I had a terrible day yesterday. I have 22 different business activities that I am tracking, and it felt like all of them were doomed. The pain of anxiety was like a wet towel on a cold morning. With my mind racing, I found it impossible to shake it and get to sleep.
I was in a different time zone, and I couldn’t do anything about these problems until tomorrow. I had a million answers running through my head. I had run through the problems, come up with a variety of answers, and none of the thoughts could calm my fear and nervousness.
“Sleep is important.” I kept telling myself, “I have to speak in the morning for 3 hours.” Yet, I couldn’t push out my worst fear. I am failing. I was panicking, and the latent feelings of impotency had set in like a tick.
Lately, I have been listening on Audible to a fascinating book by Tara Brach, PhD, called, “Radical Acceptance.” In the book, Dr. Brach describes a Buddhist practice of the “pause.” I am definitely not going to do it justice, but, in my ordinary mind, it meant when everything around you feels like it is going crazy…don’t go crazy…pause and figure out how you feel, why you feel that way, and then what you should do will come to you.
Now, I’m no Buddhist monk, and I don’t know how to find the answer within myself (although that would be cool). However, reading this did help me calm down. I stopped for a few minutes, laid on my back, and closed my eyes. I felt better after about 10 minutes of doing nothing and trying not to think about the problems.
Then, I got back to work, answered emails and calls for another three hours. Then, I fell asleep, woke up early, and went back to work.
I put all my current energy and focus into my speaking engagement, and it went well. I felt a little better. I got on the phone for the following 6 hours, and I put all my energy and focus fighting the fires that I knew about and attacking new fires that had arisen. I worked hard, and I did my best.
At the end of the day, I felt better. In fact, I felt good enough to call it a win. Most of the things I was worried about either were not as bad as I thought or got better through hard work.
What I Learned:
- The “pause” helped. I don’t know why, but it worked.
- Accepting the problems and understanding my fears made me less afraid.
- For some reason, when I work hard on things, they work out…not always, but most of the time.
- I am beginning to accept that I am going to fail, and it does not mean that I am a failure. In the immortal words of Dory from Finding Nemo, “Just keep swimming…”
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