My friend and business coach, and someone who is partly responsible for the success of my marriage and business partnership solvency, is Larry Miller of Momentum Coaching. Following is the second of the visualization exercises for a winning attitude that Larry taught me to get through tough times:
Visualization 2: Respect the Wall—It’s There to Guide You
Larry explains an important analogy: “Do race car drivers know that there’s a cement wall next to them while they’re driving two hundred miles an hour? Of course they do. It’s there to warn them, not to crash into. Rather than fear the wall, they respect the wall, even value the wall for guidance.” The same philosophy applies when you’re under pressure and feeling emotional. Like the cement wall, your emotions should guide you, not run your life. They can be your best friend, instead of your enemy. They tell you what you need to know, not what you feel like hearing. Emotions are a wake-up call, telling you that there’s something you need to address, not a weight to carry around your neck. How we respond to our emotions—whether we fear them or respect their feedback and guidance—is the difference between victimhood and self-empowerment.
As Larry puts it, “Feeling an uncomfortable emotion like fear or anxiety is a feedback signal that something is out of alignment with our core values and intentions. The emotion is checking to be sure that you have everything under control. Imagine you’re driving your car down the freeway and drift off to the right on the bumpy strips on the side of the road. The bumpy strips have a noisy, bouncy response to the car wheels. It is their job to be irritating, to grab our attention and let us know we are off course a bit. And we choose our response to them. We can be irritated at the noise and bouncing of our car, even voice a few profanities in response. Or we can choose to be grateful for their feedback, jarring as it might be. We can choose to feel relief and gratitude for their interruption— they’re just doing their job to keep us alert and on course when we seem to have wandered a bit. Feeling the emotions and then letting them know you are back on track and have it handled will let them relax and go quietly back on sentry duty. Ignoring them will only invite them to continue their interruption and respond even more forcefully until they feel heard. While some days you may have enough uncomfortable thoughts and feelings to fill a bus, you’re always the one driving. Don’t ignore the turbulence that enters your mind and affects your feelings, because the longer you ignore it, the bigger it becomes. Welcome it, appreciate this message you’ve been given, and then remember that you are the driver of the car, no matter how many concerned passengers you have.”