The Gift of Less of Me on My Mind | Blog
The Gift of Less of Me on My Mind | Blog
A few years ago, I was leading a workshop in London. In the middle of it, I started to get worried that it wasn’t going well. I started to wonder if people were getting impacted and if I was doing a good job. As you can probably imagine, this did not feel great. My mind started to get preoccupied and the more I worried about it, the more anxious I got. Because I was teaching, I had to keep going. Eventually, the noise of my insecure and worried thinking got quieter and I was able to find my bearings again.
When that was over, I saw two things that were really helpful to me. The first thing I realized was even in the midst of an internal thought storm and anxious feelings, I was still able to move forward. Thoughts & ideas were still coming to me. I found my way. This points to the incredible power and potential of our minds to give us what we need in any moment. Even when we think we’re not at our best, the creative intelligence of our minds still helps us out.
The second insight I had that night is one that continues to deepen even years later. As soon as the event was over, I had a thought come through, “Less of me on my mind.” This hit me. I immediately felt something shift inside. I could clearly see that when I was “on my mind” things got more constricted and when I wasn’t on my mind, I was more present and connected and more in flow.
This was a radical new idea for me. You see I had spent most of my adult life thinking the key to evolving, growing and doing good in my work and life meant that I needed to stay on top of myself. I needed to manage myself and my growth. That led to a habit of self-tracking, evaluating and striving to do better. All with the intent to serve more and bring my best self to my work, however, in that moment it was clear to me, there was another more powerful way.
Less of me on my mind. What if the key to flow, connection & impact is taking ourselves “off” our minds?
Over the last few years as I’ve explored this more, I have seen that anytime I start analyzing, tracking, evaluating how I’m doing or how something is going, I can easily get bogged down. When I have one eye on myself in any conversation, when teaching or during a speaking event, I am less present and connected. Best case scenario I am less present and worst-case scenario in addition to not being present I can get more uptight, anxious and self-conscious.
Less of me on my mind has led to more engagement, flow and momentum in my business. I saw that the constant “checking-in” on how I’m doing and how something was going, was actually slowing me down. It could and would often derail me and I would get sidelined by overthinking things.
In a recent conversation with an executive leader he was talking about how he felt socially awkward when he had to attend industry and client events. He dreaded having to go but it was a necessary part of his role. He felt mildly anxious, the events felt hard and he would often leave exhausted. After we discussed taking himself off his mind as much as possible during the events, he started to see a correlation between the intensity of awkwardness and how much he was tracking himself and his feelings at the time. He could see if he got upset about that or started to pay attention to his internal state too much, it led to more awkwardness. Conversations felt harder. When he would instead get more present, listen to others or put his attention in another direction, the awkwardness would fade and even disappear at times. The result was more ease and comfort and as he said after one event, “I actually had a great time.”
Earlier this year in LA, I was leading a Beyond Limits MeetUp with Melissa Palazzo-Hart. We were talking about a number of things including confidence. In response to a discussion we said to the group, “If you want to feel more confident and comfortable in your skin – try taking yourself off your mind.”
At the end of the evening one of the participants, a young woman in her mid-twenties, raised her hand to share. She said that the idea of taking herself off her mind really hit home for her. She could see that by paying attention to her moods and feelings, she was on her mind a lot. And she would often conclude that she was not doing well. She would get worried and struggle with self-doubt. She was thrilled and relieved to know she did not have to do this. She felt lighter and more hopeful. She shared, “Moods pass and they aren’t a big deal. I’m ok.”
When we are not on our minds, we are naturally more present, more connected and more comfortable in our skin. We are able to respond to the moment and we engage with others or the task in front of us. In that presence and connection, we tap into fresh thinking, creativity, resilience and are naturally more confident. We enjoy ourselves more. We are naturally in flow.
“If you want to feel more confident and comfortable in your skin – try taking yourself off your mind.”
Take yourself off your mind and experience more joy, connection and flow.
STAY IN TOUCH Get weekly insights for your business, your leadership and your life delivered to your inbox!
Barbara Patterson is the owner of a global coaching and consulting company bringing the insights of performance and fulfillment to clients around the world. She helps organizations, leaders, entrepreneurs and coaches access more clarity, creativity, have greater impact and higher levels of performance in work and life. Barb is the Founder of Beyond Limits in Business and host of the Real Business Real Lives podcast. If you’d like to experience in-depth, robust and transformative mentoring for you and your business check out Barb’s 6-month Beyond Limits Small Group Mentoring Program. You can follow Barb on Linkedin, Twitter and Instagram. You can also subscribe to her weekly blog on her website at barbarapatterson.com