As a former opera singer, I have a soft spot in my heart for drama. Tragic arias, comic duets, furious monologues - I love exploring the range of human emotion.
But now that I’m a coach, I can see how profoundly better my life is without drama in it. Sure, I still love a good rom-com, but when I’m doing anything worthwhile in my life, the drama that my mind gives me just isn’t a feel-good romp. For growth and happiness in any area, I’d much rather rely on the simple math of how to achieve the goal I’m committed to, and release as much drama as I can.
When I was thinking about my business lately, I realized that there’s actually a distinct connection between the amount of drama we tolerate and the amount of growth we achieve. For example, when I want to do something new in my business, say, sign 5 new clients, I can do the math on that - it means reaching out to people, meeting new people, talking about what I do, offering to help them, doing consults, creating invoices, scheduling, and so on. That’s a pretty reasonable set of tasks to accomplish.
Brain, however, that wants to keep me safely inside the cave and never leave, does not think this is reasonable. It does not want me to do new things or go out into the scary world and risk feeling vulnerable or rejected, so it will throw up as many blocks as it possibly can to those nice reasonable tasks. It will tell me I can’t do it, it’s too scary, I don’t even know where to begin, those people aren’t going to like me, are you really sure you’re good enough for this?, remember that one time in third grade you embarrassed yourself?…That was awful. It will do everything in its power to keep me from making those big scary changes to its safe little world.
When you’re first doing something new, like getting used to entrepreneurship, this drama cycle happens all the time. Since everything is new, everything is a threat to sweet little Brain, and it will throw a fit. And because we don’t expect it, we believe everything it says. (“I can’t? Oh, then maybe I’d better stop….this is scary…and yeah, I have no idea where to begin! I don’t know why I’m trying this. I should just go back to my office job.”)
As you get used to the ups and downs, you begin to understand that this is going to happen, and you don’t buy into the drama as much when it does. But still, every new level of growth will bring a flood of thoughts designed to stop you cold, and let Brain get back to napping and eating Cheez-Its.
Drama Tolerance means that you decide, ahead of time, that you’re not going to be available for those thoughts. It means that you deliberately choose to allow the thoughts to happen in your head and not listen to them one bit, because your service and your sharing are far too important to be stopped by any silly thought errors. Drama Tolerance is how you decide you’re moving to the next level.
You can never rise higher than the level of drama you’re willing to tolerate. The drama of where you are will always stop you, until you decide that you’re just not watching that show.
Take a good look at where your drama is coming in. It will show up anyplace where you have a goal that you’re not meeting yet - and it’s in all the “but I…” and “I can’t…” and “I don’t know how…” thoughts that you think are real.
They’re just drama, performed by a few bad actors on a crappy set.
Change the channel, why don’t you?