Have you ever dropped your coffee and found yourself standing there, doing nothing, watching it pour out?
I was working with Brittany last week, refining our new Love Agent (ambassadors) and intern processes. We were diving into the nitty gritty, hammering out all the details. We’re getting everything ready behind the scenes to open our new marketplace to bring you incredible products, that give back, from the heart stories of beautiful female social entrepreneurs. It’s so exciting and yet, there’s still a lot to do in a short amount of time.
The more we talked, the more I could feel myself wanting to throw in the towel and go take a nap.
As a kid, I napped when I was stressed or upset and it’s still my go-to as an adult, if I allow it.
Sometimes, there’s so much to do that it feels overwhelming. Then it starts to feel paralyzing. Like if I can’t do it right, and understand it all right now, then I just shouldn’t do anything. I start to shut down and get frustrated, stressed, and cranky. Thankfully, Brittany wasn’t feeling overwhelmed and she kept both of us on course.
A few hours later, I was working away with an almost scary drive to accomplish.
So what happened? What made the difference?
As humans, our brains are naturally wired to “fight or flight” in the presence of real, physical danger. All of the blood leaves the reasoning part of our brains goes to our lungs, legs and arms, to give us our best chance at escape.
So why is it that in airplane or club fires people often freeze? Why do they stand or sit still with no apparent interest in fighting or fleeing to save their own lives?
The wiring in our brains tells us our next best choice is to freeze.
To play possum. If we can’t fight and it’s too late to run, just be very still. It works for animals of other species. If they appear to be dead, the predator may become disinterested and it could save their life.
It doesn’t work for humans very often.
This concept really struck me when I was training to be a flight attendant, right out of college. I couldn’t grasp why people wouldn’t run, take action and fight for their lives. But often, they don’t. It’s why flight attendants are trained to repeatedly shout commands during emergency situations, like “RELEASE SEAT BELTS! RELEASE SEAT BELTS!”
As a result, I’ve trained my boys, since they could speak that if ever they’re in an emergency situation, the best thing to do is to take action. We say it when milk spills or when the toilet is overflowing. When coffee is spilling.
Don’t just stand there watching it happen. Take action.
That’s why it’s ironic that my own natural response to overwhelm is to want to shut the world out by taking a nap. To play possum, hoping the problem grows legs and runs away. Maybe that’s why I’m so passionate about it.
In fact, I don’t think it’s ironic at all.
It’s exactly why I’m passionate about raising awareness and support for women who are out on the front lines, doing something. These women, who are giving everything to create change that other’s turn away from. The problem that makes other people freeze because it seems too big, or too far away, or too overwhelming to be able to make a difference.
They’re facing the fear, the hurt, and the pain with action.
So are we!
Together, we’re joining them. As a community, HeartStories has decided not to stay frozen in the overwhelm that there’s too much that needs to be done.
We’re going to jump in, one story at a time, and do something.
As we do, let it be a reminder to you. Just like when I learned my flight attendant commands. There are probably other areas in your life you allow yourself to be temporarily paralyzed by fear because the problem seems too big, too hard.
Do something today, in the face of fear or uncertainty. It may feel like a teeny tiny little movement.
Bat an eye.
Move your head.
Take one step.
Prove to your brain that you’re up for this. You’re not backing down. You’re not going to be fooled into playing dead.
You’re going to do something.
I can’t wait to hear how it goes!
To more love,