Day #1: Scaremonger's and Superhero's
My inner scaremonger was in full swing as I completed the final tweaks to launch headfirst into the (En)Lighten Up! experiment.
As a reminder, when I say 'my scaremonger', remember that I mean 'that part of me that gets all doom and gloom and holds me back from being my best...
So this is how day #1 played out, and what I learned...
Day #1: The Scaremonger and the Superhero
It might seem trivial but consider this little example from today and whether a scaremonger you know has the tendency to stifle your progress and suffocate your creative expression...
Scaremonger: "You can't launch (En)Lighten Up! yet! You haven't figured out how to send your posts across different social media channels - figure it out man! You’re going to be wasting your time - people aren't going to read it and the whole thing will be worthless....just...like...you" said with those last 3 words trailing ominously, spookily, eerily, just the way Scaremonger likes to roll.
Adrian: "But it doesn't really matter if people don't read it, this process will be valuable anyway - for me at least - don't you see that?"
Scaremonger: "Are you crazy, you think this self-indulgent experiment you're announcing will be valuable? Not for me!” said as if the scaremonger was the ‘real’ me.
Adrian: "I've thought this through. I believe in boldly taking this step forward - acknowledging the vulnerability. Scaremonger - you often hold me back, even though I assume you are only trying to help me somehow. Please support me on this - let the potential pitfalls be and ponder some positives?"
Scaremonger: "That's not my style, you know that! If you want a superhero, why the fudge are you here talking to me?"
Sidenote- Scaremonger uses more colourful language than 'fudge', but I thought it best to add a little censorship - at list for day #1 - as I don't want to offend anyone so early in the experiment.
Adrian: "Aha - a superhero! That gives me an idea. Thanks Scaremonger"
Scaremonger: "An idea?"
Adrian: "I'm going to call on my superhero so I can step boldly into the unknown - embrace the vulnerability of exposing the trials and tribulations of conscious living via this mindful experiment known as (En)Lighten Up!"
Superhero: "I'm here! How can I help? Actually, I already know how to help - I've been here waiting for you to summon my presence"
Imagine tooting trumpets "Da da-da Daa!"
Superhero: "I have some powers I think can help you right now, what do you say?"
Adrian: "Sounds good - what are they?"
Superhero: "Call on the power in you to follow these three steps...
Step 1: Pause
Pause and settle that busy head of yours for a moment. Seriously, don't skip this step thinking that you can shortcut your way to progress. Take a brief pause and get present to what is rather than continuing to entertain the turmoil in your head.
Ok, I have to stop everyone here for a pause within the pause. "Cool - inception pause" you say... Nope, let's not get swept away by memories of the Inception movie. Instead I need you to imagine another movie. The above scene is playing out as if it were that scene in the original Taken movie. No, not the one about his particular set of skills, the other one - when his daughter Kim is taken. Liam Neeson is acting as my Superhero - and he is talking to his daughter Kim (who is acting as Adrian - Me).
Superhero: "Now, the next part is very important, Scaremonger is going to take you. Stay focused baby, this is key. You will have 5 maybe 10 seconds..."
I hope you appreciated the dramatic effect but recognise that the reason for this was to paint the vivid picture of just how intense it can be to either be taken by our Scaremonger, or at least anticipate it. This is particularly the case when we've decided to take an opportunity to pause. It's almost like Scaremonger notices a moment of potential weakness and then strikes!
3-5 mins pass. Adrian pauses... then Scaremonger chimes in, Adrian accepts Scaremonger is there – easing frustration and judgment he finds stillness to return to his pause... And we continue to step #2
Step 2: Values
Superhero: “Call to mind your values. What do you value most, Adrian?”
Adrian: “I really value being a positive role model for those important to me. With this in mind, I think about my daughter and wanting to be a positive role model for her. More broadly, I think about the contribution I want to make through my life”
Superhero: “Great, what actions should you take to ensure launching your experiment that will best align with your values?”
Adrian: “To take a strong step forward and get going - even if the outcome and impact is uncertain. Even if there is vulnerability in putting myself out there, knowing that my actions are coming from a valued place and a motive to be of benefit to myself and others as much as possible.”
Superhero: “Now you are ready for Step #3. You know, Adrian, I see a parallel between holding your values in your mind and taking action in spite of what Scaremonger says, and Harry Potter cultivating his Stag Patronus Charm to handle the Demontors. It's like your spell or superpower. Cool huh?"
Adrian: "You mean, I'm a wizard?"
Superhero: "Ah, it was more a metaphor I thought you'd like. But, sure, embody the strength of a wizard if it helps you with Step #3 - now get on with it!"
Step 3: Mindful Action
Superhero: “You will need to be attentive now, Adrian. You are going to take actions to publish this post and launch the experiment mindfully. This means, progressing task by task, button click by button click, to publish as consciously and non-judgmentally as you can. Then, you’ll need to maintain your mindfulness to be as non-attached to the outcome of your efforts as you can be. The intention you will have brought into action will carry forward so you don’t need to preoccupy yourself right now with the outcome. Just take mindful action - now.