Five years ago I had very little control over my brain.
Actually, I didn’t really start getting a good grip on my brain until maybe two years ago.
I’ve done a tremendous amount of work on managing my mind in the last couple years.
I still have work to do, but I no longer lose hours or days obsessively thinking about shit I can’t control.
There is plenty to lose my mind over.
THERE IS PLENTY.
The light bulb did not go off on this overnight.
Anyone who has parented a three-year-old who wants to buckle her car seat by herself knows you cannot control other people.
And yet, this light bulb didn’t go off after my first kid.
It didn’t go off after my second.
It didn’t go off after my third, or fourth or fifth.
But it did go off during my divorce.
My divorce is the hardest thing I’ve ever experienced.
It was gut wrenching and exhausting and really fucking infuriating at times.
And it’s during those infuriating times I started really practicing mastering my mind.
Because if I focused on stuff that is happening on an almost daily basis in my life — stuff that affects me or the kids but also stuff I have absolutely no control over — I’d be in a constant loop of obsession.
And stress, exasperation, fear, and anger.
Living in that Circle of Concern – the place where you are perpetually focused on shit you have absolutely no control over – is debilitating.
And it’s futile.
It gets you nowhere, it exhausts you, and it prevents you from living a productive, fulfilling life.
It freezes you in time and keeps you stuck and miserable and living in perpetual panic and fear.
I didn’t fully realize I was doing this to myself until about halfway through my divorce process.
That’s when I really started focusing on my Circle of Influence.
The Circle of Influence is the stuff in your life you actually have control over.
I don’t totally have this mastered yet.
I slipped into the Circle of Concern pretty hardcore this past Saturday.
And that’s okay.
I don’t know anyone who has completely eliminated forty or fifty-year-old thought processes in a few months or even in a few years.
This stuff takes time.
But the more your practice, the better you get.
Sometimes I slip up and revert to old behaviors, but I’m getting pretty good at catching myself before I lose a whole day to thoughts that have spiraled out of control.
And you know what?
I’m grateful for this practice.
The hard stuff – if you embrace it and lean into it – helps you grow SO MUCH.
I’m a better parent, a better communicator, a better business owner, and a better human being for having gone through this.
I never would have done this work if I had stayed married. I tried but I was so emotionally drained from living the way I had been living I just couldn’t do it.
And honestly, I never would have done this work if I had been in a healthier relationship.
Dysfunction has forced me to learn how to effectively function.
What a gift!
And it’s helped me figure out what deserves my brain power and what doesn’t.
It hasn’t been easy.
But it sure as hell hasn’t been harder than thinking myself into a fucking frenzy on a daily basis.
That shit is TIRING.
Instead I’m doing the tiring work of learning how to manage and redirect my brain.
That’s the kind of tiring that gives you a big return on your investment.
And I’m all about that kind of tired.
If I’m gonna have a tired brain, I want my kids and myself to at least benefit from it.
And we are all benefitting from me doing the work.
Just in case your brain immediately went to, Well maybe she can do that, but I can’t…
I am not a superhero with special powers.
We are all capable of doing this work.
We are all capable of change and growth and a well-managed brain.
There’s no timeline for this. There’s no deadline.
It’s a process that takes time but which also improves exponentially the more you practice.
And there’s no better time to start practicing than right now.