Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Don't Feed the Wolves

I've been doing yoga for the past few months. I started going late in the summer, figuring it would be a good outlet for tension and pent-up stress. And it has been!

Initially, I was just doing hot vinyasa yoga--sweating it out in a 105-degree room, trying to push myself to stay active for the whole 75 minutes without having a complete panic attack. But then I discovered yin yoga. Yin is a passive practice, holding positions for three minutes at a time to stretch connective tissue. It's amazing. And the class I try to go to is at night, done by candlelight, with an instructor who speaks softly and constantly reminds us how great we are for taking time for ourselves. It's the crunchiest, chillest, most wonderful experience. But I digress…

Last night, Linda the instructor kept repeating, "Don’t feed the wolves. Water the flowers instead." I've been thinking about that since, wondering what my wolves are and realizing just how much I encourage them.

We all have wolves in our lives. Some are external, threatening us and trying to tear us apart with aggressive attacks. These can be competitors, enemies, frenemies, injury, restriction, or even just negative people that bring us down and make us fret. And then some wolves are internal, eating us up from the inside out: worries, phobias, self-depreciating thoughts, disease, and addictions.

These wolves are bad news. In all logical thinking, we should avoid them and put up fences to keep them out because they're destructive and dangerous. Yet somehow we feed them! But how? And why?

Some ways we feed the wolves are easy to understand, like how we feed addiction … because we literally do feed addiction. "Just one more cookie; I'll eat a salad tomorrow." "Just one last puff; I'll quit when I'm not so stressed." "Just one last episode; I'll sleep better tomorrow night." Worries, phobias, and other obsessions are fed in much the same way. We focus on them--feeding them--which, instead of bringing resolution, just makes them stronger and allows them to take over more of our being.

Other ways we feed the wolves are harder to understand, like how we feed competition … because we don't think we actively feed competition. Isn't our intention to beat competition? Well, we do feed it--just like we feed other aggressors--by playing its game. We play price wars, insult, condescend, downplay, and degrade. We want to run negative ad campaigns, telling the world just how much they suck and we rule. But that behavior only makes us look petty, whiny, and on the defense. It makes us appear weaker, and consequently makes the competition stronger.

What if, instead of feeling all of these wolves, we put energy into building up those things inside of us and in our lives and businesses that are beautiful, strong, attractive, and distinguishing--watering our flowers. Let's stop throwing scraps to those wolves, and stop giving them the territory that they're creeping in on. Instead, let's plant new seeds, take back our property, and make it shine. Let's stop the damage, stop bringing ourselves and others down, and instead make healthy choices to build our world back up again.

A friend messaged a Simon Sinek quote to me today: "Fight against something and we focus on the thing we hate. Fight for something and we focus on the thing we love." 

We have nothing but opportunity. Here's to a beautiful year ahead!

#DontFeedtheWolves #WatertheFlowers #Resolutions #AskUncleMarty


Also published on the AMBC blog on December 27, 2016.