Updated: Dec 16, 2021
My growth journey in reframing my relationship with comfort, safety, and ease to empower a deeper level of ownership and choice in my life.
It finally happened. After the better part of two years, I left my cozy job in technology sales to devote my time, energy, and purpose into life coaching. While this may have been in the works for a while now, the decision to finally pull the trigger is a huge step for me. And it represents the culmination of years of work and both personal and professional growth.
As I reflect on the journey that brought me here, it brings up a fascinating question - what made it so difficult for me to take the dive? I knew this was what I wanted. And I knew that this was what I had been working towards. So why the hesitation? It was my survival mechanism.
To provide context, everyone has a survival mechanism. It’s our way of being that keeps us “safe” from what we perceive to be threats. It’s how we act in the presence of fear, uncertainty, and doubt.
You may experience it as the voice in your head telling you to not work out in the morning to keep you warm in bed or arguing that you shouldn’t share how you feel with your significant other because you fear they won’t accept all parts of you. There are thousands of ways this mechanism shows up in our lives.
My unique flavor of survival mechanism defaults to anything attached to comfort, ease, and predictability. In other words, when I’m scared or unsure of something, you can count on me to claw for comfort, ease, and predictability at all costs.
I lived 95% of my life completely unaware of what my survival mechanisms were or how they operated in my life. I’m proud to say that I’ve done the work over the past two years to distinguish when they’re at play; now I’m faced with the forever practice of choosing to act outside of them.
Throughout the leadup to my exodus from my corporate career, I had built up a story in my mind that leaving my job was going to be scary and wildly uncomfortable. The thought of my income becoming more unpredictable kicked my survival mechanism into high gear, causing me to cling to what I perceived as certainty. This kept me in the familiar pattern of telling myself “I’ll leave my job when the time is right or I have enough money saved up”. The reality of what I wanted to create in my life through coaching was blocked by the “what ifs” of my S.M.
The truth, though, is that when it comes to your survival mechanisms, the “right time” will never actually come. There will never be “enough money” and S.M. will always look for more.
The breakthrough for me was taking a deeper level of ownership in how I want to live my life. I realized that the only thing holding me back was myself, and it wasn’t a tremendous feeling. The good news is that I didn't have to do this alone. My coach supported me in identifying and naming my survival mechanisms while my support structures held me accountable in taking action outside of my S.M. - I find that S.M. fights hard to keep how you're feeling internal as to not position you to get the support you really desire.
This is my life, though, not my survival mechanisms. I am responsible for every experience that happens to me. I own who I choose to build relationships with, I own the manner in which I live my life, and I own how I spend my time. My willingness to own all of my choices drastically impacts my life experiences.
A reframed relationship to ownership made it abundantly clear what I yearned for and made my next steps very simple: do the thing that I want, regardless of how it feels. Ownership empowered making choices towards the things that I want while also illuminating the choice to disempower the stories my S.M. was signaling to keep me safe.
It’s been two months since I left corporate, and the story that was playing in my mind of how difficult it would be spearheading my own business has been the literal opposite. I find myself busier than I’ve ever been, while also creating new opportunities for my practice in ways that I’ve never done, all while expressing myself more authentically to the world.
Being 100% with you, it’s both invigorating and scary as hell. There are highs and lows in all journies and especially so when you're creating something you've never done before. However, the difference is that I’m practicing ignoring how my S.M. makes me feel when it comes to making decisions. The feelings are irrelevant.
My decision criteria is based on the things that I want - which for me, is abundance in everything. I want it all and own who I need to be to generate that in my life.
The degree to which you own all of your choices has a dramatic impact on your life experience. Ownership offers power, acceptance, and clarity. It may not always seem easy, oftentimes it will be hard. Owning what you want highlights the question of how relevant “easy” (or fill in whatever your artificial safety valve may be for you) is when it comes to creating what you want in your life.
I invite you to consider what would be possible in your life by practicing a higher degree of ownership. Schedule time to connect if you’d find it useful to further discuss or explore coaching regarding your current relationship to ownership.
Peace, love, and luscious prosperity.
Austin Walker, ACC Life Coach