Avoidance creates pain in some capacity. The reality is avoidance is not going to get us what we want most in our life. If anything, it’s going to prolong that. On today’s podcast, Julia Gentry and Travis Gentry take a closer look at avoidance and why we use this concept of pain and avoidance. They also share some insights into their own journey and lives to shine some light on why we do this so we can stop doing it. Avoidance can slowly turn into a habit, and then it starts to hide and take many shapes and forms. Listen to this episode to learn how you can BURN this habit.
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The Pain Of Avoidance
We’re going to talk about avoidance.
Not just avoidance. We’re going to talk about the pain of avoidance, which I love that combo of words because here’s what immediately is going to happen for people. We all avoid at some level and so the minute you read it, we’re going to talk about avoidance, you’re like, “Shoot.”
If you want, stop this now, come back and read this when you’re ready to read all about the pain of avoidance, knowing that you avoid, I avoid, which creates pain in some capacity.
You can keep doing what you’ve always done and come back “later.”
We’re close to the end of 2020 like, “Why would I start tomorrow?” The new year is on Monday.
Monday is the best time to start. “I’ll start when all the ducks are in a row.” Check it off the list. We’re going to talk about avoidance and what it is. We’re going to talk about pain, why we use this concept of pain and avoidance. We’re going to share some insights into our own journey and lives. The goal of this is to shine some light on why we do this so we can stop doing it. The reality is it’s not going to get us what we want most in our life. If anything, it’s going to prolong what we want most in our life. The goal of this show now is to stop doing it. Stop avoiding.
To be truly authentic and real, we have avoided the show. We were going to do it and then we didn’t do it. I don’t think it was intentional because it was avoidance. It was the overarching of excuses or what we had going on or energetically. Some were valid and some were not. It’s doing it. Sometimes you have to do it no matter how you feel.
That’s the subtlety of avoidance. It could start with a super warranted excuse. It could start with logistically I have a lot going. We’ve got four kids and we’re traveling the country. You’ve got your business and I’ve got mine. It was Christmas. It starts with all very warranted reasons. We won’t even call them excuses. It starts to slowly get away from us and turn into this, “We’ll do it tomorrow.”
It’s way better tomorrow.
It makes me feel better about it today.
I’m going to do it tomorrow. I take myself off today, I’ll do it tomorrow and everything will be good. Tomorrow comes and you’re like, “I’ve got this.” Sometimes you book yourself out or you plan meetings or you’re like, “I forgot about these things. I’ve got to do this, so tomorrow, I’ll do it.”
“I’ll do it next week because next week it’s the new year and my schedule clears up.” What happens is that I feel avoidance. Nobody wakes up and goes, “I’m going to be an avoider.” Nobody wants to do that. No one wants to be known as avoider, avoiding the things that they want or avoiding conversations or avoiding those things. What happens is it slowly turns into this habit, and then it starts to hide and take many shapes and forms. We start to familiarize ourselves with it. This is what struck me and why both of us felt compelled to do this show with this topic is I had a friend who said, “I’m an avoider.” She now identifies with being an avoider.
Now she has an ultimate crutch excuse.
Now it’s not only that she avoids. She sees herself as an avoider.The real pain of avoidance is when we begin to identify as being an avoider instead of just as something we have practiced doing. Click To Tweet
She owns it, “I can’t get it done because I’m an avoider.” Many people are like, “Good. Now that you are an avoider, now I forgive you.”
That was so powerful that we want to look at it again. I’d like to explore even more the subtleties of the reasons turn into excuses, which turn into habits, which turn into these identities, and why that’s creating pain in our lives, mental pain, emotional pain, relational pain, financial pain. It’s creating a lot more problems than if we took the thing that we needed to do head on and do it.
Now more than ever, because I was talking to a family member before Christmas and they said, “I’m going to do this,” and I ask him questions. He’s like, “I’ll do it the first of the year.” I was like, “There are three days before Christmas eve. Typically knows we’re going to Christmas Eve and Christmas. I get that, but you have three days. What are you doing for the next three days that you can’t pick up the phone or do what you’re talking about doing? You have Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday before New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. Why do we do that especially in December? December, I feel like is the ultimate bridge to avoidance of the first of the year. That’s when everything changes. I wake up on the first of the year. I am totally different and I’m going to get it.
