\ Back Off! | Christina Brandt

Back Off!

Mud FlapYou look in your rear view mirror and see nothin’ but hood.  There’s a driver on your bumper, wanting you to move faster.  You’re annoyed, but get into it with him, deciding you’re not gonna budge.  You’ll slow down, maybe tap your brake, but you’re not gonna change lanes.  There’s no way you’re gonna cave…sound familiar?

If you can relate, then you’re starting to get why some of your dreams haven’t come true. Yes, it sounds odd, but I respectfully request that you suspend your disbelief for just a few paragraphs and hang in there with me.

When you push too hard and ignore the signs that you’re doing so, you’re riding up the (ahem) butt of the very thing you want so much, and are likely to meet some resistance. Here are the signs that you’re a “dream tailgater”:

Your body speaks to you. Sometimes I walk too far, or stand for hours, or take on too many physical tasks in a short period of time.  When that happens, my knees “speak” to me by forcing me to stop and lie down.  While I want to keep going, my body’s got other ideas.  What signals is your body giving you?

Animals speak to you. While teaching an Arabian horse ground manners, I was applying pressure on his nose (not directly).  After a few minutes of this, he decided that I’d gotten too far up into his space and he took that beautiful nose and gave me a shove in the stomach.  He didn’t hurt me, but gave me a clear signal that I was pushing him too hard, and too fast. (He also wanted a break from “class” and wanted to play!)  How do the animals in your life show you you’re pushing too hard?

The people around you give you feedback. The political climate in Kenya coupled with a rainy season causing impassable roads has caused the postponement of a trip until June.  I love an adventure, especially if it involves Africa, so I’m getting antsy for details.  After emailing the trip’s organizer once too often, I got this reply:  “What would you have to be responsible for if you dropped this tension?”  A brilliant question, and a clear message to back off.  My relentless need for info was alienating the organizer – not exactly helping me realize a lifelong dream of combining coaching and travel, and getting paid for it.  Who’s been sending you subtle, or not so subtle, messages to back off?

So now you see it.  You’re “dream tailgating.”  Why? By focusing on the minutiae of the Kenya trip, I was trying to ignore the fact that I’m nervous about the role I’ve been asked to play in a very important effort.  By pushing my body hard to get in shape, I’m ignoring the fact that maybe it’s not meant to go that far this time.  By pushing that horse faster than he wanted to go, I stopped noticing how much I wanted to achieve “success” in our lesson. What part of your dream feels scary?  How are you projecting that fear into the world around you?

How do you back off? First, take Dan Howard’s advice and do some intentional resting.  Take a breath and say, in your mind or out loud, “I’m going to rest into my need for everything to work out quickly,” or “I’m resting into my anxiety.”  Doing this creates a pause, sort of a “comma,” in your relentlessness.

Then, ask yourself: “What would I have to be responsible for if I dropped this tension? In other words, look for the real issue behind the urgency.  Find the emotion so you can clean up the thoughts behind it.  Result:  peace, which is far more attractive (in every sense of the word) than fear.

If you’re marketing like crazy to find new clients and they’re not showing up, working to find the perfect new career and don’t have a clue what it is, soldiering on with your novel but the paragraphs won’t emerge, interviewing for jobs but not getting hired…back off!  Set clear intentions for what you want, do your part, then take a deep breath and trust that the rest will happen.

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