I sometimes go to extremes. Those who know me well will tell you this.
When I was little I would sit in the hot car in July and sweat. Early sauna junkie. In contrast, I was the ‘polar bearing champion’ at summer camp – set a record for holding my breath under icy cold water longer than anyone else. Extremes.
But as I have gotten older I have come to understand the need for balance in life and in business. Different things are toxic for different people at different times. There are few hard and fast rules for this (although I am sure you would be hard pressed to find a sympathetic case for the therapeutic use of heroin). But what is good for someone could be the very Achilles heel of another and it is vital to pay attention to things that might be holding us back from our goals.
There are so many ways to detox. Assess your home or office feng shui, sort out your address book. Cleanse your liver. These small pockets of disorder can easily become toxic things in life. I believe that in order to create and maintain a life that you want to be in, it’s important to cultivate a positive space for your own growth. This is not easy.
I recently went on a cleanse. At first, I enjoyed the newness of it- “wow, that’s a lot of veggies”. Then the novelty wore off and the longing started – “boy, I could murder a block of cheese right now”. But it didn’t take me long to adjust. What was good for me actually started to feel good. Eating healthily started to feel like something I do, rather than something I make myself do. It became part of my natural behavior.
We all arrive at those moments where we know we need to re-evaluate what we want. Is there some area of life that really isn’t working? Might it be time for a detox?
I ask a lot of questions of my clients and often, our working relationships span over long periods of time. It’s amazing to discover just how powerful we are when it comes to making our own worlds. It’s really important to weed out the nonsense that we bring along for the ride that, despite our comfort with it and perceived need for it, actually just gets in the way of getting what we truly want.
I remember a clear example of this during a session with a client. We were trying to get to the bottom of why his amazing ‘green’ business idea just wasn’t ‘working’. It was as though everything was in place: great idea, great product, great location, and a great market. He had the know-how, the passion, the drive and support to make it all happen. But something was holding him back. After speaking for a while I discovered he was holding conflicting beliefs that were suspending him in mid-air. His beliefs had become toxic.
He believed that the business would not be a true success unless it ultimately became a large company that made lots of money.
He also believed that large companies who made lots of money were destroying our planet.
Each belief alone was not in and of itself toxic. But together they created an intoxicating cocktail of continuous self-sabotage.
So what is the key to letting things go? Being willing and able to identify areas of discomfort and blockages is an excellent first step. Simply put: if there is something that you want in your life (or don’t want), that you just can’t seem to change, perhaps it’s time to take a good hard look at what it is that you believe about it. If there is something in the mix that just doesn’t belong – the thorn in your side, the pea under the mattress – if there is something that is poisoning your water supply, perhaps it’s time to cut the line. It is never easy, but it is always worth it.
We have all heard that it takes 21 days to make a habit. I wonder how many years it takes to make a life. Personally, I don’t want to be an addict – I want to live clean.