higher ups” in your organisation or walk confidently into the centre of a crowded room and proudly greet all those around you. Talk to that pretty girl or boy on the bus or, if you are a physical person, jump into a rock-pool.

The paralysis caused by timidity will snowball unless you deal with it. Once these feelings creep in they consume and begin to fill every level your existence. Before you know it you will be scared of your own shadow. Be brave and take control of your day by seeing the drop and making the hop.

Remember to congratulate yourself fully each time you do it as this helps to amplify its importance to your subconscious – and it feels good. You can include this as part of taking stock of your day ritual which I shall cover in another article.

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