Focus on setting your frequency, share your energy, and it will attract the things you desire. Don’t believe me? Try it for a few days. Allow your authentic self to shine and speak openly about your passions. The response will overwhelm you.
I’d like to share a few examples of how this is happening for me. But first, let me give you some background. In April of this year, I committed to finding my true self by “Braving the Wilderness” as Brené Brown would put it. Except it wasn’t as planned or brave as that.
I actually didn’t even realize I had lost myself (veered off my own happiness path) until I took the leap. In April, I was offered a temporary consulting position to go support a short-term project for an organization needing help with closing a financial gap. The gap in financial performance was caused by a shrinking economy in their market. I wasn’t really looking for a new job, I actually enjoyed my current job, and I was quite comfortable in it, but the opportunity to partner on a project like this piqued my interest and my gut told me to go for it – so I did.
After committing to the project, I gave my current employer of nearly 9 years notice that I was leaving. The next week I found myself in the emergency room with shortness of breath, tightness in my chest, extreme fatigue, and dizziness. It felt like I was swimming with an anchor attached and I was constantly being pulled under the water’s surface. For those of you that have experienced anxiety, you likely recognize these symptoms. The sensation of having all your energy rush from the top of your head and out of your toes like a wave of fear, leaving you with a chill, was completely foreign to me. This was my first dance with anxiety and I lacked the tools to cope.
Since its onset, I have had to learn to practice courage over comfort and lean in to the anxiety, answering some very hard questions about what I was afraid of. To do this, I started reading, got back in the habit of running, added meditation and journaling to my regimen, tried to get clear on what my goals were, and who I wanted to be when I grew up.
Thanks to this commitment of leaning into my anxiety, I have benefited from a lot of self-discovery. That isn’t to say, I have a revelation about my authentic self every time I have anxiety. Sometimes I am just straight up miserable and the spiral continues downward, other times I manage to catch myself and work through the process which Brené Brown refers to as “the reckoning, the rumble, and the rise.”
I read somewhere that anxiety was like a spoke on a bike wheel. Closest to the hub of the wheel, while spinning, the spoke turns quickly. As you move further from the hub, the spoke’s spin is less frequent. The author explained that anxiety can be similar. That your anxiety will be frequent early on, spinning quickly and constantly. But that over time, as you moved away from the hub (or catalyzing event, which in my case was quitting my job), the spinning would become less frequent and volatile. Not that the anxiety would go away, it would just come on less frequently and go more quickly.
I am now several months in, and to be honest, I underestimated the grip that anxiety can have. Honestly, I expected to be back in control at this point since I had the mental fortitude to complete two Ironman races last fall, just 14 days apart. I thought for sure my body and mind could adapt to stress like this with ease. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
Allow me to share some advice, when it comes to change and working through anxiety, don’t give yourself a timeline, and don’t minimize how much gravity your old comfort zone will have on the new you – it will fight you tooth and nail. The old comfort zone is perceived safety, and the new territory your are exploring is terrifying – your mind thinks it is protecting you when it resists change. This is why you have to pay special attention to signs along the way.
Try to accept that the path to the new you, more so, the authentic you. The path is going to be riddled with uncertainty, but it is also going to be marked with subtle sign posts that encourage you to keep going. For me, I have blown past several of these signs while anxious. I was simply too overcome to see anything but a giant blur. When I am successful at staying present and am actively participating in the anxiety, I see the signs vividly.
I try to make it a habit of recounting these signs while journaling. In this morning’s entry I was searching for some evidence that I was on the right path. As soon as I asked the question, “Is this what I should be doing, isn’t it safer to just fit in and go back to my comfort zone?”, I realized that by standing out, talking openly about my passions, and committing to stay this new course, I have enjoyed new experiences and unexpected connections of friendship. Below are three things I know would not have happened if I wasn’t on this new journey.
The first connection occurred while teaching Change Leadership a few weeks ago. When talking about engaging people’s hearts at work, connecting them to purpose, I struck a cord with a learner. As I talked, the person began to well up with tears and so did I. We took a break to catch our breathes. Over break the person hugged me and thanked me for caring so much about other people. They shared that they were excited to be learning some tools to help others embrace and actively participate in change.
The second connection occurred a couple of days ago. I was having a cup of coffee with a few friends that are also starting a new business. During coffee we got to talking about our passions, and the topic of unleashing the creativity of others came up. All of us got really excited about helping others reach their full potential through strategic communication in their case, and waging war on bad process in my case (as Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt, the equivalent of an super nerd). At the end of our meeting, the young lady at the table next to us stopped by our table and thanked us for brightening her day. She made sure to connect with each of us and get our contact information. I am actually having coffee with this person this week, and I cannot wait.
The last example pertains to a project opportunity I am learning about. The project is still in bidding, but the lead on the project wanted to be proactive and start recruiting a team to support the work should they win the bid. During the discovery call, someone asked the lead why they wanted to do this project. The lead’s response filled my cup. The response was they wanted to help the organization get better by helping the people of that organization be their best.
If you who love to compare story lines of unrelated events, you have already detected that key theme exists. It can probably be said a hundred different ways, but for me, the theme I was able to derive was that because I have expressed passion about helping others, those that are passionate about doing the same have sought me out. In other words, I have put my energy out there and those with the same frequency have responded. As mentor often says, “put it out in the Universe, expect that good things will happen, and they will.”
I shared these examples as evidence that once you commit to something. Once you create energy about that something, the energy will be reciprocated. I hope these experiences encourage you to take risks, to embrace change, and to lean in to your fears. As you do, look for signals in your own journey back to your true self, they are everywhere.
This article was originally posted to LinkedIn on October 8, 2019. To join the conversation on LinkedIn, please use the following link – (https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/setting-your-frequency-thomas-west-asq-mbb/)
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