My brain feels chaotic. Like someone broke into my house and trashed the place on a bender. These days or weeks, life goes on autopilot because my mind has not been restored to a calm place.
We've all been here. The racing mind that keeps us up at night, the uneasy feeling that something is off, the desire to drop everything.
It's in these moments that we try to outthink our thinking. Good luck with that impossible task.
That's like trying to change the weather by thinking really hard about it. No matter how much we think about it, we cannot change the weather. Similarly, we cannot outthink our thinking and expect our minds to magically become calm and clear. It takes deliberate action and a shift in habits to manage our minds and create a more peaceful internal environment.
This comes down to creating an environment where you're free to slow down when you're afraid to slow down.
Whoa, sloooooooowwww dowwwwwn, tiger. Reread that sentence. Hell, go full-on Bart Simpson and scribble it out a hundred times. I'm surprised I don't have it tattooed onto my arm, so I'm forced to look at it daily.
I still grapple with slowing my pace because it feels counterintuitive to make progress. And it explains why every ambitious person I coach struggles with this concept too.
Yet it's based on a belief with zero truth backing it up.
Look at the training regimen of any professional athlete who has had longevity in their career. They follow a simple formula that gives them explosive results.
Stress + Rest = Growth.
My brain feeling chaotic is a symptom, not a root cause of the stress. My mind struggles to keep pace in an environment where I haven't allowed it to slow down. I've been doubling down on stress without any rest.
This becomes what's known as overtraining. Everything starts breaking down, and you experience mental fatigue, sickness and injury. Throwing up the white flag is your body's way of protecting itself from any more assault.
You're in desperate need of recovery, my friend. If you're not taking the appropriate time to rest and give back to your mind and body, all that hard sweat-dripping work could be for nothing. What's the point of all the effort if you can't fully show up as a parent, a partner, a friend, and in your career?
This is the power of active recovery. Managing your schedule and daily habits well is a necessary component of having the capacity to show up with consistency.
Going into the last few weeks, I knew I would be pushing myself to the limits. I started offering additional services to one of the businesses I work with. I launched a four-session workshop for my newsletter subscribers. And I have a 15-month-old who darts around like a hummingbird every moment she's awake.
That sprint would and could only last a few weeks. And I'll be the first to admit I took on too much. That's the very nature of testing your limits. Sometimes you put on too much weight and have to humble your ego by taking a little off.
We tend not to notice the nature of the mind when stressed out. Every thought or feeling you have, good or bad, goes unnoticed mainly because there's so much noise.
But because I've built active recovery into how I approach work (and life), it's given me a better understanding of my capabilities.
On those wildly busy days, my ego tries to convince me that I don't have time to stick to my keystone habits of hydration, elevation, meditation, and contemplation. And that's my signal amongst the noise that it's time to double down on the habits that "I don't have time to do."
I know without a shadow of a doubt that drinking water, moving my body, meditating, and reading will ease my mind and bring me to a calm place. These practices have been used for thousands of years and are backed by scientific studies that show their effectiveness in reducing stress and improving mental and physical health.
Without these practices, you're tossed around like a leaf in a tornado, spinning and turning with no control over where you're going because there's nothing to keep you grounded. This is destructive to making progress. After all, we just end up rebuilding from scratch after every storm because we didn't have a foundation to weather the chaos.
You will be pushed to your limits at some point in the future, maybe even today. Prepare yourself now for this possibility. Imagine that your life is a video game, and at this level, you need to remain relaxed and deeply disciplined to prioritizing what keeps you grounded.
We all face chaos and uncertainty that can leave us overwhelmed and lost. During these times, having a solid foundation becomes crucial in weathering the storm.
But how do we build this foundation? How do we find that sense of stability when everything around us seems to be falling apart? The answer lies in deliberate action and shifting habits to create a more peaceful internal environment.
We often think that the key to progress is to keep pushing forward, but remember, it's okay to slow down. In fact, it's necessary for growth because these habits allow you to sway in the wind without being uprooted. You become the rock that can withstand the crashing waves without being worn down.
Only then will you be able to show up consistently and fully live your life aligned with what matters to you.