One foot on the gas, one foot on the brakes

On having one foot on the gas and one foot on the brakes

This is how I've always been with my business dreams.

YES I DO want to move forward.

YES I DO have a LOT of ambivalence.

You can have ambivalence and doubt and fear AND ALSO pursue your dreams wholeheartedly.

I don't think dreams should be reserved for people who have no doubts.

I'm highly sensitive and insecure and struggle when my work doesn't live up to what I thought it would be, when I saw it in my head. This also describes most creatives.

I've never aimed to eliminate ALL ambivalence. I'm sure there are lots of life coaches and internet gurus who want to help me do that, but I don't see that as a healthy goal.

I prefer to allow myself to FEEL HOW I FEEL while also PURSUING WHAT I WANT TO PURSUE.

Still. This one foot on the gas and one foot on the brakes thing is ANNOYING.

I go full gas sometimes, determined to keep my foot on the gas - only to have the other foot hit the brake so gently that I don't even notice our momentum slowing down.

Then when I do notice we're almost stopped. And I'm SUPER ANNOYED with myself for doing this AGAIN.

Also, I do teach people how to transform patterns and I'm actually really good at it so why haven't I transformed this one?

Because I know that brakes = a deep sense of safety.

And putting my foot on the gas tends to be exhilarating, exciting, and scary. At some point, scary starts to take over. At that point, it's REALLY REALLY REALLY GOOD to have an effective way to bring in a sense of safety.

So I know WHY I do it. Knowing that is NOT enough to change it.

The thing I usually do to try to change this is actually the thing you should never do.

And I know this isn't how to change a pattern, but I always think that *this time will be the one exception*

And so I decide: this time I'll just keep my foot on the gas. And I won't put my other foot on the brake. No matter what. Just for 30 days. Just to get over this particular bump on the path.

But we can't strong-arm ourselves into new ways of being.

And one-foot-on-the-gas-one-foot-on-the-brakes is a VERY established way of being for me, so I can't even imagine how strong that arm would have to be for strong-arming to even begin to work as a strategy.

So it's never worked.

But we *this time will be the one exception* ourselves because the way to ACTUALLY change our patterns is so hard that we would rather do anything than do that.

What happens for me is that I have ENOUGH gas to get to where I want to be, so I am not all that disturbed by the other foot on the brakes slowing me down... for the most part.

But then sometimes, like today, I get to these places where I notice that I didn't fully follow through on my plans/ideas and I get really frustrated with myself.

And that frustration is driving the decision to say: OK I AM DOING IT AGAIN AND THIS TIME GAS ONLY FFS!!!!

All that is is a desire to get out of my feelings of frustration.

That's NOT an effective approach to changing patterns.

And so the result is: I temporarily get free of my feelings of frustration, but I am just setting myself up to repeat the whole thing.

Because "JUST DO IT BETTER NEXT TIME" it NOT a strategy.

I'm writing this from inside that place of frustration where I really want to just make myself do it better next time.

Instead, I'm writing this out.

I'm spending some time with my feelings.

I'm cutting myself some slack.

And I'm asking myself: are you ready/willing/able to do the ACTUAL work of changing this pattern?

What I DO feel ready to do is to take the "Just keep your foot on the gas and do better next time" option off the table completely. It doesn't work, it just sets me up to get frustrated later on.

Of course, since it's a knee-jerk reaction for me at this point, that means I'll have to work on staying aware of this and not falling back into the pattern, which means probably catching myself IN THE PATTERN and choosing to get out of it sooner.

And eventually get to a place where it's not an option for me anymore.

What I really want is to be more HONEST with myself about this.

The truth is, I will never be a person who keeps her foot on the gas all the time. And it feels liberating to write that in public.

What I do want is to be a person who has more control over the brakes though. Who doesn't auto-brake the second things feel scary.

Actually I want a new metaphor. Because I always want to brake for danger, and it's a much more subtle issue of determining what is actually dangerous and what just feels scary because it's new and dreams are terrifying.

I feel ready to switch into a new metaphor for momentum.

And the first step to doing that is to be more honest with myself about my feelings ALL THE WAY THROUGH the process.

So that's where I'm starting now.

One foot on the gas, one foot on the brakes