Six months ago, I lost my flip phone. That’s right. I said it. Not an iphone. A FLIP PHONE. I’m probably the only person in my circle of friends that has a flip phone. And I took a good amount of heat for it. But I didn’t care. No amount of public ridicule could make me feel some kinda way about my flip phone. It was my security blanket–a shield against the crush of technology that seemed to highjack more and more of my precious time. So when I lost it, I’ll admit I didn’t know how to deal. I used another iphone for awhile but I resented the intrusions–all the beeping, the ringing and buzzing. Plain and simple, I was fighting the upgrade.
Isn’t that what we all do? We know it’s time to move on to another job or relationship, to make a change in our relationship, or reach for a new goal. But we fight it tooth and nail because change is hard and we’ve gotten a little bit too cozy with these metaphorical flip phones in our life.
Ironically, I think the computer upgrading process can teach us a lot about how to move on and embrace change. From my brief research, I learned that the upgrade has three main goals, each of which can teach us how to uplevel our lives.
Goal # 1: Remove unwanted programs
Just as unwanted programs can take up too much space on your computer and slow it down, negative thoughts and unproductive beliefs will hinder your progress. Periodically, it’s helpful to step back and assess what thoughts predominate your day. What’s the playlist that seems to be on a loop in your brain? Often, there’s a limiting belief (you’re not good enough, that promotion is not for you, someone else deserves happiness, or you can’t be rich) that’s draining your mental and emotional reserves. Be on the look out for these and pull them out like a weed by the root. Positive self talk and affirmations, coaching or therapy are useful strategies. Prioritize anything that helps you stop feeding the belief and limiting mindset. Sometimes you have to use a more confrontational strategy. The next time this belief shows up don’t just swallow it. Pick it up, turn it around, question it, and challenge it to prove itself as truth.
Goal # 2: Optimize performance
I love that the upgrade process doesn’t require us to replace everything. Instead, optimization is about “making the most of it” or increasing efficiency. When you’re looking to upgrade your life, it can be scary to think about throwing the baby out with the bath water. Secretly you might be thinking, “who will I be you be if I no longer do that thing?” The beauty of optimization is that it doesn’t require wholesale transformation. It’s about taking what you have and cultivating it to get maximum results. Don’t think about adding anything new to the mix here. New habits take time to develop but getting better at things you already do works just as well. Look at your life and determine where can you invest just a little more time and effort but yield big results. For example, when I started speaking more on stage, I wanted to improve my physical look (I know-I’m a little vain; what can I say?). I was already going to the gym 3-4 days per week but I wasn’t lifting weights at all, even though I know how to lift them and had enjoyed it in the past. So I decided I wouldn’t add more days to my workout; I just switched to lifting weights 3x week for at least 30 minutes. That small shift made a big impact on my body–much more than doing cardio four days per week. Maybe you have a similar area in your life where you’re already performing but can optimize the performance by working smarter not harder. For example, getting up 1/2 hour earlier, going to bed 1/2 hour earlier, putting down the phone after 8 pm, adding one date night with your boo, switching to an electric toothbrush–these are all examples of really small tweaks that have the potential to optimize your life and fast track your upgrade.
Goal #3 Get rid of viruses
Viruses have one goal: to reproduce. These infectious bodies get into our computers and bodies, hijacking them until we no longer can function. That’s why when you’re in hot pursuit of your upgrade, you have no time to fight a virus. The best defense is to identify the source and develop a system for staying healthy. First, recognize the signs that you are under viral attack. As you move to incorporate new upgrade practices, have you noticed that you’re losing focus? Do you find that the small gains you’ve made have started to disappear? Or do you lack resolve to push through to the next level? It could be that you’ve got a virus that’s sabotaging your progress. These gremlins could be anything from haters who don’t want to see you succeed, a toxic work environment or relationship, bullying, clutter, an area where you lack discipline, to addictions. Whatever the virus, look for ways to limit your exposure. Give yourself permission to be relentless about creating the kind of healthy, stable environment necessary to sustain your upgrade. This might mean having difficult conversations, blocking off time to attack a bad habit or investing money in professional help. Decide that you will do what it takes to remain vigilant over your virus, making sure to leave no room for it grow.
I’m trying to incorporate these strategies as I move closer to my upgrade goals. So I can tell you it’s definitely a process, so don’t be frustrated if progress seems slow. The destination is important but the journey is where the real magic happens.
And oh, I found my flip phone a few days ago. I was really excited and thought we would pick up where we left off. But that didn’t happen. I guess I was ready for an upgrade after all.