Is It Time to Exhale?

You’ve probably noticed that this past week has been the week of the Great Work MBA. 25 amazing speakers, 10 smart business people debriefing the conversations, more than 9,500 people signed up to take part, and me running around like – and this is a new Australian expression for you – a blue-arsed fly, trying to keep it all together.

It’s all been very exciting.

And a touch exhausting.

Holding on, letting go

In fact, as the week wound down, I felt like I was slowly deflating. I hadn’t realized it, but I’d been holding my breath for, oh, three months or so as we put this into place.

It’s quite interesting and actually just a little painful to come back into my body. As you might have read in previous Outside the Lines, this is something I’ve been working on all year – breathing, hot yoga, even a short stint in therapy to see if I could get some integration going – and it’s all going well. Except when it isn’t and I get distracted again.

Hello, the Lizard

If you’ve been tracking any of the developments of neuroscience in the last 10 or more years, you’ll know that breath is one of the crucial things that influences the brain.

When we remember to breath, we keep oxygen flowing to our conscious mind, our prefrontal cortex. So we stay smarter, and more subtle and more creative in our thinking.

When we hold our breath the body gets all “fight or flight or faint or freeze” on us, resources drain away from the prefrontal cores and suddenly it’s all amygdala, the lizard brain. Things get more black and white, things get harder to understand, it all gets a bit messy.

Here’s what hooked me (well, the top 3)

As I reflect on the Great Work MBA, I’ve noticed a few things that got me holding my breath. Perhaps there’s something in this list that rings a bell for you right now. Perhaps you can start letting it go now rather than later…

1. Fussing about the outcome

I know there’s a difference between input and outcome, and there’s not always a correlation. But I did keep hitting the ‘refresh’ button to see how many people had signed up.

I could have let that go, knowing that all I could really control was the input (inviting people) not the outcome (how many people accepted the invitation).

(Are you focused on what you can control, and only that?)

2. Creating an impossible goal

We had 9,500 people sign up for the Great Work MBA. 9,500! Amazing!

And I had in my head 20,000 as a target goal. Where did that number come from? Who knows? I just made it up, then used it as a branch to beat myself with when we got only half that.

*sigh* Honestly, you’d think I’d know better.

(Have you got an impossible goal that’s making life difficult for yourself?)

3. Not trusting a system

We did have some systems. But there were a bunch of things that I ended up doing in a random, ad-hoc, “Oh yeah, just thought of that” sort of way.

Which meant I jumped around like – to repeat a phrase – a blue-arsed fly, bouncing from this and that.

One of the findings of neuroscience that is filed under “The Way Your Brain Works – Irony” is that the more you multitask, the worse you get at multitasking.

And here I was, multitasking.

(Are you making it impossible for yourself to focus on what really matters?)

And inhale

I’m back breathing again.

It feels good.

Thanks for all your encouragement, enthusiasm and support for the Great Work MBA.

And thanks to Marcella, Marlene, Charlotte, Denise, Alexis, Kate and Robert who did a whole lot of the heavy lifting behind the scenes.

BTW, today is the last day to buy access to the entire series for $97 – at midnight the price goes up to $147.

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