Here’s why statistically speaking, 80% of people that set a New Year’s resolution or New Year’s goal quit by mid-February. I was shocked at that because 80% of people don’t even avoid it. They stop, whatever it is that they were trying or attempting to do by mid-February. To your point, if I say I’m going to do it in January 1 and I keep putting it off, and then I think everything is going to change, that’s not the point. The point is learning to become a better person so that the things that you’re avoiding starts to go away. We’re expecting these instant results. We’re expecting this instant gratification.
We get tied up in this hopeful strategy of, “When I start doing this immediately, it’s all going to get better.” A lot of times, the things that we have been avoiding for a long time don’t get better overnight. I’m six weeks into it. Now I’m frustrated because I’m not seeing the results or I’m not getting my all or the reasons and excuses pop back up and so I quit. Here’s why I think we should set the stage. Tell me what you believe is the definition of avoidance. If you could summarize what is avoidance, how would you define it?
It’s cliché of putting off for tomorrow what could happen today. It’s like living in a comfortable, familiar hell as opposed to unfamiliar heaven. Sometimes it can make you feel valued or you have something to do or you’re always chasing something. It’s almost like a dog on a track that’s chasing a rabbit that will never catch it, but it makes you feel important because you’re doing something.
You’re never accomplishing that but it’s out there.
You’re always running towards this thing feeling like you’re getting something.
You almost keep delaying it for the sake of feeling better about yourself. You keep pushing it out. You’re like, “I’ll get it and I’m going to do it and I’ll do it later.”
There are few different lanes that it could be and it has been for me and my life. Some make me feel like, “I feel important because I have to do this. I don’t like doing it so I put it off,” as opposed to systematizing it and letting someone else do it thinking, “I’m the only one that can do it.” I was thinking about this before we started the show. For me, one of the biggest things is not feeling, especially with pursuing where I am currently, and taking it to a different level, and pushing my limits. We found both of our limits and capacities at a certain level is not feeling adequate or feeling stupid. You avoid it. “I don’t want to feel stupid. I know I have to go through this. I just don’t want to because I know I’m going to make myself feel. No one can make me feel a certain way.”
I’m going to have to walk through the feelings.
To strengthen that, to understand that means nothing about me, and to get better at what I’m trying to do.
If I could summarize what avoidance is, the definition of it would be prolonging the inevitable, prolonging the pain. What happens and why we start doing it is that we start to believe the stories in our head more than the actual reality of living our lives.
What do you mean by that?Avoidance happens when we start to believe the stories in our head more than the actual reality of living our lives. Click To Tweet
I’ll put off tomorrow having a hard conversation because I feel stupid in having the conversation. I’m going to be stupid or they’re going to be mad. I’ll do it tomorrow. I’m believing the story about that conversation more than getting into the conversation and trusting that we’re going to figure it out. Let’s say, “I’ll do this project tomorrow. I’ll lose weight tomorrow. I’ll start my business on the first of the year. I’ll work on my marriage X, Y.” Fill in the blank for all of us. The reason that I keep putting it off is because I have this belief that says, “Something is going to go wrong. I’m going to mess up. I’ve done this once before and failed.” I start to believe the story that I make up in my head more than I hunker into my life and go for the thing that I want the most.
It’s tied to an experience that you’ve had. You have the interpretation with a hard conversation because I do that too. Based off of my past experience of having a hard conversation, I felt this way. I know if I’m going to have this hard conversation, it’s going to energetically make me feel a certain way.
It’s hysterical because now what we’re doing is we’re bringing our past and throwing it into our future. It controls us. What we’re saying is that everything that we’ve experienced in our past, if we’re not careful, we start to avoid it. Instead of change it, enhance it, improve it, grow from it or learn from it, we throw it onto our future and duplicate it. We think that by avoiding it, “I don’t have to touch it again.” To my point, I keep prolonging it because it doesn’t ever go away. That conversation that needs to be had, or the desire to build your business, or the opportunity to grow in your marriage, or to lose weight, it’s almost like the thing that you want. It’s not like you’re getting closer to it. You’re almost moving parallel with it. It never goes away. You keep prolonging it.
