The other day found me driving at -- let's just say -- a speedy pace. I was late for an important meeting. I was sweating and stressed... and embarrassed when I finally arrived there.
The worst part? I had nobody to blame but myself.
Just 15 minutes earlier I'd been in my office chipping away at emails. I knew it was time to get my things together and go, but it was like I couldn't help myself. My mind just took over.
Just one more email and I'll go... it said... it's important that I respond to this one right now...
I did this three separate times. When I finally did leave it was too late. And so was I.
Ironically and after all of that needless shame, this very morning found me again answering emails as the clock ticked toward a pending meeting... and again, my mind rationalized why I needed to stay put.
So this time I took a different tactic. I didn't think.
Instead I stood up.
I did it quickly. With purpose. Then I shut my computer, grabbed my bag and left. No thinking. No sweating.
Far too often we find ourselves needing to move on to something, yet we can't seem to move.
- We know it's time to leave the office but we stay to finish the report that's due in two days -- and we tell ourselves it's because now we won't have to worry about it tomorrow.
- We know it's time to have that hard conversation with our staff but we keep surfing Facebook -- and we tell ourselves it's because it's gotten to be too late in the day for a tense discussion.
- We know it's well past time to go to bed, but we keep watching that junkie reality TV episode -- and we tell ourselves that we just don't have the energy to move right now.
These are times when the mind is not on our side. It knows that we either don't want to do our next thing or we don't want to stop doing our current thing. So it gives us a perfect reason to stay stuck.
And we allow -- sometimes welcome -- this stuck-ness. We lose all motivation. Sometimes we almost feel physically stuck to our chairs -- as though breaking through our current inertia and moving forward is impossible.
Which is, of course, a big lie.
That's why these situations require not trying to change our minds -- but keeping our minds out of it completely. To cease thinking altogether.
Instead, it requires one simple action.
To stand up. Literally.
Unlike our minds, our bodies have no rationalizing process.They have no stake. They don't second guess or avoid. They just... do. Which is exactly what we need.
We need to stand up. We need to do it quickly, with purpose. Then take one more step.
- When we're writing that report -- we need to stand up and shut the computer down, then naturally move forward.
- When we're on Facebook -- we need to stand up and move out the door to the staff member's office, then naturally move forward.
- When we're on the couch -- we need stand up and shut the TV off, then naturally move forward.
Even if we're moving from one sitting action to another, like switching from a work project to balancing our checkbook, standing up, shutting down the document and stretching for 30 seconds gets the job done.
It breaks the sticky momentum of our current state and introduces us to a new option. The thing we were doing, which was so much easier to stay doing, is no longer the thing we are doing. So the equation changes.
It's an effective little strategy, if I do say so myself. And when I do it... when I move forward and get things done... I feel a whole lot better about myself.
If nothing else, it makes me a whole lot less stressed and sweaty. Which, let's be honest, benefits everyone around me. Especially those on the road.
When you get stuck on the thing you're doing -- and you will -- don't think with your mind. Do with your body.
Stand up. Do it quickly. Then take another step. See how fast you move on.
And see how much better you feel when that next thing is behind you too.