Back in 2007, I went to a weekend marketing conference in Los Angeles. Every morning for three days, a group of 500 business owners gathered in the big hotel ballroom for a day of speaker presentations and panels. And every morning, an unbelievably cheery emcee came bounding out onto the stage, starting belting out some Broadway-style tune and then urged us to get up out of our seats and jump up and down, waving our arms in the air. Ugh. (Have I mentioned I’m not a morning person?)
Of course, I understand the rationale behind it. Like Tony Robbins so famously says, your physical state affects your emotional state: “Change the way you move, change the way you feel.”
So why did I feel so annoyed and grumpy? As a peak performance coach, shouldn’t I be all over that?!
I certainly don’t disagree that you can use your physiology to affect your emotions. But here’s the thing: Emotions have an energetic frequency and you have to be within jumping distance of one to access it, otherwise you’ll just emphasize how far from it you feel. (If you’ve ever had an uber-happy friend try to cheer you up when you’re uber-bummed, you know what I’m talking about.)
Instead, try this: Imagine you’re on a dial from 1 to 10, with gloomy Eeyore, say, hanging out on the bottom left at 1 and, well, Tony Robbins at 10 on the right.
Let’s say you’re feeling discouraged because something you really wanted — VC funding, an ideal client or a second date — didn’t come through. Instead of trying to get all the way from 3 to 10 in one fell swoop, start small. See if you can find a thought that will get you feeling slightly better, a 4. (If you’re really feeling stuck, try for 3.25.) Maybe you think something like, “Well, at least they agreed with our business model” or “Actually, he had kind of an annoying laugh.” Or, maybe you direct your thoughts to a totally different topic altogether, like how you’re looking forward to seeing RoboCop on Saturday.
The point is to get some movement, some momentum. Once you’ve found a little improvement (or a little less stuckness), then you’ll have access to a slightly better feeling and, gradually, will be able to pick up speed. Soon, you too will be jumping up and down and waving your arms in the air (or not).