At the same time, flipping through different channel sources, I realized they all had something in common, fear, angst, and the same guests repeating the same stories over and over. Fortunately, I had the wisdom to turn it OFF and pick up a book.
Why is this important or do we even care? It was a reminder of guidance I got from Broadway legend, three-time Tony winner, and Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient Chita Rivera. Simply put she said, “stay in your own lane.”
Spending the summer back in NYC was amazing for a lot of reasons. My heart was able to heal a huge loss, there was freedom to run errands and be mobile without a car, and most importantly the needed reminder that we choose what we let impact our environment.
During these crazy times, it’s so easy to get swept up in crisis, panic, fear, and self-righteousness. Suddenly opinion is a fact. I found myself having many conversations that simply left me drained. No value was created. The situations of the world were not changed in any way and my precious energy was zapped.
Who can relate? Have you found yourself deep in conversation getting agitated, fearful, or depressed about the state of the world? Was it then challenging to bring yourself back and focus on what you can manage?
The answer for me was yes.
As a long-time recovering people pleaser and addict it’s no secret that the first step to any behavior change is admitting there is an issue in the first place. Accepting we are powerless, and our life is unmanageable as the first of the 12 steps so clearly states.
To this notion, I made a deep determination to simply not discuss things that got me all wound up. Now don’t be mistaken. This is NOT avoiding hard or direct conversations that create value. This is about not getting caught up in gossip, drama, or battling opinions. In this climate, I don’t need to be right, I just need to be happy and productive. Many friends and colleagues may have different political views, ideas on the pandemic and its handling, or any other source of potential dissension. It was time to put my ego aside and just let people stay on their path. I am certainly not going to change any minds and it’s not worth feeling so low and anxious after a disputed conversation.
Like any new behavior, this is taking some awareness and work. I catch myself starting to talk about things that are not productive or constructive and simply acknowledge the rabbit hole I’m jumping into and choose to jump out, in some instances, I literally say out loud, I’m stopping now because this will only produce anxiety.
Even for personal challenges, more and more it’s time to keep my opinions, pain, and process to myself. If I ask five different friends what they think I will get five different opinions. Maybe they are valid for me and maybe they are not but the person I need to trust is myself. Repeating the same story or set of circumstances over and over just adds fuel to the situational fire. As I stop talking about things that bring me down, make me sad, or anxious more room is allowed for creativity and value creation.
It is important to stay informed but that’s it. At the end of the day, all we can control is our own environment. How are we impacting the world? What are we posting (yes this too is a cause good or bad) and how can we be the best example of doing human revolution and transforming our own life?
Simply put, as Chita so eloquently stated, “staying in our own lane.”