This isn’t something that’s necessarily easy to talk about, or even fun to admit. But over the years, I’ve struggled at times with agoraphobia.
For some people I’ve heard it’s a near constant battle. And I consider myself fortunate that it hasn’t been that for me. It tends to show up when I’m exhausted, when I’ve had too much caffeine, when I’m tired, or when my blood sugar is low.
And for me, shows up as fear of open spaces, sitting at traffic lights, and the movies. I can still enjoy myself at the movies. But I think the reason I feel some anxiety there is because I feel a little bit claustrophobic. I have less issues with smaller screens, and more issues with bigger screens.
My first run in with anxiety happened when I was 25. It was 2008. And I started my personal development journey. I decided to start getting up at 6 AM each morning so I could get more done. But I wasn’t sleeping earlier. I wasn’t getting the right amount of sleep or rest. I wasn’t meditating habitually. I wasn’t particularly eating well or exercising well.
And so, within 60 days, for the first time, I experienced a panic attack on the way to the hospital. Again, I consider myself fortunate that I got on a path of recovery quite early. And within about four or five months, I started to feel a lot better. Given that some people say they’ve struggled with it for years and decades – which is unimaginable for me – I’m grateful that I decided to seek help and get on a path of recovery early.
And ultimately, I think it’s the same thing with agoraphobia. I want to seek help and find a therapist.
But in the meantime, I wanted to share discovery with you. I was watching a couple of videos about agoraphobia on YouTube last night. And I basically came away with that feeling – “I’m not so strange, I’m not so weird, and I can be kind to myself.”
And rather intuitively, there’s a mantra that I’ve started repeating to myself whenever I feel anxious. And that mantra is:
I understand your concerns.
And when I repeat that to myself, I start to feel calmer. And I think this is me speaking to my inner child. I’m letting them know that everything is okay. I’m letting them know that they’re heard. And they are important.
And the truth is, we may grow into our adult bodies. But there’s some part of us that will always remain a child. And in fact, we are much closer to our identity when we’re children than we’re adults oftentimes because we end up adding a lot of things to our adult selves that don’t necessarily belong there.
I don’t know if agoraphobia and anxiety is something that you struggle or wrestle with. But I do know it’s quite common among artists and creatives. So, next time you’re feeling anxiety, I want you to try saying this mantra to yourself: “I understand your concerns.” Keep repeating that to yourself and see how it feels. See if you feel any calmer.
There’s an inner child waiting to be recognized and to be heard. And you need to let them know that everything’s okay.
You want more.
It’s understandable. It’s human nature.
But we often aren’t thinking about what we need to go through to get the more we want.
Which isn’t to say one should adopt an attitude of foreboding. That’s not it.
In the grand scheme of things, no matter what you face, it doesn’t mean anything. And when you’re facing something, that’s what you need to remember.
Even when something shows up in your world as bad, wrong, or evil, it doesn’t mean anything. You’re the one making it mean something.
As you reach for new levels, you will face new “devils.”
And even that means nothing.
But there’s a new level of responsibility, of accountability, in getting what you want.
Once you did what you did for fun. Now it’s a profession and you have deadlines to deliver on.
Once you had a podcast you did “just because.” Now you have a sponsor you must satisfy.
Once you wrote an eBook because you thought you had something to share. Now your customers want you to offer personalized coaching sessions by the hour, and you’re burnt out.
The new “devil” is inevitably more responsibility, more accountability. And that doesn’t need to mean anything. It’s what you need to go through to get to where you want to go.
Once you’ve mastered a new level of responsibility and accountability, there will always be new levels of responsibility and accountability to reach for.
There’s isn’t a cap on leadership development. It’s only a matter of how far you’re willing to go. It’s having your word create your world, not your world, or your circumstance, creating your word.
See what else I’m up to by checking out my link in bio.
My life has been getting dialed in on a variety of fronts.
On the leadership front.
On the financial front.
On the relational front.
On the networking front.
But there’s one front that had nearly slipped from my view. I had almost forgotten why this has been such an amazing four weeks. It’s because I also had a big discovery on the business front. Ironic because it’s generally always top of mind with me. I’m glad I remembered.
Now I’m clearer than ever on how I’m going to establish Content Marketing Musician.
Prioritize. Make a list, and only do the things you need to do and focus on them.
Upon entering the yearlong leadership program I’m now nine months into, I felt tired and exhausted. And I felt like I had far too much to do to be able to keep up with all the calls and meetings I was adding to my schedule.
When I shared this with one of my coaches, he said the above.
There are times when it’s necessary to pull back. As I was just getting started in the leadership program, my head was spinning, and I needed to pull back a little. Capture a bird’s eye view of tasks that were the key difference makers.
Right now, I need to pull back again, at least for a bit. I’ve been sprinting for too long for this to be a marathon, and marathons are not won sprinting.
I’m glad this lesson stuck with me. Because it helps me identify the key tasks that need to be done without taking on all the extra work that could overwhelm my life.
Chances are, even if I am missed on Instagram, Tealfeed, or BitClout, anyone missing me will be that much happier when I’m back.
Priority wise, my health and well-being are far more important. Keeping up with clients is next. Then comes all the other projects I’m working on.
Time away from some of this activity can only help me. It gives me space to think and reflect and to return to my work better. I can strategize and streamline. And this feels like the right time to do exactly that.
Today’s reflection prompt is this:
What recurring patterns have you observed in your life that you no longer wish to repeat?
It’s often been said that if you keep encountering the same challenges, you’re at the source of the challenges.
And if you’ve never heard that before, then I may have just rattled your brain.
We repeat the same unwanted patterns repeatedly, with remarkable insanity.
What do you do when you’ve identified a pattern you don’t want to perpetuate anymore?
Do you have a pattern interrupt you can turn to, a way to catch yourself in the act early, a means to prevent the unwanted well in advance of it unfolding?
Or are you comfortable living out different iterations of the same people, events, and circumstances?
Choosing a new action is difficult. You can’t just expect to make the right decision in the moment.
What’s required is an identity shift. A new way of thinking about yourself. “I’m the kind of person who…”
Finish that sentence with the kind of person you want to become, and then begin living as if it’s true. It will become true.
Life is flowing. Energy is moving. Blessings are closing in.
I’ve heard entrepreneurs talk about this phenomena before. And now I can recognize it when it shows up.
When everything feels like it’s dialed in, you’re not looking for ways to improve or optimize your routine. You’re looking for ways to stay consistent. Keep up what you’re doing because you know it’s working.
Many things in my life are getting dialed in. Some are in the process of getting dialed in (and they’re almost there – I can feel it!). And all I’m looking to do now is stay consistent.
I can’t say that I’ve never experienced flow like this before. But after years of stagnation, I honestly didn’t expect for it to show up again. I didn’t think it would change. Crazy how the human mind works. Crazy how easily we adapt to our personal hells.
I’m beyond grateful. And whatever crazy thing I’m doing that’s working, whatever is connecting with people, I want to keep doing it.