- A little first person story about following your gut and making instinctive decisions- regardless of rational thought.
- Fighting with the inner-gnomes- really- I’m not insane.
- The moral of the story- follow your gut. But it’s worth the read!
- A video from TED at the end- totally worth the 20 minutes!
At times, our body reacts to our reality in ways that our mind can not. Our mind rationalizes our actions and decisions, it weighs the cost/benefit analysis of our actions and the future implications of our decisions on our current path in life. Our mind shoots in to the future 5 years and tries to predict our place in life based on the outcome of the decision we are making. Our mind takes our actions and rationalizes the positive effects- even if the rationalization is based on pure mythical results or best case scenarios that are not a reflection of reality.
But our body knows better. Our body reacts. Our gut knows when something is right or wrong- it just knows.
Here’s a little story from my life last month- there’s a point amongst the words- keep reading.
Rewind to last month. Mid-June, as my 35th birthday was rapidly approaching, I was driving down the road at 55 miles an hour, wallowing in my present Saturday evening spent at Barnes and Noble working on my writing while the rest of the world was engaging in a social life, thinking, “Damn, it’s a Saturday night, and I’m caressing my MacBook Pro with a cup of espresso. Tragic.” As I’m lost in my self-reproach and self-pity, my truck makes a strange, slight noise that is almost undetectable. Then, as I’m flying down an overpass- the engine just stops. The dashboard lights up, my steering wheel feels like its drowning in cement and I’m coasting down the highway approaching an on-ramp with merging traffic. SHIT!!
My poor Little Red limps off to the side of the road- miraculously missing the merging cars- and I just sit staring at the steering wheel trying to wrap my brain around what just happened. I turned the key over- sputter, cough, ahhhhhh! Nothing. She’s not gonna give me anymore juice. She’s done. Shit, so am I, I thought. As the tow truck driver put her up on the flat-bed and she looked all lonely and broken, I couldn’t help but think- damn it, I should be in Egypt or Italy like I planned. I wouldn’t need a car and I wouldn’t be wallowing in self-pity on a Saturday night. What am I doing? And then, the sheer fear of being stranded in Myrtle Beach with no vehicle sunk in. According to the “Walkability Score” from Rowdy Kittens (a fabulous blog that I spent my vehicle-less week indulging in), my current squatting location while I work on my Empire (i.e. my mother’s house) has a walk-ability rating of 14- with 99 being Portland- one of the most walkable cities in the US. Sigh.
That night, after my tow truck driver said, “yea, that’s your engine” after turning the key over while I begged him to tell me the problem was just a fuel pump, I had a long conversation with Captain Morgan.
I went there. I wallowed. I watched Quentin Tarantino just to make me feel like, “damn, at least I’m not that guy getting gutted on screen”.
I emailed a friend who I knew was hiring a waitress at her work and figured I’d better prepare for the $3K dollar engine I’d be buying in a few short days. There goes my plane ticket to Italy, my travel money to Ireland to find my McDreamy and my month’s worth of Turkish coffee in Cairo. Damn, Damn, Damn. And me and the Captain kept talking.
I began working in restaurants 20 years ago. Throughout my freelance career, bartending has always been my fall back. I am an excellent bartender, I love the act of bartending- the conversations, the mix-ology and the industry’s drama and stories! But, for all the things I love about the bar, working there sucks the life out of my creative inner gnomes faster than a Hoover vacuum on steroids. It just does. And this summer, I’m working hard to build my blog, grow my readership and finish my commercial projects so I can go overseas and really take my blog for a spin- using all the creative juju I can muster. I’m sacrificing the normal luxuries of a 35 year old, single woman to chase my dreams down. I tasted my life as I envisioned it this winter- and the flavor was delicious. And I’ve gone too far to go backwards.
But, with $3K looming over my head for a vehicle repair, I retreated to my safety zone. The restaurant. Now, you might be thinking, $3K for a 15 year old pickup truck is a little crazy- and you’d be right. But I, for reasons that are personal and not to be discussed in this article, am emotionally attached to this vehicle. Again, not rational, I get that. Also, when you can not walk anywhere, ANYWHERE, you need a vehicle. Moving is not an option at this point because I have two clients that are in the midst of projects- and I can’t leave.
So, I trained at my friend’s workplace. An adorable little restaurant in a small coastal tourist town. I’d make bank, work part time and replenish my travel kitty. The training went well and I enjoyed working with my friend. She’s very sweet and flamboyant and believes that her waitress shift is really just a cabaret and she is the star. Interesting.
That night, instead of sleeping, I tossed and turned like nobody’s business. It was the night before my birthday and I was about to work my second waitress shift on the day I was supposed to celebrate my special day on the beach. But that wasn’t the problem. I dreamt, repeatedly, that I forgot to show up for work. I normally dream about forgetting drink orders or getting double sat when I start at a new restaurant, but in the 20 years I’ve been doing this, I never dreamt that I just forgot to show up for a shift. Oh no. This is not good.
Each time I woke up, my inner gnomes were engaged in a heated debate. They were pissed and they were arguing. The practical gnome was arguing about money and the fact that I would be making money at the restaurant like normal 35 year old people do when they work. The artistic gnome was crying because she really was looking forward to a summer of freedom to wander into the creative cave at a moment’s notice- a luxury that makes freelancing worth the effort. The entrepreneurial gnome was throwing things because working at a restaurant would detract from the progress being made towards complete location independence and passive income generation and the nomadic gnome was curled up in the corner, rocking back and forth and muttering about the chai wallah in India that he needs to see, the espresso in Fiorenze that he needs to drink and the hookah in Cairo that he needs to smoke. And all this arguing gave me a huge stomach ache. My gut was rebelling against the restaurant. When the gnomes start to arguing, I hear them out. But when the gut reacts- I have to take action.
Around 4 am, they all agreed that I had to quit the job I worked at all of one day and began the conversation I would have with the owner the very next morning. And I laid there in bed, rationalizing the action and having the conversation. I created elaborate excuses and reasons for why I couldn’t work anymore. I had it all planned out. But when I went to the restaurant, I just looked at the owner, apologized profusely and told her “it’s not you, it’s me”. Like I was in high school breaking up with a pimply boy from the basketball team.
I was that person. I flaked on a job after one day. Shit.
Good lord, what am I doing? I went to the beach, thought about what I was doing and said, well, I’m opening this up to the Universe at this point.
If my gut reacted to my rational action of taking an outside job in such a strong way, there must be powers at work here a little stronger than my rational mind.
But, my inner gnomes all agreed, if you’re going to go this route, there had better be some serious progress being made towards your goals. I began pulling 10-15 hour days, working on my branding, social media and blogging. My E-Book is ready to launch next week, I’m publishing guest posts and finally tying it all together.
And as I sit here today and look at the small baby steps that I’m taking towards my goals, I thank my gut and my inner gnomes for that long, sleepless night. Had they not taken over, I might still be serving sandwiches and kicking myself for not moving forward- again.
By taking this risk and tossing myself at the mercy of the Universe, I have no one to blame but myself for my missteps and shortcomings. If I don’t make this happen now, I have no excuses.
Here’s a little video from TED talking about our brains and leadership and the Why? Excellent!