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What do you already know that you aren't brave enough to admit yet?

As humans, we are experts at suppressing thoughts and emotions that make us feel uncomfortable.

For example, many years ago there was a team member in the leadership team of my company, and the warning signs were starting to show that they were not going to be able to keep up with the next big leap the company had to make. This person was/is a lovely human, incredibly hard working, and a great team player, but just didn't have the emotional stamina to deal with the complexities of the fast growing business. At a deep level I knew this, but every time the thought came up, I would shove it back down into a dark hole, because the thought of actually going through the process of dismissing them brought up a lot of anxiety and resistance.

Our bodies don't like to experience the cascade of stress hormones that are triggered by stressful situations. What's absolutely incredible about humans is that our bodies barely know the difference between a vividly imagined scenario in our head, and a real scenario playing out in the physical world. By way of example, the same stress hormones will be released when I imagine dismissing someone from my company as when I actually go through the process of dismissing them in real life. No wonder our mind wants to suppress these thoughts when they come up.

There are many issues with this, but one of the biggest issues is that we can never truly suppress anything. The thoughts we close down during the day become the same thoughts that wake us up at 2am and plague the dark recesses of our minds. These same suppressed thoughts and emotions get trapped in our psyche and in our physical body, and the more we run away from them, the more powerful they become, and the more independence they seem to gain from our psyche.

As humans, I'm convinced that we have more insight about ourselves and the world around us than we allow ourselves to access. The major reason we don't access these insights is because of the fear/resistance that arises in response to them, so rather than tapping into this wisdom and insight, we suppress the thoughts and hope that we don't have to experience the discomfort that accompanies the insight. Generally what follows is that the situation eventually gets to a breaking point where we can no longer ignore the problem anymore, and we get thrown into an amplified crisis.

Suffice to say that this is a pretty poor life strategy.

Coming back to the example above, the issue with the team member continued to grow over the next few months, and was heading towards a crisis point. Thankfully, just before that, I was asked a question that shifted my perspective permanently:

"If this person had to resign tomorrow and leave with no hard feelings, would you hire them again for the same position?"

The answer was an emphatic "no". More interestingly though, the question revealed to me that the only thing holding me back from doing what I needed to do was the emotional turmoil and stress that would accompany the experience. The question was asked in a way that basically asked, "if the emotional and physiological discomfort you would need to go through was taken out of the scenario, what decision would you make?"

By accessing the question from this perspective, it became very clear that I needed to take action. I take no joy in dismissing people, and the stress hormones that followed were horrible, but it was unquestionably the right thing to do for the company and the team member concerned.

What if you could remove the psychological discomfort of your decisions from the decisions themselves? What would change in your life?

- Would you still be with your current partner?

- Would you still have the same friendships?

- Would you still work at the same company?

- Would you still eat the same food?

- Would you still attend the same religious organisation or hold the same belief system?

- Would you still have the same team members in your organisation?

- Would you still service the same clients?

- Would you still retain the same business partnerships?

A lot of our innate wisdom is thwarted by fear, and this inevitably leads to more suffering down the line for all concerned. It takes a lot of bravery to access this innate wisdom and follow through, regardless of the discomfort that follows. The good news is that psychological bravery is like a muscle, and the more you use it, the stronger it gets.

What do you already know that you aren't brave enough to admit yet?


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