Do you remember using the centrifuge in high school chemistry? It’s in physical force of spinning at a high velocity separates compounds in a mixture. When I was in high school, we played with the concept of centrifugal force at the amusement park. They let people in to a giant drum that starts spinning faster and faster until it reaches a high-speed and your body is pinned to the wall. They may have even called it the human centrifuge.
When your pinned to the wall by gravity, it’s hard to lift even a hand. In the arena of separating compounds, it feels like parts of your stomach might be separating from your body…. The thought of trying to go somewhere seems crazy. The only consolation is knowing that they’re going to turn that spinning off and life will return to normal.
Maybe that’s where the answer lies in how we respond to the centrifugal force of life that has us pinned against a wall of self doubt. In a coaching conversation recently, the details of which I will naturally keep confidential, my client used some powerful words to talk about the paralysis she feels when self-doubt over takes her thoughts. She contrasted the power of the centrifuge with the release she feels on days when confidence comes easily.
Two strong words: Paralyzed. Released.
The challenge is how to respond when are in the centrifuge. How do we separate doubt from truth? When the velocity of self-doubt is working against you and the monkeys are chattering in your head, reminding you of every failure, reminding you of what you are not, striking fear that the spinning will never stop. How do you release yourself?
The answer for me comes from Steven Furtick’s Crashing the Chatterbox.
“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, don’t stay at home and think about it.”
When you were in that human centrifuge, you didn’t panic that much (maybe you did) about the fact that you were immobilized because you know they would press the button, the spinning would stop. You might lose your funnel cake, but you weren’t at much more risk than that. When we are immobilized by fear in business we might be
… afraid to make that sales call,
… unsure how to start that project,
… terrified to have a difficult conversation.
Just like when you were in the human centrifuge, stay there a minute or three. Let yourself feel the fear, then pry yourself off the wall and take action. Your greater forces can’t steer a ship that’s not moving (that was last week), so get the ship in the water, get speed and feel the courage build. As you gain speed and traction, the feeling of release will wash the doubt behind you. Now your velocity is nothing but possibility.