I always find it entertaining when the universe shows me so vividly the areas of my life that need improvement. I’ve been working so hard to get the book out and pushing to meet deadlines, all the while doing all of the things I ask my patients not to do. I haven’t exactly slept enough, I haven’t home cooked enough of my meals or made sure they were all balanced. I haven’t been as regular as I would like about my exercise. All of this, though, is still happening relatively well for me because I’m used to taking care of my health. I’ve trained myself to make my health a priority over the years and so this is mostly second-nature. Other things, however, like figuring out what to do with this book now that I’ve written it, are not. Now that I’m DIYing my own book marketing I’m learning why some of the changes I ask my patients to make are so difficult. It is not so much that I am asking for difficult things – really drinking 8 glasses of water a day is easy. It’s that I’m asking for new things, and any new thing is a challenge.
I’m learning right now, as I avoid (almost constantly) the new and bewildering task of putting together a book tour, just how easy it is to rationalize. I have so many reasons why I really need to do other things right now. All of these reasons make sense, and they’re all valid to a point. I do have a million other things I could be doing than planning a book tour that I don’t know how to plan. But at some point the observer in me is able to look at my behavior and see clearly that I am doing the same thing I see my beloved patients do every day, which is choose their priorities.
We humans are funny animals
We seem to choose our priorities partly because of what is really important to us and partly because of fear of failure. I can see my patients making excuses for not exercising when they’re trying to lose weight because they are afraid of failing. If they don’t exercise and don’t lose weight then they can blame the failure on all the things that ‘kept them’ from exercising. If they do exercise and eat right and do everything they’re supposed to, then times when they don’t lose weight are much harder. Then it really is like they tried their hardest and failed. Losing weight is a big priority for those people, but it’s not important enough to them to face the fear of failure.
I’m finding that this book is a big priority for me, but maybe not big enough to face the fear of failure in a book tour or rejection in book stores, not to mention the fear of being away from my practice for extended periods. This whole process is giving me more empathy for my patients for sure. I can see that what I’m doing is exactly like what they’re doing. Just because I am already in the habit of taking good care of my health so I don’t avoid in that area of my life doesn’t mean I don’t avoid in other areas. So I am going to try to work on my fear of failing with the book, and maybe you can work on whatever it is that you’re making excuses for not doing. Sounds like a good start to Doing It Yourself, right?
I love this picture. I took it on a trip to Big Bend State Park last year for my birthday. This gorgeous flower was perched on top of the scabbiest, most beat-up prickly pear cactus. You can see just a bit of it in the pic. It’s important to remember to take time to stop and smell the roses, or photograph the cactus, as it were. Life is too short to waste working all the time.
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