Are you there, God? It’s me, Sybil.

March 14, 2010

As a child I remember watching the movie, Sybil. My heart hurt for her and everything she endured because of her illness. While watching, I remember wondering, “Who is the real Sybil.” I wanted her to experience that desperately as well.

You and I may not be Sybil and experience multiple personalities, but don’t you sometimes feel like there is more than one of you? Don’t you catch yourself looking up to the sky sometimes and asking for help? You may find yourself saying, “Who the hell am I?” “Why does one voice tell me go and the other stop?” “Why am I happy today and pissed tomorrow?” Yes…we’ve all been there.

Well, if you read my last blog about Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?you know that you kinda do have two of you in there somewhere. In fact, according to Godin,

“There are two almond-shaped bits in everyone’s brain. Scientists call these amygdale, and this mini-brain apparently takes over whenever you are angry, afraid, aroused, hungry, or in search of revenge. It’s only recently that our brains evolved to allow big thoughts, generosity, speech, consciousness, and yes, art…The new part is the neocortex…In the face of screaming resistance from the amygdale, the rest of the brain is helpless. It freezes and surrenders. The lizard takes over and tries to protect itself…So the two parts duke it out. And, when put on alert, the lizard brain wins, every time, unless you’ve established new habits and better patterns—patterns that keep the lizard at bay.”

See, you’re not crazy! You can take a deep breath now. But, you may be asking, how do we go from “we” to “I”? “How do I quiet that lizard voice in my head?”

Well, I’m about half-way through the book and Godin is already sharing a few tips for getting back more of your power; your true voice. He alluded to it above by suggesting we must create “new habits and better patterns.” Here are four tough ones to create. Get ready to work hard!:

Seek out discomfort. In fact, we must go out of our way to be uncomfortable. (Are you beginning to sweat already?) Godin says: “Ironically, it’s those who seek out discomfort that are able to make a difference and find their footing.”
Forget Plan B. Remember that safe, plan b we’ve always created? Come on, you know what I’m talking about! Godin believes: “You’ve probably guessed what happens when you have a great backup plan: You end up settling for the backup. As soon as you say, ‘I’ll try my best,’ instead of ‘I will,’ you’ve opened the door for the lizard.”
Look for the bad ideas. Seriously? “Yes,” says Godin. “Finding good ideas is surprisingly easy once you deal with the problem of finding the bad ideas. Every creative person I know generates a slew of laughable ideas for every good one.”
Listen and do it anyway. Listen to the lizard (it will always talk to you!), and do it anyway! Read that book, push forward with that new idea, say what’s on your mind, etc. Godin shares, “The lizard hates it when you read books like this one.”
When what you are doing is isn’t working, do things differently, right? Let’s give it a shot, folks. Simply thinking of attempting to do the four steps listed above stirs up quite a bit of “uncomfortable(ness)” for me.  I’m sure the same is true for you, because our “Sybil” (lizard brain) is at play. Feel the fear? I think, then, that working on step 1 is key—feeling uncomfortable. I’m up for it, are you?

Let me close by discussing confidence as Godin does as well. It takes confidence to even attempt to be successful at creating the above new habits. So, how do you build confidence? A little bit at a time. And, as you achieve small successes, you’ll begin to bring increased confidence with you to your new habits and actions, raising your feelings of success.

Finally, you can increase your confidence by “pumping yourself up”. There are so many ways to do this, but one I find truly enjoyable is reading The Optimists Creed. Here is an enjoyable version.

Tell that lizard that your eternal optimist is alive, kicking, and ready for a tough match!

Have an inspired week!


My Relaxed Book Club will discuss selections from books I feel help high-achieving professionals continue to develop themselves and work on their personal leadership leading to more fulfilled, balanced and successful lives and careers.

2 Responses to “Are you there, God? It’s me, Sybil.”

  1. Mom Says:

    Once again, excellent!

    I do not seek out to be uncomfortable…but it does happen, and I have learned to appreciate the lessons that come with it!

    • Being En Pointe Says:

      It’s really an art form! And, Godin is asking us to be artists. Yes, we must learn to appreciate the uncomfortable moments in order to see the opportunity in everything. Thanks for sharing!! 🙂

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