With a conversation like that, it doesn’t even go the way you thought or made up in your mind. It goes in the total opposite direction. Most people live their life walking backward because they’re looking at all their interpretations, their stories, all the programs, social conditioning, environmental conditioning, all of the things. They’re walking forward, but they’re faced backward because they’re carrying all of that into today, tomorrow, and next week.
That’s such a profound analogy because then what happens is that we start walking backward for so long that we either never know or forget what it feels like to walk forward. It’s almost like once you and I stopped drinking, once we started doing intermittent fasting, you start to do the things that you finally want to do. You’re like, “This is amazing. I feel amazing. I’m clear. Why did I not do this before? What was I thinking? I was used to a hangover. I was used to feeling blah all day long and it had become normal to me that I didn’t even realize I was walking backward.”
The other analogy I like too is like living from the rearview mirror. You’re headed forward, whether you’re walking backward, you’re driving, but you’re looking at the past to dictate what you do that day, that week, next month. You’re internalizing it, bringing that story into whatever it is you’re trying to do, and then you crossbreed them too. If it happened in business or in personal with a friend or your spouse, you take that into a totally different context of conversation or situation.
You morphed it into something and created this story based off of those experiences, which then dictates you from procrastinating and not moving forward. It’s having that childlike faith and the joy of, “I have no idea.” It’s like watching our kids, they jump off of something and they have no idea. I could potentially see the outcome, but living that life of like, “I have nothing tied to it and this situation, conversation, business venture, relationship that we’re in. I’ve never experienced it before. I have nothing to tie it to. I’m excited, joyful, and have faith like a child that it’s going to be awesome.”
There are two things that I want to hit on that that is huge. Number one, no wonder we’re exhausted. To your analogies, if I am walking backward in my life, spending more time driving my car, looking backward than I am forward, it’s no wonder I’m exhausted. I’m replaying all these memories and all these moments that hurt me. All of the things that again are warranted like maybe you were disappointed, maybe someone did let you down, and maybe you tried to lose weight and it didn’t work, or all the things. I get that these are very real scenarios, but replaying them doesn’t help them. If anything, replaying them hurts us and it creates pain in our lives as it is exhausting.
To your point, when you do start to live the way in which you suggested. To the flip side of this is the moment that you decide to stop looking backward and walking backward. You face front and start living your life, heart open, unattached, not bias, just living in the experience for whatever it is. This is in the book that I talk about vision. The definition of vision is being able to plan the future with wisdom and imagination. Those two words are huge when we consider what vision is. If I’m going to not avoid it, I have to grab onto something else.
If I’m going to stop avoiding, I’ve got to fill that sucker up with something bigger so I can move forward. That means I’m going to walk forward and drive my car towards where I want to be. Vision is all about imagination and wisdom. Wisdom is not taking a biased approach and an attached approach to your life. The Bible says that wisdom comes from God. It’s unattached, unbiased, and totally free. This is the definition of freedom. We think freedom is about having more money or an overflow of all the things. You and I both know many people that have an overflow of things and they’re not free. Freedom comes from living your life unattached, unbiased, and fully experiencing it, knowing that God has got your back, that you trust yourself, that you trust the flow of life, that in every moment you’re given everything you need, no matter how hard or good it is. That is the definition of freedom.
The joy of life is in the unknown because if you could control and know everything, what’s the point of living?
Let me remind our audience of who is talking now, both of us, that we are learning much so hardcore in our lives to let go of control. I have owned the title of, “I am a controller.” I’ve said that before out loud, I believed it in my head. You say more things of, “I like control.” What you said is profound because when we realize that if we live a controlled life, there is no more joy. There is no more creativity. We would know the beginning from the end.
There are levels to it because it’s almost like if I woke up and not knowing every day where I’m going to get food, if I’m going to be warm or cold, if I’m going to have a bed to sleep in, if my family isn’t going to be around, that would not be a joyful life. You need some new, but you also need some consistency.
