Being a Signing Agent can be a little nerve wrecking, right? In the early months, sometimes I felt no fear or anxiety until just before it was time to head out, and then the jitters started. And sometimes I was nervous for days in advance and freaked myself out on a regular, and ongoing, basis. But either way, every emotion started with a thought. Or a bunch of thoughts. I call them,
“The Stories We Tell Ourselves That Scare Us To Death!"
We all have these stories. And it’s these stories that give birth to our fears, doubts and anxieties. Sometimes these thoughts are obvious to us. Sometimes they are undetectably booking around our minds like stealthy gremlins... on wheels. But by identifying, and questioning, our scary stories before the signing, we can stop our Mind Gremlins from running the show, and stopping us from being ROCK STARS!
So how do you find out YOUR scary story? And how can you stop those Gremlins from wreaking havoc and stealing your joy?
1. Get those little devils down on paper.
What are you thinking, feeling and believing about your upcoming signing? Write it down on paper or type it up. This powerful step stabilizes and stops the mind right in its tracks. When you tell yourself your scary story on paper, those gremlins racing around in your mind come screeching to a halt, and they stop pro-creating into little gnarly baby gremlins.
Sometimes just doing this alone can calm the mental cray cray. You may choose to do “stream of consciousness” journaling and just let her rip. But remember, even if only a tiny fraction of you believes a particular thought, WRITE IT DOWN ANYWAY! Don’t be spiritual or wise – don’t edit.
We are looking for gremlins here and it can get ugly! It is sometimes just those little marginally believed thoughts, that we think we have “evolved” past believing, that can trip us up the most. And besides, no one needs to see this thing! You don’t need to post this on Facebook!
Use short, simple sentences.
It might be stream of consciousness writing, something like this:
"I don't know what I am doing. They are going to know I have no idea what I am doing. I am going to make a mistake. If I make a mistake it will be terrible. I have to do this perfectly. The borrowers are going to be unfriendly. They won't like me. They could be serial killers. I am going to fail miserably. I don't want to do this job. I am going to quit. This is too stressful. This is not worth it. I am not up to this.”
Or you can start off identifying the feeling, like this:
“I am feeling (Concerned, Afraid, Anxious) about my upcoming signing because…”,
and then make a simple list of your thoughts. Here are some of my frequent visitors:
I am too scared to do this.
I am going forget everything I learned.
I don't want to do this anyway!
If I don’t worry about this, I will screw it up. (Sound familiar?)
I need to do this perfectly.
2. Question those thoughts: IS IT TRUE? CAN I KNOW IT IS TRUE?
Circle a few that give you that really pukey feeling. Then ask yourself, “Is it true?” Are these thoughts really true? Can I REALLY know they are true?
As Byron Katie discusses in her masterpiece book on questioning stressful thoughts called, "Loving What Is," this is a question to sit in as a meditation, allowing the answer to rise to meet you. You might be surprised at what you find. Isolate one thought and question it like this:
Thought: "I am going to screw this up."
Is that true? (Wait - don't rush. Wait for the answer to come from a wiser part of yourself.)
"Yeah it feels true."
Can you really know that it is true, that you are going to screw this up?
"No. I can't know that at all".
Now take that in! Isn't it just as possible that you won't?
3. Find Evidence for the Opposites.
Gnarly Gremlins are notorious liars. And when we believe them, it affects our vision; we can only see the evidence that backs up their tall tales and we miss the rest of reality! So bust them out and gather evidence for the opposite of your thought or belief.
For example, if you believe, “I willscrew this up”, find at least 3 pieces of evidence, concrete examples, of where the opposite could be as true or truer!
“I will not screw this up.”
I am well prepared.
I have done well in the past.
I can always correct any mistakes I make.
It happens to all Signing Agents at some point.
Just doing it at all is a win so I can’t screw it up anyway!
SO SIMPLE! But so powerful.
And now that you have your “scary story” stopped dead in its neural tracks and stabilized on paper - now that you have had a moment to question the insane Tom-Foolery of your Gremlins - ask yourself this final, critical question:
4. Ask Yourself: “What is the WORST that could happen?”
and write the answer down. You may be surprised. It will likely be a lot less scary than your gremliny mind would tell you. This is one of the most powerful questions we can ask ourselves. And the power is in our answers.
Now go forth and SIGN - and plan on killing it!
Because YOU are a Gremlin Slayer. And a total ROCK STAR!