I had a ballroom dance competition last month. It was my first one in a year. I’ve been studying a little sports psychology to help a fellow dancer, and it got me reflecting on what happens in my mind when I am at the competition.
When I am in the ballroom, waiting for my turn, I mostly watch the screen for when my number comes up. I watch the other dancers a little bit, look around, but mostly I just wait my turn, trying to calm myself.
When my number is up, I take the hand of my partner, and we walk out onto the floor. In that moment, when I step onto the floor, a switch gets flipped, and it’s like I step into a bubble that contains only me and my partner. All I focus on is me, my body, the music, and the signals of my partner. The outside sounds, the other dancers, the judges, it all gets dulled in my mind. I literally never know who I am dancing against, who the judges are, or even if people are cheering around me. I get VERY focused.
I definitely feel the energy of the room. I definitely feel adrenaline. It’s like I can feel there is pressure around my bubble; I’m aware of it, but I’m not letting it draw my attention. I notice that I don’t really hear my friends cheer most of the time. I don’t pay attention to the judges unless I am literally looking at one directly, and only long enough to give them a wink or whatever, and then it’s back to my bubble. Until I see pictures later, I don’t even know how many people I danced against or who they were.
None of that matters. It doesn’t. When you have something you want…a goal, a direction…you will have things that draw your attention away. You will have INTERFERENCE. Your job is to limit the interference as much as possible. Your job–your practice–is to keep your mind focused. Keep yourself on the path.
Interference can come from you in the form of self-doubt, guilt, fear, anxiety, negative self talk, overthinking, perfectionism and procrastination, just to name a few.
Interference can come from outside you in the form of other people’s opinions, comparison, unsupportive people, circumstances outside your control, mind-reading other people in your sphere, for example.
There will always be things with the potential to pull you off your goals. That will never go away. If you really want something, if there is some aspect of your life or self that you really want to change, this practice of minimizing interference is key.
If you knew this, if you knew about interferences, and saw them for what they are–attempts to stop or slow you down–what would change for you? It’s like when I get calls about fraudulent activity on my social security number and they are going to “cancel” my social security number unless I call them. I know it’s a lie! I know it’s fake. I don’t get tricked.
1. One option is to ignore it completely. Don’t even answer the phone anymore! (Don’t let the interference in at all!)
2. Sometimes I do answer, but I don’t get hooked in. I don’t believe what they are saying and don’t get hooked in. I also don’t get upset that I still get these calls. (Interference WILL come, but we don’t have to buy-in. We don’t HAVE to get hooked. We don’t have to start engaging with it.)
3. I don’t have to solve for it. I don’t try to make the calls stop per se. (We don’t have to run around trying to control the interference from outside of us–usually other people. See point #1. Giving it attention will make it grow.)
Give your attention to your goal-your destination and NOT to what you DON’T WANT. What you focus on expands. Whenever your focus wants to be drawn by interference, remember it is a distraction and redirect to what you want to build, create and accomplish.
Just roll along in your bubble!