Tony Robbins talks about that a ton, the seven needs. We all have needs, in the bottom of Maslow’s hierarchy, safety, security, stability. No doubt about it. Some of what we’re talking about now is a little bit more of this day-to-day functionality of avoidance, of the things that we know we need to do. The things that we know that we have the answers to, having more passion in your marriage or starting that business or chasing the desires of your heart, or losing weight. You can Google how to do any of those things. Be presented with pages upon pages of answers. It’s not that we don’t have the answers. It’s are we willing to do those things to get what we want or, “Am I going to prolong the pain? Am I going to prolong the inevitable?”Freedom comes from living your life unattached, unbiased, and fully experiencing it. Click To Tweet
I know I have been in this place where recreating how you did think, how you did live, and a new identity can be one of the scariest experiences of life. Especially if you don’t have friends and family that are in line with who you now want to be, whether it’s turning your life over to God, whether it’s stopped drinking, and whether it’s quitting my job and starting this new business that I have a passion for. It doesn’t matter what it is. That to me can be and has been a way to avoid because the people that you care about the most, and the people that you believe care about you the most, because it’s all out of love. You know for a fact because it’s not in line with who they have you to be. You want to turn yourself to God or stop drinking, then you disconnect yourself from them maybe for a season or a time.
Most people that are confused say no or don’t understand something and they go to the opposite. As opposed to seeking to understand, they judge what it may be, or when you have tried a bunch of things and you’re in that start, stop, doing, and figuring out who you are. Life to me is that journey in general. My family is not surprised at this point because I’m always trying to figure things out and it’s just the journey. For most people, you start to go down that path. If all of a sudden your family, for the majority, eat bad food and are overweight, and then all of a sudden you want to not be heavy, you’re going to get that resistance. You avoid it because you know you’re going to start to separate yourself from the things and the people in your life.
It’s so much about the story. If that’s the story, what would it look like to be honest about what it is that you want to do and why you want to do it? There are a couple of key pieces here. What is it that you want? Why do I want to have that hard conversation? That’s an expectation, hard conversation. That’s already your story. Start with having a conversation. What do you want out of this conversation? “I want peace. I want unity. I want to be working better together.” Great. Have that conversation because that’s the ultimate goal. That’s what you want most.
Part of this is being able to articulate what it is that you want most. I want to lose a certain weight? Why? I want vital health. I want vital energy. I want to be able to do life well. I kept asking every decision, is this going to give me vital energy? Which is why I stopped dairy, why I ultimately stopped drinking because these things won’t give me that. The way I have to look at my workout, is it sustainable? We have to look at what is the greatest result that we want most, and then I have to do my part to unattach from the in-between.
I have to trust that as I up my health, as I up my understanding of God, as I go to the next level, as I shift up, to your point of the analogy, if that’s where I want to be, if I shift up into higher levels of awareness and consciousness, I’ll get where I want to be almost even faster because my engine kicks in. If I shift into awareness, I’m shifting down still trying to get there. When you hear that engine, it’s like it’s not going to go. I don’t even know manual cars but in theory, if I’m in two and I want to go as fast as I could, and I go from two back down to one, and I try to drive that fast, the car doesn’t kick into gear like it needs to. This is coming from somebody who’s never driven a manual. I know enough about it to be dangerous. That’s what this feels like.
What do you say though for the people? Let’s not get in the weeds because we’re going to do a whole show specifically on it, but we’ll talk about food and alcohol. Let’s say, if we drink every night or 5 to 6 days a week together, that was our thing every day at 4:00. We grab our bottle and disconnect.
We talk about the world’s problems.
How we’re going to solve them tomorrow, not today. I’m disconnected because I’m drinking and I can accomplish anything when I have a bus. From that time, from 5:00 to 10:00, and all of a sudden your spouse says, “I’m done. I don’t want to do that.” There’s a huge disconnect. It’s not a story, it’s a fact. It will be a fact of you are not on the same page because you enjoy it. This is a total generic example. If I was like, “I’m done. I don’t want to do it,” but you kept doing it and you didn’t want to not drink, that is one of those situations where you create a new identity and a new path. To avoid that, you keep drinking because you don’t want that conflict. You don’t want that disconnect because you know what will happen. If I stop and you keep going, I don’t want to be around you and you don’t want to be around me.
