Have you ever noticed how the first year of being an entrepreneur feels like it lasts ten thousand years? Is it just me or… am I in good company? Honestly, the first year of the complete black abyss of business, living in the unknown and playing paycheck roulette with myself, month after month – I thought it would never. fucking. end.
So I got to thinking… why does the unknown feel like it lasts forever? Slow torture with no end in sight. And on the other end of the spectrum, why does a familiar path riddled with habit and routine, seem to fly by like a fart in the wind?
For the past 15 years, I have been walking a path at a nearby state park. The first year of walking that 2.5 mile path, it seemed like they took forever. The minutes passed by slower than a Saturday morning college lecture about Government. But then one day it didn’t… so I decided to go a mile further.. then, when that felt like it went by too quickly or if I was too invested in a chapter of an audiobook I would add another mile and another and another….
Before I knew it I was walking 7- 10 miles on a Sunday morning. So what changed? Was it just time perception? Habit? Why does time seem to move faster when we are familiar with the path? It’s kind of like that feeling of the unknown as a child, the time drags on. Ages 1-15 feel like they take an eternity but then, as soon as you enter the “real world” and settle into your routines… familiarity, in some ways, creates the illusion that time is moving faster.
For me, I don’t think it was my physical fitness improvement that made the walk go by faster, it was all in my mind. It’s a mental shift that I made in relation to WHY I was walking. This is something I work on with all of my clients, no matter which service they hire my company for – it’s part of the work.
I started off walking for my disordered body image. For weight loss and punishment for the food, I ate the night before. When I released myself from that mindset and began reframing that walk for good- to give me space, mental health, health sanity, creativity, healing….. The more positively I was able to frame the movement in my mind, the further I could go. After a while of practicing that mindful movement, I craved more miles to create more space, I was healing and feeling more like myself with every step.
So often we only become what we have seen, we only go as far as we have gone before. Our minds have proof that it is possible and that it’s safe. After all, our natural instincts step from survival – what will be the path of least resistance? The path that we know from taking the steps or have seen someone else walk before us? Or is it the path we have never seen someone go down before? The unknown, uncertain path that could be painful or seen as a figurative threat to our lives. We have no proof it will work… when or how it will end – sometimes logic will tell us that it is the wrong path and to stay in a familiar lane. Even if the destination is not where we want to go, at least we know where it leads.
This is where cycles live. We have heard endless stories about children who had a difficult upbringing but defied odds after seeing someone on TV, in a book, or they met someone who expanded their vision for their life. There are clear differences and variables here between the privileged and the oppressed but there are cycles created from what we have seen and experienced throughout our lives no matter where we are standing.
When I was in my early 20’s I worked as a Crisis Intervention Specialist for The Battered Women’s Shelter. My office was in the basement of the undisclosed location where the women would come to live in order to stay safe for a period of time. I witnessed some of the most heartbreaking situations in that shelter, seeing the children who were caught in the crossfire was the most difficult to watch. Most of the women would speak to me about their childhoods and how their children are growing up in similar circumstances. They would talk about their lifestyles and daily choices – how they knew they were not leading to anywhere good, but it was all they knew; It was survival. You can read more about this and how you can help these children, here.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I am in no way comparing the devastating situations these women went through to my walk in the park. But the root of our decisions lies within what we know… security feels better than risk.
How do we remove ourselves from that logical, fixed mindset in order to go further than we have been… to create a path and do something we have never seen done before?
We start. Where we are, with what we have and all of the courage we can work up to just take that first step. Taking the risk and going further than we have ever gone before cannot happen if we don’t take that first step, in faith, out into the unknown. There is always a first person to take the vision beyond what some have seen- why not you?