I usually love my Sunday morning Body Combat which, for those of you who’ve never done/heard of it before, is a one-hour aerobics and mixed martial arts workout set to great music consisting of choreographed punches, kicks and jumps. As a middle-aged woman I think of it as the nearest I am ever likely to get to a rave these days – only much healthier! But today, about twenty minutes into the session, I was not enjoying myself and took a break to go to the toilet. Whilst sitting on the loo, I became aware that an entirely different kind of combat class was playing out in my head … What am I doing here? I don’t want to be here. You should have been writing, like you promised. You should have got up early, just like that article said earlier, creative people are early risers. You never stick to your promises. You are lazy and disorganised. I am so disappointed in you. Now, by the time you’ve finished your classes, gone to the supermarket and showered, half the day will have gone already. I don’t want to be here. Then, as often happens in my mind I started to make associative leaps ….. [And while we’re at it] I don’t want to go to work and I don’t want to do that work project either. No, no, no, no, no …”
There was something about the way the word No came out that jolted me. It sounded so petulant that I felt ashamed. I also, in that moment, heard echoes of other No dialogues that had been taking place in the last few days, which I decided had probably conditioned my otherwise inexplicably low mood and sense of being in retreat. What if you just say Yes instead? I suggested tentatively, intuitively recognising the need to manage my inner teenage Goth that was about to bite back. I know, I said, but what if you just tried it anyway? Starting now.
Reluctantly she agreed and I went back into the class with Yes in my head. Yes, I’m going to do this. I’m here now and I am going to enjoy it. Yes I said when the next track came on, I like this one. Come on, more Yes! I said as my energy picked up and my body began to feel lighter Yes, more energy, that’s it. After only about five minutes or so, the dialogue had stopped and I was in flow, being in the class with the music.
A few hours later, driving back home, I was thinking about my recent NLP weekend as I am currently doing a refresher of my Master Practitioner training which I completed four years ago. We were doing some modelling work in pairs in which person A shared something they were really good at and person B’s job was to extract, in as much detail as possible, the beliefs, behaviours and strategies A was employing (most of which were unconscious) in order to practice their skill. When we reconvened as a larger group to share the insights we noticed that in every case, part of the success strategy was that the person believed they could do the particular skill – for example always being able to reverse park a car in even the tiniest of spaces. And, interestingly, the practical action that often triggered the belief was the person saying an emphatic “Yes/Yes, I can do this ”, either aloud or just on the inside, which was often followed by them playing a film in their head, seeing themselves doing the activity.
It makes me wonder whether Yes is like a jump-start for our engine. Maybe energetically, Yes is an affirmation in and of itself – perhaps the shortest and quickest word in the English language that lifts us up and helps us to stand tall? So this week I am going to practice more Yes’ing and invite you to use this simple tool and tell me what you notice. Love LHKD xxx