This proves our point and the theory, which is why avoidance creates so much pain because here’s what happens then. Let’s say you’re the spouse now that wants to keep drinking and I’m the spouse that doesn’t, but then I keep drinking to be “connected to you” even though we know that that is not a form of connection. Now I’m out of alignment, which means I’m creating even more pain, which means resentment, anger, frustration, and stuck is only building within me. It is now creating even more pain for me because I’m living a lie.
I know what I want but now it’s different. Ignorance is a bliss for you. You don’t know that you want to make a change as a drinker. I do. Ignorance isn’t a bliss for me anymore. This is why I think that there is a level of understanding how much you let yourself go down the path of a decision because if you remember years ago, we sat down with the owner of Justin’s nut butter. Do you remember when he said, “Had I known how hard this journey would have been, I would have never done it, but I’m glad I did?” Even though now we know that he sold his company for $200 million, what it took to get there, the struggle, problems, issues, people, and the capital are challenging.
If on day one, I decide, “I have to stop drinking because I’m out of alignment and this is not what I want,” and all the things. If I start to go down that bunny trail of all the good things, but all the hard things, I’ll stop. This is why I’ll avoid it because it’s “easier” now. This is where avoidance is such a subtle little thing because now what we start to do is settle for my short-term gratification. I hurt my long-term joy because at least I don’t have to have this conversation now. At least I don’t have to stop drinking now. At least I don’t have to worry about losing weight now. I can put off all that supposed hard, but then all I’m doing is I’m creating more pain along the way to something that’s still inevitable.
That’s exactly what we’ve seen in people’s life where they keep doing the same thing. It could be food. I’m going to start eating good. You don’t want to eat good. I want to go to church. You don’t want to go to church. I want to quit my job because I hate what I’m doing, but the career that I wanted to do makes half the amount. We have to totally change our lifestyle. I want to move, you don’t want to move. It’s like those things. What would you say for the readers when you run into that, especially with the spouse or friends and family that you’re deep-rooted with, but knowing your heart that the desires and who you want to become is different than who you were?
There are a couple of steps that I’ve seen. What I’m about to say, I’m going to make it sound simple, but I’m going to preface it with it’s simple, stupid, and hard. This concept of avoidance is going away because you have that one hard conversation in the group, “I’m going to declare that I don’t have to do that again.” We talk about that and it’s ongoing, but I think it’s like the ABCs. We talk about there’s avoidance and what happens is I keep avoiding, then I go busy. I then get busier mind, busier schedule, busier of all the things, and then I start to compare.
I’m like, “Am I doing as much as they are? Am I better than them? Am I loved as much? Do I have as many likes on Facebook?” We go down this bunny trail. First things first is we have to recognize that in order to shift out of avoidance, I have to shift into awareness like, “I have to do this.” It’s a higher level of awareness and consciousness that goes, “This is what I want. This is good for my life. It’s good for my faith. It’s good for my family, my career. This is ultimately what I want.” This next one, ate into boldness. If you remember a couple of episodes ago, boldness by definition is the willingness to go. Boldness isn’t this stoic like, “Look at me. I’m the strongest person on the planet. I am bold.” Boldness is willingness. It’s even willingness that’s like, “Okay, here I go.” It’s going to be the willingness to then take the next step, and then the next one is creation. It means every day I have to create a new and better way to do something that’s in alignment with who I am.Sometimes it's harder to stop doing something than to start doing something. Click To Tweet
Sometimes it’s harder to stop doing something than start doing something. You’re down this path in 2020 to stop doing something that was hard. The freedom and the weight that was lifted, that’s a hard decision to take a hard right and move in a different direction, but knowing it’s not serving the people around me. It’s not serving me because I’m inauthentic to myself, which then makes you do like you said, whether it’s drinking, busy, buying, shopping or whatever it is that quick fix. It’s a thing that you’re going to have to keep doing on a daily and weekly basis to fulfill that need because that voice doesn’t go away.
