365 Days of Courage #100: "The Value of Wobbling Forward"

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I have recently started listening to the Unmistakable Creative podcast which I absolutely love. The conversations are smart and insightful and always make me think deeply. I also signed up to receive the Unmistakable Creative newsletter.

Yesterday’s newsletter had the subject line “The Value of Wobbling Forward”. I was slightly intrigued.

The newsletter opened with:

Something always happens whenever we level up in life. If you actually land the partner of your dreams, or get the promotion you wanted, or sign a deal with the client who will be a career maker… there’s a moment where your brain goes “Wait a minute. This isn’t right. Something must be wrong here.”

Because our brains are pattern recognition tools, they map together how the world works from what we’ve seen in the past. When a new event comes along which challenges the previously assembled data, it creates an anomaly. (Like a black swan) We then have to integrate this data point into our reality, or label it as an outlier and cast it aside.

As you start to claim more of what you’re capable of claiming for yourself, your brain will often “wobble” back and forth between two alternate perceptions of yourself.

“I’m just a 9-5 employee…

...but I landed that first coaching client, I could actually do this thing.”

.... And this wobbling is 100% natural.

I talk about this with my clients a lot. This idea that fear - or as Srini so brilliantly calls it, “wobbling” - will ALWAYS, but ALWAYS, show up when we embark upon something new or when we are starting to see results from a new path we are on. It freaks our brains out that something new - and unknown - is happening.

I LOVE how Elizabeth Gilbert describes it:

Trust me, fear will always show up - especially when you’re trying to be inventive or innovative. Your fear will always be triggered by your creativity, because creativity asks you to enter into realms of uncertain outcome, and fear hates uncertain outcome. Your fear - programmed by evolution to be hypervigilant and insanely protective - will always assume that any uncertain outcome is destined to end in a bloody, horrible death. Basically, your fear is like a mall cop who thinks he’s a Navy SEAL. He hasn’t slept in days, he’s all hopped up on Red Bull, and he’s liable to shoot at his own shadow in an absurd effort to keep everyone “safe”.

This is all totally natural and human. It’s absolutely nothing to be ashamed of. It is, however, something that very much needs to be dealt with.
— Elizabeth Gilbert

In the Unmistakable Creative newsletter, Srini Rao goes on to say:

The amateurs let this wobbling dismay and destroy them.

But the pros keep wobblin’ on.

They allow their commitment to the process to determine their actions, and their self-perception catches up because of all the evidence they create of their new reality.

And because they keep going, they eventually do shift their inner perception of their place in the world. And then, the wobbling stops, and they move forward to the next wobble.
— Srini Rao, The Unmistakable Creative

Yesterday I talked about forgetting the noun and doing the verb. This becomes especially important when the “wobbling” kicks in. If you continue to stay focused on doing the verb, you will gather more and more evidence that will reassure your brain that all is well. You will gather more evidence that this is who you are - this is the latest iteration of your identity. Your inner and outer identities will become aligned.

Until you are ready to uplevel again. At which point, the wobbling will return. But this time you will recognize what the wobbling sensation means and you will know that remaining committed to the process will provide the evidence your brain needs that this is a new reality and that all is well. Your “mall cop who thinks he’s a Navy SEAL” brain will be able to get on his segway and head off at full speed in another direction knowing that this area of “the mall” is absolutely under control.

Where in your life are you embarking on a new venture or starting to see some success on a new path and you're feeling this wobbling sensation? Is it throwing you off course? Or are you wobblin' on like a pro?!


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