The heart pounds. I begin to sweat. My lizard brain talks more shit than a 13-year old on her fourth energy drink of the morning.
Who do you think you are? What makes you think you can pull this off? You'll probably give up like the last time. Leave the important work to the smart people.
Lizzie means well, but she's our frenemy. Her sole concern is to keep us safe by any means necessary, and she gets uncomfortable when we begin to stray from the herd. Lizzie thinks the sky is falling with something as minor as changing our hairstyle, so when we contemplate big dreams, she freaks the fuck out.
Here's the thing: Lizzie ain't going nowhere.
We're stuck with our lizard brains, so instead of fighting her, we have to use strategies to neutralize her or agree to living a bubble-wrapped life.
As I've been fleshing out a new project, Lizzie has been in full effect. Lots of smack talk. In the past, I've listened to her as playing it safe is my preferred state if not what I necessarily end up doing. I am a reluctant risk taker after all.
But as Anäis Nin put it, "The day came when the risk it took to remain tightly closed in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to bloom." It's more uncomfortable to stay in my warm little cocoon than it is to take on the scary.
Four Ways to Dial Lizzie Down
Dial Back: As I wrote about last week, if taking the long view makes Lizzie sound the warning bells, focus on the next step or two instead of the hundred or so between you and your goal. What About Bob? your way to the finish line with baby step after baby step. We can handle learning something new, but looking at the abyss of Everything I Do Not Know and Need to Learn can shut us down. What's your next step? Do that.
Take Action: Moving forward lets Lizzie know you're serious and that what you're planning is also do-able. It also lets you feel more in control because you're rocking your awesome and have ample tools to handle challenging situations. What our Lizzie dreams up is far more frightening than the reality, so Doing provides the evidence that we are more than capable of handling it and makes Lizzie a little less vocal.
Reach Out: Find a community of people who understand the lizard brain and won't keep you weak by agreeing with Lizzie's bullshit. For me it's been the fantabulous group of women involved in Sandi Amorim and Jenny Bones' Summer Camp for Solopreneurs. Posting our fears and the crap Lizzie spouts has helped us see the crazy, and where one of us doesn't have answers, another does. You don't have to join a class–find a community of right people and speak your worst fears there. You'll find you're not alone as well as a host of solutions for whatever problem you're facing.
Let Lizzie Have Her Say: Fighting Lizzie never works. I listen. I acknowledge. Sometimes I freak way out. Parse what she's saying–is there any truth in what she's saying? Is there something you're missing? Or does she just need to worry over you like a mama cat with her kittens and then she'll take a nap? As long as you recognize her job is to keep you safe, you don't have to treat her like the enemy. Acknowledge her fears, let her know you've got it covered, and she should step back until you do that next crazy thing you're thinking about.
Ain't No Stoppin' Us Now…
We all have our lizard brain to contend with. The question is, are you going to let it stop you from going after what you want? Again? I have let Lizzie keep me on the kiddie rides for far too long. It's time for the big girl rides. What about you?
I'd love to hear more from you, my rock star readers.
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Image by: Richard Masoner