What you have to do at that moment is, “I’m going to have two choices. I either deal with this now, or it’s going to manifest itself even bigger and I’m going to have to deal with the bigger issue later.” That’s why even in marriage, when we hold things back from talking to one another, or we’re not processing things on a regular basis, when something little happens and it feels like it’s the biggest thing in the world, it’s not because it is the biggest thing in the world. It’s because I’ve been prolonging the pain of all the conversations. I’ve been putting off until tomorrow what I could do today. All of these trite things is why the results that we’re getting are crumbling, or the depression is sinking in even more, or that we’re adding on weight even more. The hopelessness, the defeat, the disappointment or the striving, we’re doubling down on it because if we’re not careful with many things, we’re always putting it off. It’s stacking itself emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. When we finally opened the door a little bit like we cracked the door open.
It’s almost one of those things at Christmas, the little boxes and it pops out. That’s the thing and the thing, and it’s all the pressure that builds. I’m mad at myself for not taking ownership in each situation, saying something as opposed to stacking it and boiling. When something finally does, then you overdo it, but it wasn’t that thing. That was the iceberg.
When all of that comes out, we’re like, “I told you it was a hard conversation.” You’re like, “Nope. It wasn’t going to be a hard conversation a year ago. It was 365 days of not saying something.”
For 5 or 10 years.
When you finally said something, it was like the cats are out of the bag. Now you have something to point out and go, “See, I told you I can’t talk to my brothers and sisters. I told you nobody understands me. I told you I’ll never get out of debt.” It’s not just that one conversation. It was the buildup and the avoidance, and the prolonging of the pain that created a real issue.
With that being said, what would you say are the steps to be aware? Is there something else in between that you’ve practiced to then overcome that, or take action, or something that you do to be authentic? How do you go from inauthentic to, “I’ve got to be authentic to myself. I’m aware of it now. Now I’ve got to take action?” Is there something in between that you’ve practiced to say, “This is where it’s showing up. I know it’s not right. I need to fix it. I know potentially,” then your stories come up? What’s next?
It’s the art of the replacement. The Bible is clear on this. Psychology is clear on this. Anyone who’s in fitness is clear on this with addiction. If I’m going to let go of something, I have to replace it with something else because the in-between is painful. I’m going to go back to my familiar hell. I’m going to go back to my comfort. If I’m going to let go of my avoidance of which we avoid to protect ourselves to be right, to not feel. We avoid it for a lot of different reasons, but then I have to grab on something else. For me, what I do is it points me to my truest North, which is hard because I’ve been avoiding what I want most.
What I asked myself at that moment is, “Julia, why do I not want to have this hard conversation?” It’s for all these reasons. Get out the story first. See the story for what it is, “It’s going to be this. He’s going to say this and then this is going to happen.” Get all of it out. Process all of it either with yourself, on your journal, or your therapist or someone. You can then go next to, what do I want most? I have to know what I want most because then it’s going to be the only way out is right through. I have to go through it. If I can have something bigger to grab onto like, “I don’t want to just lose 30 pounds. I want vital energy. I want passion in our marriage. I want to sell this book and I want it to impact a million lives. That is what I want. That’s it.”
Let me give you an example that maybe I’m thinking of in a relationship. One of the things that we’ve adopted is if we’re feeling a certain way, knowing that the conversation could be uncomfortable or get mad. One is not attacking. Two is saying, “This is how it makes me feel.” Another way is, “Are you open for feedback?” To position and prepare the other person on something. Whether it’s a relationship or kids or business, if you do it from an attack way, you get defense. Everything that you’re saying is maybe when you’re approaching that is having a few things that help you to understand. As you said, process it. Also, when you’re confronting the situation, typically it’s a person or yourself. Have grace on yourself and mercy. Also, when you’re talking to someone else, don’t attack them because most of the time it has nothing to do with them. It has to do with you.
For me, when I consider this topic, this is not the avoidance with any external factors. This is the avoidance of the things that you know you need to because the only person you can control is you. One of my favorite quotes says, “The three things that we can control are the thoughts that we think, the emotions that we feel, and the actions that we take.” Those are the only things that we can control. The rest is not my responsibility.
For me, the prompting of avoidance has to start with me. You were saying those excuse for other people like when we have learned. That’s the next level. This is getting me to stop avoiding. How I’m going to now interact with you is a totally different kind of conversation. The prompts that I give myself are as simple as, “Am I avoiding right now? Yes or no?” It’s almost like those diagrams, “Yes, I am.” Why am I avoiding? I’m avoiding for all of these reasons. Get it all out. I’m avoiding because I’m scared or because of what they’re going to think. Here are all the reasons.
