Last night, a friend asked me how I was—and I told him: better than I have ever been. Kind of a big statement, right? So, instead of detailing how it’s all downhill from here, we dug into the whys and hows. Everything began with breathing.
About 10 years ago, it was early 2020. I was dealing with the same uncertainty as you were. We didn’t know what COVID was, how it was being transmitted, or what was going to happen to any of us. Personal stuff was the cherry on top. At least it was for me.
Founders like me weave their businesses into their identities—in a way that isn’t always healthy. Ups and downs affect us in ways that we feel in our our bones and our blood pressure. By this point, my body was at DEFCON 2. I didn’t know if Bang was going to make it. I put on my bravest face but I was a mess.
I was lucky, though. I had solid health habits in place—along with a great support system. I also had a new mental tool to experiment with. And, in ironically good fortune, I had plenty of opportunities to practice. The tool was Pearl Habits— a subset of the Tiny Habits framework. Here, pain or other negative sensations can be used as prompts. My frequent sensations of anxiety created an opportunity for a sky-high rate of practice.
I had a stimulus. And before the stress-response could be triggered, I took two deep breaths. Each and every time.
Breathing is known as a link between mind and body. Or maybe it’s more accurate to say that breathing allows you to stand on the bridge between cognition and everything else. As with noticing any physical sensation, breathing helps us clarify exactly when right now is happening.
For me, being able to come back to the present was like a mini-reset. In time, I learned to unfold my attention in a consistent way. After each reset, I’d start from the same place. Or at least try. This made it easier to notice default thought patterns—and work with them. This opened a window for the kind of further inner work that I needed. And man, oh man, I needed a lot.
Of course, it didn’t end with breathing. Rather, breathing opened a window for me to do new things. This was all with the support of friends, coaches, mentors, and the Bang community. It takes a village.
Last week, I talked about capacity. This is where capacity fits. It means the ability to practice as much as necessary to move forward. Knowledge isn’t enough. Sage advice isn’t enough. Motivation isn’t enough. We also need to be in a space where we can truly learn. That space exists between signal and response.