Sometimes when you are grinding away towards a goal, you can hit some points where the dark thoughts creep in, like why am I bothering, this will never work, I’m not good enough, other people could do this better. It happens for me more than I’d like. The rollercoaster of emotions and vulnerability that goes with each step forward.
Last week I tried something new with my business and with it came a tornado of self doubt and I had to actively seek ways to chill out. As I sat outside on my doorstep for fresh air and sunshine I spotted some snails hanging out on the garbage bin. It hit me that I needed to be more like Mr Watson. As I child I adored snails. I used to collect them and call them Mr. & Mrs. Watson and family, and put them in tubs with moss and rocks (None were harmed. I wasn’t allowed them in the house so these snails always escaped to freedom overnight.)
Here’s how I see snails as good roles models to beating the doom thoughts:
1: Know it’s okay and even necessary to be vulnerable: Snails have tough protective shell, they can withdraw and be protected from the world. However, in order to move forward or achieve anything, they have to make themselves vulnerable. There’s no other way. You can stay curled up in your comfort zone, but you can’t move or see all the opportunities that come with taking a risk. This is why we have to go through these emotions when we try something new. We do it to move forward.
2: Be Patient: Snails are super slow in moving, but I am always astounded at how far they get. It must have taken the snails half the night to reach the top of the bin, making themselves vulnerable with every inch of the way. They moved with the only speed they can do but still made it to the top. When you are going for a big goal, one that is really worth it, it will take time. As long as you keep moving in the right direction, however slow, you will get there. Keep taking small actions every day, and give yourself time with the long term goals.
3: Connect with your snail friends. You don’t have do do everything alone. There were many snails up on the garbage bin it looked like a great snail party. I doubt they were swinging their shells around trying to knock each other down while they climbed. Find people who support you and you can support them. Especially your perceived competition. We gain so much more by lifting each other up.
4: Get out in nature: Every self respecting snail spends time recharging in the big outdoors. Just sitting outside on the doorstep listening to the wind blow through the trees (or closest shrubbery if you live in a city) can lift your whole day.
5: When everything seems doomed – start small. Focus on one good thing in the world, however small and seemingly insignificant. Like appreciating a tiny, beautiful snail near your home. That is one thing everyone can do.
You’ve got this!
Other doom busting tips that didn’t fit conveniently in a 5 point snail package:
- Crank up the happy tunes (I have no idea whether snails like a good tune, but a good song can take me from despair to determination.
- Take care of the basics – eating and sleeping properly. Pretty basic stuff but makes a huge difference.
- Turn OFF the news. Snails don’t bother with that negativity. You can’t fix all the worlds problems. Make your difference in the small space around you.
- Interrupt negative thoughts as they bombard you. I’m not sure if snails can do this, but I bet they would agree with this. You are not a slave to the toxic words your brain can hurl at you. Try to replace them as quickly as you can with something kinder.
- Finally, you are perfect as you are. Even if think you are dull, shapeless, with eyeballs on stalks and you leave slime behind you wherever you go. You are amazing right here and right now. Snails don’t waste time wishing they were butterflies, they rock their snail perfection.
What’s your best tip for banishing the doom feelings?
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