Photo of skilled businessman with folded umbrella walking down ribbon or rope

Walking a Tightrope: 3 Ways to Stay Steady, Safe and Healthy

tightrope walkwr Healthy Lombard Partner Lori Wrzesinski, Health, Life, and Confidence Coach, wrote  the following article:

When I was a kid, I loved going to the circus.  Peanuts, cotton candy, three rings of entertainment.  The one act that really kept my attention was the tightrope walker.  I was nervous and excited at the same time.  “What if they fall?” I would think.  Then I remembered the safety net below them as they precariously traversed the tightrope 40 feet above the heads of the gawking audience. I never did witness anyone fall and be caught by that net, but I will tell you that I have too often felt like that tightrope walker and know many other such people.  We all hope that we don’t fall.

As a coach, I have had countless conversations with people on this topic. It’s not as if they came to me saying, “So Lori, I am just terrified that I’m on this tightrope and what will happen if I fall.”  What happens during our conversations though is, they begin to uncover this feeling and realize they are searching for a way to keep their balance.  I am most definitely not the consummate tightrope walker, but I have discovered three things that you can put into place that can help you find some confidence as you walk.

First step: Look at the tightrope and define its beginning and end.  When I am experiencing that dizzying sensation as I am on my tightrope, I must identify where the endpoint is.  If I think that this is how my whole day, week, month, or year is going to be before too long I realize I’m going to fall.  That means I am going to get “injured” in some way: my physical, mental, or emotional health could be compromised; my family connection comes more from the picture I have on my desk at work (even if you are working from home right now), or your work performance suffers.  When you define the endpoint of that tightrope, you first look at what it is.  Is it a multitude of projects that have no end? Is it this expectation you’ve placed on yourself that everything has to be done and done to perfection?  When you define the endpoint of your tightrope, that might be you saying: “I’m going to shut down my computer at 5:30 p.m. three days this week.  Or you might say: Better done than perfect, turning it into a mantra that can help shift your perspective and give you that endpoint of your tightrope.  Knowing there is an end can bring you some much-needed relief if you can see that it will not go on forever.

Second step: Find a counterbalance.  Tightrope walkers start their training low to the ground, constantly adjusting their bodies to maintain balance.  One technique they use is to carry something that can act as a counterbalance. If they tip to the right a lot, they carry it in their left hand and vice versa.  Frequently the counterbalance gets switched back and forth between their hands as they continue to sense where they are getting off balance.  Whether you are conscious of it or not, we strive to achieve balance or if you like a fancier term, homeostasis.  When you are walking a tightrope, that awareness of imbalance is vital to your well-being.  In this dog-eat-dog, hurry up and wait world, how can you find that counterbalance for your imbalance?  You are the most knowledgeable on this subject.  It starts with recognizing the imbalance and naming it.  For instance: I feel imbalanced because I am constantly in charge of everyone’s schedules, running them around and I don’t have time to get a good night’s sleep.  Perhaps it sounds like this: My calendar is full, going from one appointment, meeting, or project to the next.  I just don’t have time to eat lunch.  I have noticed now that I binge eat at night because I am famished when I get home.  The imbalance has affected your physical health and perhaps has reached into those other areas of mental, emotional, or spiritual.  A counterbalance could be scheduling time in for you to do something you enjoy such as taking a walk, going to the gym, or grab coffee with a friend.  This is a regular appointment you keep with yourself at least once a week.  Whatever it is, doing it consistently is important to keep that counterbalance in place.

Third step: Get a safety net!   As I said, those tightropes are high up in the air.  They might survive the fall, but it will likely cause a lot of trauma to their body and possibly their mind. Some of you may believe you do not need a safety net.  You like to live on the edge.  While being able to “laugh in the face of danger” is admirable, even Evil Knievel wore a helmet and made sure his motorcycle was in tiptop condition.  So, it’s okay to have a safety net in place, just in case you fall.  I can’t define what a fall would like for you, but trust me, you will know the feeling when it happens.  You may experience insomnia, a lot of irritability, loss of appetite or a huge appetite, brain fog, weight gain, or loss…it’s a long list.  So, what is a safety net?  Having someone to talk to, even just one person, that you can be honest with, that you know will not judge you or try to tell you what to do.  Rather, they will listen and help you figure out what needs to happen, so you can get back on that tightrope, OR maybe you decide to come back to earth.  Either way, having that support to help you figure it out is your safety net.

As a health, life, and confidence coach, it is my hope that you believe it is possible for you to do these things.  That you are a person who is worthy of that investment in yourself.  You are the only one of you after all, and what would the world be like if you were not here.  I am sure that there are many who would not want to find out.  If you ever need a compassionate, non-judgmental ear, I am here to offer just that and will support you along the way.  You can find me on Facebook: All In Health and Life Coaching, LinkedIn: Lori Wrzesinski, and on Instagram: @allinhalc. Remember this: You are worth it!



Tightrope Photo by Marcelo Moreira from Pexels
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