How do you perform like a star when you don’t feel like one?

How can we consistently create the things we can’t envision? Well the short answer is you can’t. The long answer is to follow a series of steps, putting yourself into a state where you can begin to envision what you wish to create.  As a product designer, my job is to create new products that don’t yet exist.  As designers we are given a problem and then we set out to solve it. When I was a new designer right out of college, I struggled to even get started. I had no process or even any true confidence that I could succeed. Sometimes I got lucky, and sometimes, well not so much. It was really hit or miss. Ironically that affected my confidence in a negative way even more. I could never trust that I “had it under control.” The more something mattered to me the more I struggled to “see” my way to the successful solution.

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I had no faith. When I doubted myself, it was like pouring water on a fire, the ideas dried up. Over the years I have developed a process which allows me to ask the right questions and that allows my brain to start coming up with the right answers. Having complete faith in the process has also created real confidence and the ideas flow even faster.

But what if you are the product? What if you wish to create an improved version of you? What if you wish to create an improved version of your future? As I work more deeply on myself, and I look to continually design my own future, the task seems to get infinitely more difficult. I find the process is vaguer and the faith part more elusive. I have found that if I can’t literally can’t wrap my mind around some future desire being a possibility, I have to get myself to a state where I can begin to see it as a possibility. It is from this place that I can create. It is in this place that the faith lives.

Take on the negative self beliefs. You can’t build a strong foundation on weak ground. I believe for me that negative beliefs are illusions. Maybe that is true for you too. During an Ayahausca ceremony in the jungle of Peru, I saw my own true state of being from outside my body. My physical body looked many times larger than it really is. Emanating out of me was a field of energy that kept expanding. It was large, very large. Alongside me in the vision were the feelings of shame, self criticism, guilt, and failure. They look so small and pathetic next to my true essence. In that moment I no longer felt those negative emotions; they were completely gone. I spoke and said “how can these feelings that have ruled me most of my life just be gone?” The all knowing voice in my head said “I just showed you who you are and how small the negative illusions are, what else do you need?” I said “Yeah, I get that but how can they just go away?” The voice said “You want them back?” “Noooo,” I said. The voice continued. “Just go back to your normal life and do everything the same as you have and those negative beliefs will all come back. I promise”

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I realized in that moment that what I do, moment to moment will either feed the negative beliefs or feed the positive empowering beliefs. I cannot live a sloppy, unaware life and expect to feel good about myself. I never wanted to be aware every moment of my life. It sounded tedious and like way too much work. I wanted to be distracted and oblivious to my life because I didn’t know any better. That vision on Ayahausca showed me a door into a realm of self love and self responsibility that made me want that more than I wanted the unawareness. That brings me to the main point here; you have to have a vision of what you want that inspires you to want to make the changes. For me, doing the work got me to my personal vision. Once you have the vision and the desire, everything begins to change.

Discipline is great at helping to quiet the negative self talk of the mind. When I was in the jungle on my personal retreat, I made a list of things I could do at any given moment in order to keep myself aware and focused.

Walk with intention and awareness, Stand up straight, Meditate, Observe without judgment, Harness the energy of my body, Consciously move my energy, Exercise, Eat well, No coffee, No alcohol, Limit sugar, Limit fats and oils, Limit TV and social media, Read, Walk in nature, be creative/ do creative tasks, stop labeling situations as good or bad, breathe deeply / focus on breath, stretching, journal, move with intention, focus, eat with awareness, rock climb, motorcycle riding, separate the mind from body sensations and body pain, visualize before sleep, exercise acceptance, be in the present moment.

These tasks help me to remain focused on the present moment. We cannot create anything of real value when we are being overridden by the ego mind and negative self talk or focused on our past or future.

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I have noticed that when I slip into unawareness I am more likely to react to life’s situations, getting sucked into moment to moment drama, then to observe life and respond from a place of calm intelligence. These steps which I list here help me stay present, aware and focused. For me it took a month of being mostly by myself for me to realize what things in my life were triggering negative thought loops. I have also learned that the discipline I incorporate in my life quiets my mind. The ego part of me becomes silent, almost as if it understands that it is pointless to resist. I am going to override it anyway.

When I am in doubt, and cannot feel the future I am trying to create, I find I have to take these small, disciplined action steps, daily, or even moment by moment to override my minds constant need to doubt every bit of change. As my faith in the vision I wish to create comes back into focus, I take bigger and bigger steps toward that goal.

I am learning that this is a lifelong practice that requires constant attention. One would never think we could exercise for awhile and then never exercise again and stay healthy. The same is true for creating the ideal version of ourselves and the life we desire. There is no getting there, only the process that goes deeper and deeper until we leave this earth. I found a real sense of peace in knowing that, once I accepted it. If we love something we take care of it. When we love ourselves, we take care of us, body, mind and spirit. There is no end to our development, there is no race to get anywhere and there is no winning or losing. There is only the process of going deeper and deeper into our own understanding, fulfillment and exploring our own individual action. There is no judgment when we take a detour or get temporarily lost. Just realize it and get back to the path.

The benefit of continual self realization work is continued awareness and insight. This awareness and insight keeps us anchored to the present moment, where all creation happens. Where we are the most content and fulfilled. It is in this state that we perform at our greatest potential. We are open to creative input. Our minds are open and relaxed not stressed and scattered.

The truth is we are always creating. We are all fantastic manifestors. We are creating every single moment of our life. I never even realized that, until one day I did. I realized I was creating the life of an endless loop of struggle and trial. I was a professional at it. The awareness of this fact was enough to put me on a different track. In hindsight it felt like I was a fire hose at full blast with no one holding and directing it; shooting everywhere; rarely hitting the fire.

The first step in any journey of improvement of the self is awareness. If we are unaware of what we are creating in our lives, how can we expect to create what we want, except if it happens by pure luck? Awareness is a powerful healer. I have found that at times just the awareness of a negative thought, panic feeling or undesirable physical body response to a life situation can be enough to cause it to evaporate. If we are creating by default at any given moment, no matter what, why not create with intention and have the life we desire.

If you would like to learn more about any of the concepts discussed in this article, please reach out to us at getdriven@driveninnovation.com.