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Getting your best deer in the headlights off the road

http://nashvillecitypaper.com/content/city-news/deer-headlightsIt’s dusk, that time between clarity and darkness – where your sight gets a little muddled.  You are driving a country road.  Suddenly you see her: Rigid.  Staring at you with large luminous eyes.  Knowing you are coming at her full speed.  Yet she’s not moving. She’s not getting out of your way.  You slow down.  Get within a few feet of her when she decides to finally, white tail erect, spring into the safety of the woods.

There’s a momentary hesitation.  A panic.  You know when there is one deer, there are others.  You wait.  Nothing.  Breathing (you hadn’t realized you’d forgotten to do this), you drive on your way.

Why do they wait until the last minute?  Don’t they know the truth in their heart, their body and their soul? You’d think they’d ACT…do something about not being on the road in the first place.

Even if their brain hasn’t jumped on board or figured it all out yet.

Some of us have a tendency to wait before we act.  Sometimes we wait so long that we forget that we wanted to do something.  We’ve had jobs, relationships and hairstyles that lasted way too long and a million creative and brilliant business ideas that have never seen the light of day.

The first time I became consciously aware of this problem, aside from my tendency to procrastinate, was while collaborating with a co-worker.  She expressed her frustration with me regarding how I made decisions, and told me that I always knew the right thing to do, but often I waited too long to act on that knowledge.  She told me that although eventually I did take action, acting sooner would have a much greater impact – and reduce her level of frustration with me.

I chewed on this information for a long time, but, not possessing the level of awareness or skills I do now, it kept me stuck.  I gazed in awe at those women that seamlessly flew through their day, exuding active, in-control energy.  I referred to them as Doers.  I ached to be like them.   Instead I’d freeze like a deer in headlights…then want to crawl in for a nap.

But here’s the dealio: I’ve come to realize that Freezers and Doers are two halves of the same coin.  It is not just us Freezers that have a problem, Doers do too.  We are both fleeing from emotions we don’t want to feel!

FEAR.

Freezers respond with inactivity.  Doers respond by doing everything humanly possible to get tangible results.  The underlying motivation is the same.  We both wish not to feel fear.  Freezers stop moving, like a deer in headlights, hoping to avoid it, and Doers accelerate their action hoping they can outrun it.

Since Doing is more socially acceptable and actually gets results, Doers usually get rewarded for their doing.  This keeps them stuck in an endless loop of doing,  getting even better results (to the pain and anguish of us Freezers), receiving recognition, needing to up the ante to stay current and relevant, and doing more.  Never in this loop is there time to pause,  to call a time out, to get quiet a moment to listen to the constant stream of messages sent by their bodies.  Not stopping can mean burn out.

We freezers beat ourselves up – we use the Doers’ doing as the ruler by which me measure our inadequacies.  Though we may not get physically sick, we end up believing our negative self-talk, which keeps us stuck in the vicious cycle of not doing, which leads to feeling worse and worse and leads to even more non-action.   So what is the solution?

LISTEN.

Listen to your body, to your intuitions, to your heart… Trust me when I say that when you do,  you’ll know with your whole being that something is right for you – whether it is moving to a new city, not taking that promotion or ending that relationship.  Then, you must put on your big girl panties on and you must ACT.  Don’t wait for your mind to support you.  Make decisions with your body and soul’s wisdom, NOT by making list of the pros and cons.

This is also the answer for the Doers out there.  Stop and listen.  When your body says rest, REST.

Why does knowing this help me to start “doing” when I freeze?

Because I stopped beating myself up. 

Nothing is wrong with you because you freeze in the face of fear.   You are just hardwired to react this way.  Choose no longer to judge yourself. Recognize it.  Name it.  That act alone can disarm your most powerful Freezette.

And when you Freeze, know that the solution to defrosting is to pay attention to the headlights coming down the country road – so, make a decision and bound into the woods where you can be wild, free and safe.

Share your experiences as a Doer or Freezer – what tools and technologies work for you?

3 Responses to “Getting your best deer in the headlights off the road”

  1. Juli says:

    I sincerely love this week’s blog. I can totally relate. The past few years I have been dealing with the effects of being a Doer, much to the chagrin of the happiness that is my divine birthright. I could go on about this topic forever, but what I will say is that the surprising gift of my intuitive abilitities have forced me to slow down, enjoy life, and really treasure/take care of myself while I am cultivating those abilities. If they hadn’t shown up and forced me to slow down, who knows what kind of emotional and mental mess I’d be in right now.I have begun to live life in baby steps, vs. always trying to make leaps and bounds.

  2. Joëlle says:

    Thanks for the book tip! Will look into Screw It, Let’s Do It! xoxo Joëlle

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