Lizard Brain

16 May I am not a lizard

I have had some wonderful messages lately from people all over the UK. These people are true inspirations. They don’t just want to change their lives – they want to launch a movement and impact the lives of others. I think that is incredible, inspiring and brave. These people are the ones who will go first, find a way and then come back to show others how it can be done.

It’s scary to launch something, anything. To put yourself out there and take a stand. It means expressing part of who you are; a part of yourself you might only have just met or even accepted. This opens us up to the judgement of others and, like it says in the author’s introduction to The Alchemist, one of the reasons we never go after our dreams is the fear of failure. If we fail we can’t pretend we didn’t want it because we put our whole heart into it. And everybody knows it.

Fear is powerful and it has its uses. We’ve all had a moment in our lives when a voice in our heard or a feeling in our bodies said ‘don’t go down that path, go around’ and that intuition may well have saved our lives. There is a voice of fear that serves a function, that warns us of danger and keeps us alive. But that voice is very old and has never been upgraded. It’s often referred to as the ‘reptilian brain of survival’ because all living creatures have these basics functions that must be performed to sustain life. The ‘lizard’ brain, as its called, is the most primitive part of our brain and it’s responsible for reflexive behaviours, muscle control, balance, breathing, heartbeat, digestion and reproduction. In other words: survival.

But…we don’t face those same threats here in the UK as we used to back in the day – lions chasing us, spears from rival tribes, snakes in the grass. So why on earth is that voice of fear active whenever we want to try something new? Like launch a blog or plan an event or express how we really feel? It’s simple: because the reptilian brain knows that if today is the same as yesterday, we’ll survive. Change is bad ahhhh. New ideas are badddd.

Well I don’t know about you but I am not a lizard! And I quite like change. Well, I like what comes with it anyway – I like learning, having new experiences, building new friendships, growth, excitement.

I think back to the changes I made in August 2015 and thank my ‘past self’ for finding the courage to follow my passion, leave my businesses and express my desire for more in life. If I wasn’t brave enough back then, I could still have depression, I might still be doing things I hate and I would never have experienced the love, joy and growth of the last two years. I guess this is why people say ‘do something today your future self will thank you for’. Thank you past-Lisa, you legend you!! 

Life passes in the blink of an eye. I tell Alice (my partner) this all the time: ‘blink and we’ll be in LA, blink and we’ll be back, blink and it will be Christmas’. Did you know there are only 31 Mondays left until Christmas? That will surprise you. 31? That’s nothing! Blink and it will be Christmas and you’ll be sat there reflecting on your past year as you set new goals for 2018. Will they be the same goals you’ve always had or will you have smashed them out the park by then?

Christmas 2016 was the first time in my life when I sat there smiling with personal content at having set some goals and bloody hit them! I’d lost the weight, I had money in the bank and I’d even submitted my book proposal to my first publishing house. That felt good and it meant I could set new goals for 2017.

And what are goals? People think of goals as the things we want to have, do or achieve. But that’s not what goals are. Goals are targets that give us a reason to grow. They provide a marker in the distance that says ‘if you want this you’re going to have learn a new skill or put yourself out there: you’re going to have to grow’.

Setting goals is like going on a run. Let’s say you set off on a run with a target to run 3 miles with no stopping, like I did yesterday. It was cold, wet and rainy. The cars we close to me on the road because it was 8am – a poor time to go running by the way – but I was resolute. When I run I say to myself ‘if you can finish the run strong you can complete this project strong’. It’s my metaphor for commitment, for pushing myself, for seeing something through. Yesterday was no different. I pushed hard into that run, into the rain and the wind, into the person I was becoming by digging deep into my resolve, my reasoning, my personal power to keep going when everything in my body said ‘ah girl just stop, rest a little, no-one will notice’.

When I finished, tired and panting for breath I threw my arms in the air and, in complete disregard of the environment, shouted YES YES YES GOOD GIRL in the high street. Now 9am. I was on a high because I’d set myself a goal – to finish strong – and I smashed it!

I knew, on that run, that my body could take it. I’m strong. I’m powerful. I’m a finisher. And I knew in the blink of an eye I’d be back at my desk eating breakfast and doing what I loved. It would be over before I knew it so why not put my all into it?

We can all take a little more like this. A little more hard work, a little more uncertainty, a little more fear. We’ve got it in us. We’re warriors, all of us and we’re here on this planet to grow, to learn, to develop. And we’ve been infinity well equipped for the journey. We’re resourceful, capable, smart, connected and ingenious. We know what to do and how to do it. Maybe not the full picture, but the next step. We know that right?

Yes it could be the wrong move but who cares? I’ll tell you who: the people who are too scared to follow their own dreams. The people who are too pre-occupied with the idea of holding you back. The people who want you to stay still so they can too. Don’t blame these people, it’s the best they know. They haven’t heard the rumour, like you, that there is more to life than fear. They haven’t felt that calling, like you, to follow their destiny. They haven’t desired anything as much as you desire your dream life right now.

Remember, in case you’ve forgotten already, you are not a lizard. So when that lizard voice pops up in your head – and it will – just laugh, remember this blog and say to yourself ‘I will do this, I will push hard and finish strong even though I’m scared and I’m tired because I AM NOT A LIZARD’. The second you smile or even laugh take the next step. When you smile, laugh or joke you’re out of your head and in your heart. That is the moment to make the decision. To make your move!

Remember, in the blink of an eye it will be Christmas. In the blink of an eye five years will have passed. And in the blink of another eye it will all be over. As you take your final breaths the person you are will meet the person you could have become – don’t let the distance be so great, don’t go out not experiencing who you could have been and what you could have learnt. Be that person today. Lead the way and then come back and show others how its done. Just as your mentors and the people who inspire you came back to show you how. It’s your turn.

Face your fear.

Dig deep.

Lead the way.

Finish strong.

DARETOGROW.

Because you are not a lizard!