You may have heard the legend about the Native American boy who was told by his grandfather that each of us has within us two energies fighting like wolves. One wolf represents good, love, generosity, compassion. The other represents greed, envy, resentment, anger. The boy is captivated by this idea & asks with great interest which one wins the fight. The grandfather responds: “It depends on which one you feed.”
When the wolves represent such big, extreme emotional concepts, it’s easy to know which one we want to feed. But sometimes it is hard to tell which wolf is “good” and which is “bad”.
I see it in nearly every person I talk to and work with – including myself. We all have a part of ourselves that resists change. It’s the part that delays starting something new & good for us, that avoids committing (it’s not the right time, too expensive, too hard, etc.), that convinces us that it would feel better to do something else (sleep in, watch another episode on Netflix…). I can tell you I heard from this voice loud & clear as I was leaving Apple to start my coaching business!
It can be hard to tell in the moment if that part of us – the one that delays, avoids, convinces us not to start – is helping or hurting. Maybe sleeping in today really is the right choice! But in the big picture, it’s more clear. If we aren’t moving towards what we want, the delay is clearly the “bad” wolf. So why do we do it?
We don’t always make the best choice for ourselves because the “bad” wolf doesn’t look bad! It’s the part of ourselves that loves routine, that wants things to stay the same, that is afraid the new thing won’t work out, will be a waste of time, a waste of money, a failure. It’s the voice of caution, that says it’s better to stay where we are than to move forward into the unknown. It’s the voice that keeps us in our comfort zone.
But the comfort zone isn’t comfortable! It’s familiar, routine, and safe, but often it’s not very comfortable.
So how do you move forward? The answer is simple, but not always easy. It’s to feed the right wolf. Feed the part of you that represents growth, expansion, and moving towards your goals. How? With your attention and your actions. The trick is to combine your attention and action, so that you don’t just muscle through by will power, but you actually think about why you are acting at the same time you take action. That way the action becomes positive, empowering, and can even feel easy as you step towards what you want.
Simple right? But not always easy. That is why I believe having a partner or coach is helpful: to remind & support us, to offer us tools, to believe in us, and hold us accountable. But coach or not, you can move forward.
Next time you hear that voice that is trying to keep you in the “comfort zone”, acknowledge it, and choose to feed the part of yourself that is ready for more, that wants more, and is ready to step forward. And drop me a line to tell me about it – I’d love to celebrate your success with you!