Living The Daring Way™ - Stepping Into Your Arena
Are you feeling stuck and having a difficult time moving forward? Do you find yourself about to step into a new, unchartered area in your life with your hand on the doorknob, only to turn around and walk away? Where do you want to show up, be seen, and live brave™ in your life? How can you do it? Here's our six steps for stepping into your arena.
Identify Your Arena
Close your eyes for a minute and bring to mind a vision of an arena. It may be a football field you went to as a child, a conference hall you’ve been to for performances, or a track and field type image from high school. While keeping that image in mind, identify an area of your life where you want to show up. This area in your life can be big or small. It can be starting to exercise, asking someone out, speaking in an upcoming meeting, or changing your career trajectory. We step into arenas everyday. Again bringing that vision of an arena to your mind, let’s begin to think of the arena as a metaphor for that thing in your life you want to tackle. Instead of the age old saying of “What would you attempt to do if you knew we could not fail?” Ask yourself, “What’s worth doing even if I fail?”
Get to Know Your Arena
In the arena, we need to be aware of multiple sections that exist.
The cheap seats: These seats are taken by people who judge, give advice, or criticize frequently. These may be people on Twitter who constantly comment, or other people in your life who tend to judge. The cheap seats are often abuzz with chatter and can be distracting if you attend to their section too much.
The box seats: These seats are for the big players in the game. The power structures that exist in the world that have (or think they have!) determined our odds at moving forward with our goals. The arena is often modeled after the people in the box seats and reflect their values.
The critic’s section: This section is filled with internal and external messages about our worthiness to even enter the arena. This is where comparison sits and hangs out, telling us we are not as good as others trying to enter this arena. Shame, the belief that we are not worthy of love or belonging, also spends time in this section of seats. Scarcity, the nagging thought that we are not enough also hangs out here.
The support section: These are the people who cheer us on. The people who, when we fall down, look at us with empathy, and help us to get back up. People who are proud to cheer for us from the crowd. The support section also includes empathy and self-compassion.
Explore Your Experience in the Arena
Think back to the original question of Where do you want to show up, be seen, and live brave™ in your life? Ask yourself the following questions to get to know your own process when you enter the arena.
-When you are trying to show up, be seen, live brave™, and enter the arena, where do you tend to look first (for example, the critic’s section, the box seats)?
-What are the messages you hear from each of these sections?
-What does it look like when you sit in your own cheap seats section? Your own box seats? Your own critic’s section?
-Do you ever sit in the seats of empathy or self-compassion? If you do, what do you tell yourself?
-Are there other people in your life that sit in the empathy section?
Be Willing to Be Seen in the Arena
Being seen is all about being willing to step into vulnerability. According to Dr. Brené Brown, vulnerability is uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure. It is being naked onstage when everyone else in the audience is fully clothed. Vulnerability is going on a first date after getting a divorce. Sharing an art project with someone new. Putting your name under your posted comments online. Standing up for yourself when you’re not sure how others will respond. Starting your own business. Admitting that you’re afraid. Being willing to show up and be seen in the arena makes us more brave and allows us to keep pursuing the things we are wanting to work on.
Cultivate Resilience So You Can Dare Greatly in the Arena
To cultivate resilience and increase our chances of being successful in the arena, we want to increase the amount of time and attention we spend in our own seats of empathy and self-compassion. To increase our connection to empathy, we want to:
-Work on recognizing our own emotion when we enter the arena. Is it fear? Excitement? Happiness?
-Stay out of judgment, of ourselves and of others. Work on describing just the facts of the situation- “I feel fear about going back to work after a long hiatus” vs. “I am so weak for having such a hard time with this.”
-Communicate your emotions to others and ask for help when you need it. For example, “I am feeling a lot of anxiety about going back to work and would like your support. Can you call and check in on me after the first day to see how it went?”
-Practice mindfulness. Observe your emotions just as they are, without trying to change them or repress them (Neff, 2018).
To increase our connection to self-compassion, we also want to practice:
-Self-kindness. Ask yourself, do you speak to yourself as you would speak to someone you love? Are you being patient with yourself? Are you giving yourself the time and attention you need to get through this difficult task? Work on accepting your reality within your arena and do so with patience and calmness. It is okay to be struggling or feel challenged by stepping into the arena.
-Common humanity. Remind yourself that all humans struggle and experience difficulty. This makes sense because humans are imperfect and the world in which we live is imperfect as well. We must work to recognize that struggling and suffering is part of our shared experience as humans. Once we do that, we realize that we are not alone and are connected to others during our experience. This helps us to be more compassionate to ourselves and others.
An additional step of increasing resilience is to make room for joy during the often challenging experience of stepping into your arena. When we are working to show up, be seen, and live brave™, we don’t want to worry about chasing down the extraordinary. We do not have to succeed in the arena every time. We are not perfect and do not have to be perfect. We can find joy in ordinary moments. Celebrate what you have committed to working on. Allow yourself to lean into the joy that can come from daring to enter the arena, which can be a vulnerable experience in itself.
Living brave means being willing to enter the arena over and over again with no guarantee that you will succeed. With this information, we can take the following steps to show up in different arenas, day after day.
With your hand on the arena door, notice what is keeping you from going in. Is it your own thoughts? Perceived judgments from others? Discomfort with your feelings? Remind yourself of the reason you are entering the arena. Imagine yourself and your loved ones in the empathy and self-compassion seats in the arena, ready to watch you come in.
Work to let go of the perceived judgments and thoughts of others. If they are also not in the arena working hard, we are not interested in their feedback.
Interested in daring greatly in your own life? Stepping into your arena is something we can work on together during our Daring Women: Daring Greatly 8 week group beginning January 22, led by Dr. Jessica Renz, Certified Daring Way™ Facilitator-Candidate (CDWF-Candidate). Contact us today to learn more.
Further information is available at www.thedaringway.com.
If you are seeking counseling in New York City, contact us today to learn more about our services!
Request a Consultation
Fill out the form below to have one of our therapists reach out to discuss consultation services in New York City.