Yes, I’m planning a nine-month trip. Yes, we are taking the whole family. Yes, we are packing up the entire house. Yes, I’m managing two start-up businesses.
My life is full – full of things to do, places to be, and plans to make. Staying on top of everything that needs to be done can overwhelm me.
Now that we are within 10 days of leaving, things seem to have ratcheted up a notch. The 3 AM wakeups happen a little more frequently. We are hearing more people say “This is the last time I might see you before you leave.” Regular conversations bring a flood of emotion as we all wrap our heads around what’s about to happen.
There have been moments in this process when I have experienced fear, anxiety and panic. Now as we get closer to the travel date, I see the same thing happen with the rest of the family.
We talked together about these moments of intense anxiety and how we want to manage them. While we each have our own unique set of signs, symptoms, and responses, we decided on three things to do when we feel the fear and overwhelm start to build.
1. We remind ourselves that the emotions of fear and excitement “fire up” in the exact same place in the brain. We learned that from Jim Nevill, founder of Go Adventure. Fear and excitement produce the same adrenaline response, and it is only when we put our perspective to it does it become fear or excitement. In other words, it is all in how we choose to label it. This theory will really be put to the test when the time comes for us to skydive or bungee jump. In the meantime, we are all working really hard to develop the practice of shifting fear to excitement.
2. We remind ourselves that we are not the first family to make this type of journey. We are not “going where no one has gone before.” There is support available. Our family is resilient and capable. We have faith and belief that what is meant to be will be. As with any life-changing event like marriage, kids, adoption, business, there are resources available, people willing to help. All you need to do is ask. Trust me, we are asking lots of questions, because the more we know the better prepared and confident we become.
3. We keep our to-do lists current. To-do lists are imperative! Let’s face it, life is busy. There is always a lot to do and get done. For our family, lists help us all get “stuff” done. For me personally, to-do lists give me focus, clarity, reason for celebration and a way to clear the clutter in my brain. John and the kids do their own version of to-do lists which work for them. My version consists of three columns on an 8 ½ X 11 sheet of paper. The columns are titled as follows: ASGN Hospitality (my other business), The Courage Vibe and Personal. Under each column, I list what needs to be done for the day. I am constantly adding to the lists as things pop into my head. I work hard to evenly distribute my tasks for the day between the three columns so I feel like I have made headway in all the areas not just one or the other. Whatever doesn’t get done one day gets moved to the next day and stays on the list until it is completed.
Fear, panic, worry and anxiety can cause us to freeze in place, rather than to reach toward what we want to achieve or experience. Our family has agreed to keep moving and shift our fear to excitement. There is so much to explore and discover.