The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Friday, September 23, 2005

The Quantum Jump

Just received this note from a student--
(Identifying characteristics have been changed, of course)
Call her "Bonnie"

Hey Steve,

I need your advice on something.

I have reached a pretty major emotional or maybe mental barrier.  Almost
one year ago I started a business that I can run from home.  I think
that we talked about this before, or at least part of it.  

I have everything that I need to run a business.  Everything except the one crucial ingredient. 
The proper mindset.

It's frustrating.  I more or less know what I have to do to bring
customers in.  I have studied this stuff to death.  I know my niche
areas.  I understand the dynamics of being a business owner.  I've read
every book, pamphlet, leaflet or newsletter that I come across, but
every time I start to get my promotional packet together, or pick up the
phone I lock up.

My drive, desire and motivation evaporate.  None of the stuff that I
want (truly want) seems to be enough to get me started again.  Its
become a pretty vicious cycle.  I get motivated, plan for my next step
and then fall flat on my face when I start to move forward.  This has
lead to some pretty pathetic self loathing episodes.  Worse, I am
keeping whats happening to me from my husband.  There has been a lot of tension
between the two of us lately and I am not prepared to share my latest
failures with him.  I think that  he doubts me enough already.

I am still meditating, my mind is calm as it can get.  When it comes
time to do what I have to do I simply go blank.  Nothing seems to
matter.  I know that its not true.  What I am trying to do is paramount
to my ability to take care of my family, so it matters a great deal.  I
haven't been working out like I should, but I am (exercising aerobically)  every day.  My weight is down, I am watching what I am eating.  For the most part I feel pretty good inside, so I am
at a loss as to why this is happening.  It's just like running into a
wall that I cannot see, but I sure can feel it.  Worse still I am
concerned about what this is doing to my long term growth.  There are
times when I truly hate myself and the weakness within me.  There are
others who make their way in the world with a lot less fuss and muss.  I
refuse to give up trying, but like I said, its very frustrating.

Any ideas that I can use to tear down this damned wall?

Dear Bonnie:

it's not "like a wall", it IS a wall.  That wall is the edge of your current self-concept.  It is made up of all the beliefs, values, experiences, monkey-voices, and images in your mind.  Your task will be to remember that THIS IS COMPLETELY NATURAL.  The voices in your head will try to weaken you by suggesting that this temporary problem is eternal and says something deep and meaningful about yoru capacities.  Nothing could be further from the truth. 

I am going to use your situation as an example for the next few days, because ALL of us hit this space. You are doing everything right.  Remember the 1% rule?  Well, you've gone as far as a straight-line 1% will take you, and have to back down a bit, rest, and get ready for the next step.
1)   Now that you are meditating, create a triangle in your mind.  Visualize it.  Put your desired body at one corner, an image of your desired career at the second, and yourself meditating at the third.  Clarify the images as much as possible.  For those who think they cannot visualize: what color is your car?  How do you know that?  You got a misty picture, didn't you?  That's the level of your visualization, not some razor-sharp photo perfect nonsense. 
2)  Write down your One year goals in body, mind, and spirit.  Be certain to read them every morning and every night.  NOW LISTEN:  Your task is to become familiar with the specific crap your mind throws at you.  Every time it gives you grief, WRITE IT DOWN.  No judgements.  Remember--it is just trying to protect you from the pain of failure.  Your assignment, should you decide to accept it, is to catalog the defenses.  Make a goal to call a client.  Set a time.  See how you stop yourself.
3)  Your task is to get as clear as possible on where you want to go (the goals) and the inner and outer resources it will take you to get there.  Yours are mostly emotional, Bonnie.  They start with self-love and self-acceptance.  You must never speak to yourself in a voice you wouldn't use to discipline, correct, and communicate with your own child.  You HAVE to love yourself--understand that you are dealing with very very real emotional stuff here, and without self-love and acceptance, you won't have the energy to transform.
4)  More diary work:  what are the values, beliefs, and emotional charges necessary to get to your goal?  How do these vary with what is currently floating in your head?  During meditation, see your goal, the last step of your goal--maybe depositing a big check, or sitting with your accountant as he shows you you have a net worth of 1/2 million dollars.  Can you see that?  If not, back off to a more modest goal, until you can see it.  Now back off to a point half way between then and now.  What is THAT step.  Can you see that?  Back off again, another half-way, in incremental steps, until you can see what is happening in three months, one month, one week, and tomorrow.  THIS IS SERIOUS, DIFFICULT WORK--and can change your life.  More on this later.
5) Every morning read your goals.  Every night read your goals.  Every morning visualize yoru goals, and GET PUMPED UP.  Charge them with emotion.  Visualize the as you exercise.  Write downt he emotional garbage that comes up for you.  Bonnie--if you'd use the discussion board to speak about what is happening to you, the other Lifewriting folks can help you, and you'd be helping them by opening the door to honest communication.  You are too isolated, and need to speak of these things.  I invite you to use this resource.
Write it down
visualize it daily
Charge it with emotion.
Ask God to take the ultimate results out of your hands
Love yourself.
Try to change no more than 1% per week.
And Bonnie?  You're doing great.

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