Beating Momentum Killers
Started something big and couldn’t quite get there again, huh?
Congratulations, you’re human.
You do, however, have the power to move forward through these places. I call it becoming a Soma Sapien, a person living from the integrated wisdom of body, mind, and spirit. When you make this shift, from human to Soma Sapien, I can make one promise.
My promise is this: you will find yourself here again. And again.
When you’re aiming at significant change, the feeling of wanting to break out into something new but being stuck in the sludgy inertia of where you’re at will pop up again and again in your life, no matter how much work you’ve done on personal growth.
The key when those moments arrive, as they inevitably do, is to know how to figure out exactly where you are, and how to skillfully move through that space to the other side.
Here’s the thing: our Systems orient at a very basic, subconscious level to safety and the comfort of the known. They like to be conservative. It helps us survive. So if you’re trying to break into something new, chances are extremely high that your subconscious will throw something (or some things) at you to keep you right where you’re at. Comfortably uncomfortable.
Here’s a list of times in our lives these momentum killers might show up; see if any of them resonate with you:
Starting an exercise program
Changing your diet
Going for a promotion or expanded role at work
Looking for a new job or career path
Growing your business to the next level
Trying to develop a new skill-set that will set you apart from other people
Ever notice how 9 times out of 10, those things don’t take? Something gets in the way – the kid gets sick, you get injured, an expense arises, or you simply lose forward momentum.
Super-difficult to get anywhere new when your momentum fizzles out with distractions like that, isn’t it? That subconscious safety mechanism is a tricky thing to overcome.
I, myself, recently had tremendous (like, life-altering) momentum rolling forward that all fell apart over the course of about a week. This landed me in a several-week period of trying to figure out what the hell had happened and how I could “hack” my System back into momentum mode. The killers certainly had the look of external forces, and I could’ve taken the option of blaming them, but their impact was all based on my internal operating map.
I’d been having a particularly excellent month in my business; it had the feeling of everything going right. You know that feeling – it’s incredible! I was having a substantially up-leveled impact on the lives of my clients and was reaching more people than I had in a long time, and it was resulting in my business’ most profitable month ever. I felt deeply nourished and came home every night pleasurably spent, knowing I’d put my all into my days. My work was coming from a space that felt deeply purposeful.
It was like a dream come true – this was exactly how I’d envisioned my life and my impact on the world! I had clear vision, was super-effective in my actions, and was feeling deeply satisfied with how things were unfolding. I was even carving out time to reflect and get enough sleep every night. My life was hitting on all cylinders.
Then, not one, but three(!) events derailed me over the course of barely a week, completely killing the momentum I’d built:
The first was a sprained toe that happened during an innocent game of football with my son. The injury, while minor, was enough to undermine my self-care regimen, which is a huge part of my mindset equation. It freaked me out frankly – not the injury itself but the way I “knew” it would derail a key part of the system I’d constructed to maintain my high level of performance.
The second came disguised as something really cool actually (doubly sneaky!). An author and teacher I’ve followed for years suddenly offered an online course that felt to me like something I’d been just waiting for. I was really excited for it, and signed up immediately so I could listen in and study his material in any spare moment I could find.
Awesome stuff, probably life-changing in its own way, but guess what? Complete distraction. It fragmented my clarity and focus – the Insight phase of the Sensitivity Cycle – a key ingredient for effective action. What I thought would be an enlivening expansion of my attention turned into a major distraction. I call this “bright shiny object syndrome.” It was sparkly and interesting, and it took me away from my momentum.
And then, third, the car. Amazing how this type of thing happens. My car had this strange creaking noise and we were getting ready for a family road trip, so I took it to the mechanic to make sure it was sound for the road and, well you know the rest of that story. HUGE repair bill. This one was of course particularly subversive as it got me negatively-focused on finances and all that stressful real-life stuff that creates momentum-killing tension in our Systems that we have to navigate every day.
This one-two-three punch knocked me sideways right out of the great momentum I was experiencing and down-shifted all the critical parts of the flow I was in – my vision, my mindset, and my ability to act creatively and with impact. Things got fuzzy and gray, slow-moving, rather than focused, sharp, and effective.
So here’s what my System did: it said “Rest.” I wanted to rest; I’d been coming home spent every night after all. I thought it wise to slow down and reflect. But when I looked closely at the experience, I realized that was a response to the momentum killers. Rest and the peaceful nothingness of, say, meditation or solo camping are vacation for me. They’re a way for me to step away from Action, and are highly-tempting at times. Especially times like this as it turns out.
I’d been breaking out of my normal into a completely new level of my work and my purpose, and my System freaked a bit and served me up three really solid reasons to slow down and stay right where my normal was in rapid succession. “You’re good, just rest man.”
Bringing awareness to the situation I realized I needed to re-create the fire of the Action phase I’d been enjoying (click here to read about Action in the Sensitivity Cycle series). I was able to get back on track, but as you can see, momentum killers can hit us quickly and when we’re least expecting it.
If you’re experiencing a familiar loss of momentum as you’re moving toward a big transformation, or have your sights on a professional goal and you want to avoid losing momentum, click here to find out more about my first ever in-person small group class in Austin, Texas -- The Momentum Intensive.