Listen to the audio or read below for the transcript. This episode is 15 minutes long.
Happy Tuesday, lovely! I’m Andreea, your host here on The Introvert That Could Podcast. Every episode is a mix of tips on productivity, time management, and how to move forward when you’re stuck, with a sprinkle of motivation and a side of relevant personal stories. I want you to have all the tools and support you need to face the challenges of being an introvert and take action, because without action, there are no results. Let’s dive in!
Welcome to Episode 3!
Today we’ll continue our series about action preventing thoughts, and next in line is “I’m not ready yet”. Last week we tackled “It’s not perfect yet” and we talked about life seasons, the environment and the result of your work. But those are part of the outside world, they’re your external circumstances. With “I’m not ready yet”, we’re going within, and we will also uncover the real reason why you’re not taking action.
Before I get into it, let me tell you where I’m standing when it comes to readiness.
I’m only starting a new career path and of course, in the back of my mind, there’s always that doubt that says I should be learning more things, do more courses, get more practice. And it’s easy to get caught in that vicious cycle of “I need experience to get work, but I need to work to get experience”. I feel like a beginner all over again. But there are thoughts that I learned how to silence with practice. I notice them when they come up, but I stopped believing them. I’m like, “meh, it’s just a thought”. But every once in a while, I do ask myself, should I get more training? And here’s the thing:
You should always learn more, but from a place of “I’m already ready and complete, I just want to get better”.
A few weeks ago, I was very curious about Reiki, the energy healing practice and I know someone who offers it, so I booked myself in. I had two sessions. On the first one, I fell asleep, I don’t remember anything, it was one of the best naps I took in my life. On the seconds one though, I was awake the entire hour and it was more like a meditation. It was nice actually, being aware of what was happening, feeling connected to someone else.
I’m quite advanced in my meditation practice, so I have no problem doing a silent meditation, without guidance. When that’s the case, I focus on my breath as an anchor to the present and ask my brain questions and listen for any answers, nudges, or body shifts. On that particular day, I asked what should I do next and if I need to invest in a course I was considering. And my brain answered, it never disappoints. I answered myself that I don’t need anything else, I have everything I need, just go out there and do great things. And I felt peace instantly, it was like a huge weight being lifted off my chest. Try that for a second, try on the thought “I’m ready and complete. I have everything I need”, and see how that feels.
But you might not believe it, and that’s ok. So let’s go back to trying to understand what “I’m not ready yet” is all about.
I have to start by talking about the concept of positive intent. I will probably mention it in many episodes and use it for many topics, because it can change how you look at things. Though it’s hard to believe at first, every action you take (or don’t take) has a positive intention behind it.
Every action you take (or the lack of it) has the intention to provide you with something or protect you from something.
Don’t worry, I’ll give you a few different examples, but there’s still a piece of the puzzle missing.
The 6 human needs
I want to introduce you to the six human needs. These too will appear again and again, and together with the positive intent will help you see life through a different lens, a more compassionate one, compassionate towards you and everyone else, including those who behave in a different way than you consider right.
Everyone, including you, has a set of 6 needs. 4 of them required for survival that are met by everyone without exception, and two required for fulfilment that are only met by few. You’ll see, as I go through each of them, that you might focus on some more than others, but you do have all of them, they are universal. Today, I’ll cover the first 3, because they are the ones relevant for this episode. Don’t worry, I’ll be back with the rest, because if you’re anything like me, you’ll find them fascinating, they open up a whole new world and they explain so many behaviours.
Basic human need number 1: Certainty.
You may also call it stability, security, or predictability, and it’s the foundation of your life. For all my Yogis out there, this is your Root chakra. It’s the need to know that you have a roof over your head, that you can pay your bills, that you’ll have food on the table, basic comfort, safety, having a job that you know how to do, having routines that are predictable. All these words give you a sense of relaxation or peace, and that’s the feeling I associate certainty with. Peace.
And what I mentioned so far are positive ways to have certainty, but let’s look at some negative ways. Especially for men, when things are a bit shaky at home (they’re UNcertain), they tend to work more. Why? Because it’s something they know how to do, it meets this need. Overeating can be a tool too, we call it comfort food for a reason. And now that I mentioned comfort… does it ring any bells for you? Yes, staying in the comfort zone is a way to meet your need for certainty. Not taking action has a positive intention. Boom! I just dropped an imaginary mic.
Basic human need number 2: Variety.
By the way, most people favor 2 or 3 needs over the others, and mine are certainty and variety, which makes me live in a never ending internal conflict, because I have to find the balance between the two.
Anything you do for entertainment is considered variety. So is exercise, or starting new creative projects. If you want to associate it with a feeling, as you can see, all the words point to some form of excitement. Call it thrill if you’d like, or feeling alive. And that makes it easy to imagine some negative ways to meet this need: any type of addiction (alcohol, drugs, gambling, food). Other examples are: constantly getting yourself into trouble, or something that I find myself doing once in a while, getting upset all of the sudden, for no apparent reason. Sometimes your body gets bored of feeling happy! If that happens to you too, recognize it, understand that you had a positive intention and find something better to meet your variety needs.
And you know what else gives you a thrill? The feeling of fear. It’s very useful in dangerous situations, but when it comes to taking action towards your goals, there’s no bear in the woods or a criminal chasing you with a knife. Recognize it for what it is, and do what you want to do.
