We were having a drink, catching up. My friend was lamenting about his business. He shared he was hustling like a mad man, feeling like he was doing everything right, but things weren’t going as he hoped. He was disappointed, discouraged, confused, frustrated, and exhausted.
I listened and leaned in to the energy underneath his words. He’d used the word “fight” multiple times. I asked, “Why all the fight? How does the fight feel in your body?”
“Like a shock. Not good.”
I asked him to explore what the opposite of the fight would feel like. He thought about it for a long time. “Peaceful, relaxing, loving.”
For my friend, the fight was the contrast to his true nature. It was a way to experience challenges that provided growth. At the root were the deeper beliefs, “if it’s worth fighting for do it” and below that “if you don’t fight, you’re dead.” On a nonthinking level, he was not fighting to make his business successful as much as fighting for life.
Growing up he’d been picked on a lot as a child. As a young man, he joined the military and adopted a new mindset, “fight or die.” While that mindset was useful in combat, in life it was wearing him down. He was constantly worried that he wasn’t doing or being enough. He was wearing himself out.
He was at the behest of the part of him who wanted to fight to make up for all the years of being picked on. The fight, however, was not relaxing, peaceful or loving. The fight was the contrast for those feelings. The only way he was going to move through to those was to figure out what was needed to move from fighting to relaxed.
As we explored more, trust came up repeatedly. He agreed to do a daily mindfulness practice for a month and to challenge himself to relax every time he started feeling like he was fighting. I agreed to be his accountability person for the month and check in every couple days or serve as the point person if he needed some tough love or a pep talk to stay on track.
His mindfulness practice was very simple. He listened to “Venus” from Symphony of Planets while just focusing on his breath moving in and out of his body. We chose this song because Venus is called the “bringer of peace” and the Goddess Venus represents love. It’s only 8:33 long, so it is short enough to fit into even the busiest schedule. He shared that some days he’d do it more than once a day, but he’d always do it in the morning’s upon waking.
Breaking the habit of perfectionism, worry, and fighting was a challenging. It was his default mode. Eventually, he started relaxing more. He began to notice when he had to make a decision if he felt relaxed or not. He stopped saying yes when it felt like a fight. He said yes a few times when “no” felt like a fight. Three major deals came through in that month and another took an unexpected turn that on the onset looked like a disaster but turned out to be good. His health improved, too. Without trying, he lost 10 pounds. the chronic pain he experienced decreased significantly, and he started sleeping better which increased his overall energy.
Changing a habit can be hard or easy. Adding positive activities leaves less time and energy for focusing on the old beliefs. My friend harnessed his energy normally put into fighting into relaxing and had significant results. Is it magic? No. We feed what we focus and when we focus on what we shouldn’t be or don’t want to be doing, we create resistance.
If you feel stuck, decide how you prefer to feel. See what you need to do to get there and then channel your energy into that action rather than focusing on what isn’t working. You’ll be surprised by how much it works!