The Story Economy Blog

The Voice Has to Shut Up Now

mr THave you ever taken something you are certain you know how to do—something that is integral to who you are—and thrown it all out the window to start completely over, relearning it from the ground up?

It’s not an endeavor to take lightly. I know this, because I am relearning to run. As in: every step, every movement, every everything. Complete rewiring.

Learning a better way to run was my gift to myself after turning 40. It’s the gift that gives until it hurts. Literally. I do my list of drills from my coach: 1-minute, 2-minute, and 3-minute efforts. It takes forever. And it hasn’t gotten easier.

Then, finally, as my reward, I get to take a run with my new mid-foot stride (no more heels grinding in). But 20 minutes is all I’m allowed at this point. My music is forbidden right now. I have only a metronome in my ear, beating at 180, every step matched to the cadence. I breathe three in, two out. Arms in sync. Feet under me. Hips pointing straight ahead. Shoulders down. Elbows pulled in. Back straight. So much to think about. But it all needs to imprint at the deepest level of patterning.

Tick. Tick. Tick. Tick. Tick.

My mind wanders. And I bring it back.

In, in, in, out, out. In, in, in, out, out.

I. Hate. This. So Much.

Why. Am. I. Doing. This?

This. Is. The. Worst. Ever.

Tick. Tick. Tick. Tick. Tick.

I get back home for the final piece of torture: the foam roller.

“Release, you mofos,” I say to my calves through gritted teeth.

“Why are you doing this?” my husband asks.

“Because I can,” I say, eyebrows pinched together.

“Oh, you’re in that mode.”

He knows better than to tangle with the eyebrow look.

But it’s mostly a front. Because this is stupid hard.

Fiercely Stubborn Independent People: Keep Reading

Rebuilding something you thought you had down is uncomfortable. Even when you fully believe that you need to. People design pretty Pinterest infographics about it, but that’s not what it feels like on the inside. It’s exhilarating, empowering, and tortuous. No font or PMS color quite captures that.

I get the need to turn the process into a pretty graphic quote. I have my own coping strategies, like a game I play called: Actually, I’m allowed to do whatever I want.

It’s a really great game, and it goes like this: When I am following some sort of plan/regimen/strategy, and I’m tired and frustrated and feeling like it will never tip over to the good side, a little voice in me says: Judi, just do whatever you want. That’s how you’re really wired anyway. That’s why you’re successful. You never follow the straight path.

Sunday, when all I wanted to do was go run free and clear my head, that little voice said: Your stride is so much better now. You probably have the cadence in your head. Skip all this mumbo jumbo stuff and just put on your tunes and go run six or seven miles. You know what’s best for you.

The little voice isn’t the same as the voice of Resistance, which I’ve written a lot about. Unlike the destructive, low level voice of Resistance, the “I can do what I want” voice is a productive voice—when channeled right. There are times when that voice has been exactly what I needed to break out of negative chatter around me, or to move away from courses of action that wouldn’t have been right for me.

I flash to a thorny work situation I had a few years ago. I couldn’t figure out what to do, so I turned to the blogosphere. There was no shortage of advice about this topic. I read and read and read. The coaches and bloggers all had their ideas of what the situation was “really” about, and what should be done. I considered it all carefully, and decided that every single one of them was wrong. For me.

I did what I wanted (what most said was the absolutely WRONG thing to do), and it was beautifully right for me.

So the voice is smart.

But still, there are times when you have to tell that voice to SHUT UP already.

Discernment is a tricky thing for the fiercely independent. If you are one of us—the self-motivated, the go-your-own-way, the quietly rebellious—you know what I’m talking about. You know how we get in our own way. For no other reason than simple impatience. It’s not self-sabotage or anything so elaborate. I think it actually comes from a place of self-efficacy: you believe in yourself so much that you don’t know why it hasn’t tipped over to the good side yet.

Ultimately, I actually can do whatever I want. And I will. But not yet.

That “not yet” component to rebuilding/rewiring/relearning? WOW, it is hard. The popular “never give up” narrative about goals is far too simplistic. You absolutely have to give up sometimes. And other times, you have to tell yourself to shut up. It’s such a disservice to tell people there is a straight arrow, an exact course of perseverance to follow. Because discernment is all there really is. Always discernment. Nothing you rebuild is sustainable without it.

And you can bet, there will be a ceremonial deleting of the metronome app. When the time comes.

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