Why am I avoiding all of it? Brain dump, journal, spew it all out, get it out of your body. Let the story come out of you in any way, shape or form. Once it’s out, then honor it to your point. That’s huge to be able to do that. Every reason of why you’re not doing something, to understand that awareness piece is gigantic. It’s the best therapy session you could ever have. It could be free. You don’t need to do it with a therapist because there’s it all. When you look at all of it, you go, “What do I want most?” In this situation or what I’m trying to accomplish with the thing that I should be doing, “What do I want most?” You try to get as clear as possible of what do you want most. You then simply ask one question, am I willing, yes or no? It’s not, “I’m going to try,” or “Later.” It’s not, “When the stars align,” or “When Travis is ready.” It’s, “Am I willing?” If I say yes, then it goes.
We’re going to create a sheet. We don’t have it but based on what you said, I had this idea that we’re going to create a sheet. We’ll put it on the website that you can download which will help you. You can write down what are you avoiding, yes or no. A list where you can write down all the things when you say yes, and then, “Are you willing to? Yes or no?” It’s almost like a funnel to help you process whatever it is that you need to, and then allowing yourself, “Am I willing to at this point?” It may be a no right now. At least you’re aware of it because at some point it’s going to bother you so much that you will go back and circle and say, “Yes, I am willing.”Stop avoiding. It's not getting you any closer to where you want to be. Click To Tweet
I remember the conversation and I am excited to have this more of an in-depth conversation on our show about our sobriety. Do you remember a week before we finally pulled the trigger? We go, “This is a willingness. This is not serving me. I don’t like it. I don’t want to be doing it.” We both looked at each other. We’re like, “Do you want to have a beer?” I’m not trying to downplay the magnitude of this, especially for people who could struggle with addiction. We said, “Am I willing?” Both of us were like, “No, not now. No, I’m not.” Though I knew I’m prolonging the pain by making this decision. I’m going to spend another week spinning, doing the thing, avoiding the hard, or avoiding the pain. When you ask yourself that question, you have to look at yourself in the mirror, and you take 100% ownership. All it is, as simple, stupid and hard as it is, it is a willingness. If it’s no, it’s no. If it’s yes, you have your steps.
I liked that you said that. It is you. It has nothing to do with external. It’s all in you. You have to take extreme ownership. It’s you. It has nothing to do with anybody else.
To your point, there are many different types of like, “How do we enhance conversations? How do we lead people? How do we walk other people in our lives through massive changes?” To your point, if you were 100 pounds overweight, or you did drink all the time, you had drinking buddies, or you used to do this for a career, but now you do that. You went from 0 to 4 kids, your choices, good or bad impact everybody around you and the familiarity for everybody. I’m not suggesting that there isn’t a ripple effect that is created. This has to start, and the way through this is if I start thinking too much about all those things, I won’t do it. It will be so outside of me, so outside of my control, and so much bigger that I won’t even start.
We’ve done that too where you process it to understand worst-case scenario. It can come later but I’d say, “Am I willing to?” Also understanding maybe even before, am I willing to or not? It’s processing like, “We’re going to stop drinking.” What does that mean for us? What are we going to potentially fill that timeline? What do we go towards?
To your point of that diagram that we can create. Some of those things of why I don’t want to do this or why I’m avoiding it are real legitimate things like, “My drinking buddies will go away. I’ll have no friends.” A little bit of a story but we don’t know that for sure. The reality is, if I hang out with only people that drink or I hang out with only people that are in this classification, that the minute I stopped that, or you hear people when they get a divorce, they lose all of their friends. If we can’t look at some of those fears and go possible, it’s true that these stories could become a reality, “Am I still willing? That this isn’t some therapy session that makes me feel good. Look at the stories, they are gone.” There is some legitimacy in the fact that maybe all of them.
What does it allow in? As you said, you lose some, you go through a divorce, you stop drinking or whatever it may be, and you happen to lose people. You happen to lose your so-called friends because if they were true friends, they would back you up. They weren’t deep-rooted friends anyway, to begin with. Now it allows and opens up space for who you have become to allow people that are in sync with who you are now.
