If you've got a Vision, you've almost certainly experienced Vision Panic at some point (and more likely at multiple points). Vision Panic is typically some combination of overwhelm, paralysis, freaking out, crying, deciding to quit, getting angry at innocent bystanders, and attempting to tackle every challenge at once with a momentary burst of superhuman focus and energy that's quickly followed by exhaustion and collapse.
The good news is that if you're experiencing anything like this, you're probably climbing one hell of a mountain and birthing one hell of a vision. And, even more good news! I'm going to give you my go-to tool that will help you move through your Vision Panic more painlessly, effectively and quickly, so you can get back to creating.
I first talked about this tool last week in my Visionary's Journey video about Sadness from the movie Inside Out (catch that video here to learn about four more elements of the Journey). While Joy is more the main character of the movie, I found that the lessons we learn from Sadness are both profound and deeply important , for our lives as well as our businesses/Visions. This is at the heart of the tool I share here.
Be With Your Sadness
Visionaries like to be in action. We like to be coming up with ideas, mapping out strategies, creating solutions. All of these things are necessary if you want to get your vision out into the world--BUT. You also need stillness, and when that stillness gets filled with sadness you need to be able to sit with it.
Our instinct is often to push away sadness, to try to squash it, ignore it, power through it. Because (a) who likes feeling sad? And (b) we tend to equate sadness with a state of un-accomplishment, inaction, non-achievement, and why would we want to waste time there?
The problem is that sadness is a part of life, and it doesn't go away just because we want it to. And the energy we then put towards fighting it or pretending it isn't there actually slows us down in every other area, making us less effective, less focused, and less capable.Sadness is going to force us to slow down and feel it whether we want to or not, so you can either choose to accept it, feel it, learn from it and move on OR resist it, deny it, and live with its effects that much longer.
In the movie, Bing Bong, the imaginary friend who's being forgotten, is devastated when his "rocket ship" gets thrown in the dump (if you haven't seen the movie, just go with it). Joy tries to push him back into action so she can get on with her mission. She tells him everything will be alright, makes funny faces, does anything she can think of to pull him out of his feelings. He can't hear her.
Then Sadness sits down next to him and simply acknowledges his pain, acknowledges the truth of what happened. “I’m sorry they took your rocket. They took something that you loved. It’s gone. Forever." No sugar coating, no pretending it's all OK. Instead, laying it out there and sitting with it--no need for solutions or action, just being with it.
Bing Bong opens up in this safe space: "It was all I had left of Riley." And Sadness hears him and acknowledges his loss: "I bet you and Riley had great adventures." And only once the sadness has been acknowledged, heard and given space to be, is Bing Bong able to move forward and return to clarity, next steps and action.
This happens with my clients all the time. It happens to me. How about you? Does this sound familiar... You're zooming along and suddenly you hit a wall--a disappointment, a failure, an unexpected challenge. And you enter Vision Panic .
One specific incident (an ideal client doesn't say yes, someone criticizes your new website copy, a project turns out to be a lot bigger than you realized and you don't know how you're going to get it done...) triggers an avalanche of doubt , causing you to wonder, "What the hell was I thinking?! I can't do this!!"
At which point your ego mind gleefully jumps in with a whole list of "evidence" to support the belief that you're not meant to succeed--past failures, future fears, comparisons and envy, other people's opinions...you name it, your ego will haul it out to feed the Panic.
Here's my crazy advice: Let yourself feel it.
Freak out for a bit, and then ALSO find a way to get grounded in reality. Whether it's writing down everything you're feeling and then going back to read it in half an hour when you can be more objective, talking it through with someone outside your head who is wise, supportive and non-judgmental, using the Open the Door tool, or anything else that works for you, the key is to find a safe space to let yourself feel what you're feeling AND stay connected to the deeper truths of who you are and what you're capable of.
This moment is not your entire reality.
It may feel like it is, but it isn't. And if you can ride it out, you will get to the other side, and then you can decide what happens next.
When my Visionaries try to push through , deny, ignore or resist the panic and the sadness and any other emotions that come with it, they usually stay stuck or just wind up back where they started after a brief period of manic action. But if they’re willing to look at it, to be with it, to accept that it IS, they can move through it, honor it, learn from it and move on.
Give it a try, let me know how it goes.
Joy : ) And Sadness!!