Basic human need number 3: Significance.
This is the need to feel important, needed, wanted, confident. It’s what makes you feel special. For the Yogis, this is your solar plexus chakra, the energy centre or your personal power. From all of them, I find significance to be the trickiest one, because we can fall into the trap of looking for significance outside of us, and believe me, it’s not there. Plus, the sensation it creates in the body is one of muscle contraction. Imagine that upright spine position with the chest up and belly in, that you take when you want to show confidence.
Setting and achieving goals are ways to feel significant, but so is bringing others down. Seeking attention on social media comes from here too. Helping others, raising your standards, building wealth, being the best at something are all positive. However, being the worst at something, or failing constantly make you feel important too. Next time you see someone being or getting angry, just consider that maybe it’s a need to feel significant. It creates the same muscle contraction in the body and for your brain, that’s all it matters.
3 needs at a time
You maybe noticed, as you were thinking through these and maybe considering how you meet each need, that some ways can meet more needs than one.
- Money can be both variety and significance
- Food can be certainty and variety
- Exercise can be certainty, variety but also significance
- Work can give you certainty because you know how to do it, variety when you challenge yourself to level up and significance because you feel needed.
And when you tick three boxes with the same modality, that modality not only becomes habit, but you become addicted to it.
So let’s go back to “I’m not ready yet”. Usually the preferred action is to learn some more, buy another book or another course and continue “getting ready”. It’s called passive action or passive learning – you only gather information but you don’t do anything with it. However, it ticks a few boxes.
- It gives you certainty, because you stay in your comfort zone. Passive learning is sooo comfortable because you get the feeling you’re doing something, but it doesn’t require effort.
- It also gives you variety. We all know the thrill of buying a new book, even just the order confirmation triggers the hormones in your body that give you the shift you need. You don’t even need to read the book, ordering it does the job.
- It also give you significance because you have so much knowledge on the topic even if you don’t apply it.
- It also ticks the growth box, another need that we didn’t talk about yet, but just know it exists.
Four needs met by passive learning. Believe me, you would never stick with something, even if it’s considered a problem, if you didn’t have a gain from it. So it’s absolutely normal to like to stay in “I’m not ready yet”. But knowing this now, you can recognize it, understand it, be kind to yourself and take action from a place of compassion, because I know first hand that it’s tempting to think “I’m lazy” or “I’m just not made for this”, and feel bad about it.
Remember what I said, that every action has the positive intent to either provide or protect? With the human needs, I covered the “provide” part. But what about protection?
How the brain works
Thanks to our very efficient brain, the humans managed to evolve and get to today, by always being on the lookout for danger. The human brain is wired to keep you safe, stay away from pain and seek pleasure.
Pain meant dying thousands of years ago.
Pleasure meant that the food you’re eating or the activity you’re doing won’t kill you, so it can be repeated.
This is how we learnt, back then, we didn’t have the tools we have now and the brain wasn’t as evolved as it is now. But, that little part that’s focused on keeping you safe, is still there. And it functions the same way it did, even if the dangers of today are different than the dangers of thousands of years ago.
Your brain knows that as long as you keep doing what you’ve always done, you won’t die.
It’s trying to keep you in the comfort zone for this particular reason. When you decide to take action and all the hormones get triggered, the brain is like “oh, no, this is it, death is imminent, we have to stop this”. This is why sometimes taking action can feel out of place and you might think that it’s your intuition saying “this doesn’t feel right, revert, revert”. It’s not, it’s the false death alarm. If you’re listening to this, I didn’t die publishing the episode, even though, I promise you, it felt like that.
Ok. Let’s do a short recap.
- Every action, or the lack of an action, and we talked here about passive learning, has a positive intention, to provide of protect. Passive learning gives you certainty, variety, significance and a sense of growth, and protects you from dying by keeping you in the safety of the cave, which is your comfort zone.
- Learning more is always a good idea, but it has to come from a place of readiness and feeling complete already. It’s the paradox of enjoying the present moment fully, but still going after your goals.
- However, if you don’t take action, you won’t achieve your goals. You do or stay trapped in the cave. Honour those poor humans that ate all the poisonous blueberries so you can become the fantastic creature you are today.
All I want you to do today is to decide to take action.
I know, many other fears will come up and we will talk about them in future episodes, but for now, just recognize your passive learning patterns and the positive intentions, stop saying you’re lazy or not made for this, and decide to take action. A small one, the simplest one you can think of.
And I’ll leave you with a brilliant quote, I heard it from Marie Forleo on a live event and almost made me cry.
“You wouldn’t have the dream, if you didn’t have what it takes to achieve it”.
Oh, so beautiful!
This was it for this episode, but if you want to continue the conversation, I’d love to hear from you! Comment here or find me on Facebook and Instagram. But the best thing you can do is sign up for the Life Lesson Letter, the weekly email I send out every Thursday with new content and insider-only freebies and details. Sign up now and you’ll get instant access to all available goodies, including the latest PDF “From overwhelm to taking action: 6 steps to find more time in your day, declutter your to-do list and get things done“. Just go to coachmeamazing.com/lifelessonletter
Thanks so much for being here and I’ll catch you on the next one! Have an amazing day!