That’s the final step. Once you say, “Am I willing?” The next is, “What’s possible?” When you say, “I’m willing to go for the thing that I want most. I’m willing to go for this in my marriage. I’m willing to go for this in my career. What’s possible is I have passion in my marriage. I come alive again. I feel vibrant. I make more money.” You then create this vision of like, “I’m going to take all of these fears that could be true.” Some of these could manifest themselves, but you keep looking up, “If I stick with my willingness, staying sober, building this business, here’s what’s possible. I want that more than I want that.”
The Step Brothers come into my mind. You don’t do the same things you shouldn’t be. There are some people that do, and they probably run in the same circle and hang out together from middle school to high school, to college, still doing and talking about the same things. You should outgrow that conversation and what you were doing for the most part. In Step Brothers, he was like, “I remember when I had my first beer too.” What you did do and who you were, you’re going to evolve and change. Naturally, you are going to get new people around you, or the people around you have been waiting for someone to change and take ownership and leadership to help them get unstuck, and to live the way that they wanted to live too. I know we’ve seen this in our own life too. Sometimes the thing that you struggle with the most, you are here to help set other people free.
That’s the part of the imagination to the point of vision. A vision is the ability to plan your future with imagination and wisdom. Wisdom is learning the lessons. It’s not holding on to the pain. Imagination is when I can now imagine what’s possible if I’m willing. I keep saying yes to God. I keep saying yes to what’s most important to me. I keep saying yes to being in alignment with my values. I say yes to learning about what they are, depending on where someone’s at in their journey. It opens up a whole world of imagination. I get to create this. I get to determine what this looks like. I get to build my life and the relationships around me. It opens up a whole new world.
That’s where our freedom comes. It’s funny because we think that by avoiding, we’ll be free from pain when it’s only giving us more pain, when the true freedom is through it. It’s walking right through it and getting to the other side of it. The more you do that or even though there are new layers, in theory, you almost run that circle a little bit quicker, a little bit more efficiently, or a little bit more conscious. What you and I maybe would have avoided for two years now becomes two days. It’s not like it goes away. I just run the circle faster.
I would say to all the readers and on most shows, you have to be connected and around like-minded people of where you want to go, who you want to be. Whether it’s The Dream Factory and Co., get connected. We launched a private Facebook group or do this download. Start to uncover and unpack where you’re hiding, where you’re avoiding, and reach out to us on social media. Get connected. I know that helped me to see what I can’t see because sometimes you’re so close to it. Les Brown says, “You can’t see the picture when you’re on the frame.” Sometimes you have these feelings and you’re like, “I know that there’s something different or I know I want to do X, but I don’t know the steps,” or you make it bigger than it is. Get connected to our community or someone else’s community.
I’ll piggyback on that because I feel like our whole campaign for 2021 is to dream together. We are huge advocates of dreaming, but this is hard to do on your own. That’s why the Bible says, “Where two or more gather, there He is also.” The whole campaign for 2021 is being able to do things together. When you start to open up a couple of cans of worms, because this is what it feels like. When I stop avoiding, I start to open up those cans of worms a little bit. When you’re in a community and having a conversation with people who are doing the same things and they’re opening some cans of worms and what they’re learning, you learn faster. You build strength, connection, and boldness because when you’re around people, you’re like, “I had a similar hard conversation, but I use these tools and I work this out.” It builds strength. It is cool to see already the movement and how that’s all working. Follow us for 2021 and this whole campaign of what it looks like to dream together because it’s not fun to do it by yourself.
We’re not intended or meant to leave. Whether it’s business or relationships, we’re meant to be in communities. Please reach out, get connected, follow our journey or what we’re doing, and be interactive. You get out what you put in. Be someone that is also giving and serving because I guarantee you have something that someone else is waiting for.
Run your circle. Do this whole concept of what we walked you through. Stop avoiding. It’s only bringing more pain. It’s only prolonging the inevitable. It’s not getting you any closer to where you want to be. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting a different result. Here we are giving you insight into how to stop doing that.
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