Is Your Practice 'Shackles On’ or 'Shackles Off'?

by Certified Coach Alissa Gauger, MBA

“You will never realize your best destiny through the avoidance of fear,” writes coach and best-selling author Martha Beck, PhD. “Rather, you will realize it through the exercise of courage, which means taking whatever action is most liberating to the soul, even when you are afraid,” she continues.

What would your practice be like if you ran it from a place of courage and liberation (even when it’s scary!)? Beck writes in her book Steering By Starlight that you can find your way to your best destiny by playing a game similar to the game of “hot and cold” that you probably played as a kid. If you recall, someone picks an object (hot!). You try to find your way to that object while getting feedback from the person you’re playing the game as you move away from the object and then closer to it with them telling you "cold…cold…warm…warmer…cold. HOT!!" Beck believes that we all have a path in life that feels the best to us and leads us toward our individual best destiny much like this game. She uses the North Star metaphorically as a symbol of what’s HOT on your path. Imagine the North Star blazing bright in the sky. Can you find your way to the path that feels really great, full of ease and authentically you?

First, think of a person, situation or belief that fills you with fear and bad feelings. Bring this thought into your awareness and just observe its effect on you. Here are some examples you can try:

I am going to fail out of the practice.

My client just cancelled his policy right after the commission run.

I’m running out of QSs.

Jot down some notes about the thoughts, sensations, emotions and even the physical reaction you just had to this exercise. This sensation is called Shackles On. It is all about lizard fear! It is triggered by a sense that you don’t have enough of something (lack) or that there is a threat to your feelings of safety (attack). Your body’s survival instinct is activated and you will operate from a place of fear—triggered by lack or attack situations. Running your practice Shackles On will feel like an out-of-breath, anxiety-ridden place that is a sort of prison. You will feel like there is a constant shortage (making payroll/good recruits) or that there is a threat brewing (my MD is upset with me/my clients will leave). You survive day-to-day and worry constantly.

Now, let’s see what Shackles Off feels like. Think of a person, situation or belief that fills you with happiness, love, gratitude and excitement. Bring this thought into your awareness and just observe its effect. Here are some examples you can try:

I am going to make P40/MDRT/Forum!

My client just emailed me that she is thrilled with her plan and feeling positive about her finances for the first time in her life.

A client just offered to refer me to because he is so happy with my work without me even asking.

What thoughts, sensations, emotions and physical reaction did you experience this time? This is what Shackles Off feels like. This is what is HOT for you. It is the path to follow to your best destiny.

In every moment as you run your practice (and in life), you have a chance to choose Shackles On or Shackles Off. In the past you might have mistaken Shackles On for safety, but it is not real. Shackles Off may feel scary, but it’s the kind of scary that feels hopeful. Shackles Off will lead you to seek out clients who fill you with excitement and you can’t wait to work with (even though calling them the first time might be terrifying). Shackles Off will lead you to hire the right people, trust them and ask them to build a truly amazing practice together. Shackles Off will let you be your most authentic and happy self which will create abundance.

Search for your North Star. Set your sights on it and don’t stop journeying toward it. Relentlessly play Hot & Cold until your life just lights up with freedom, success and true happiness. Every one of us has this best destiny as a choice if we are willing to be brave.