When my clients first come to me, many feel stuck. They have a “good” life and not much to complain about, but each day is the same as before. They feel like they are living in the movie Groundhog Day, and want to feel more joy, meaning, and fulfilment in their lives. A great tactic to feel inspired again is by introducing newness into your life. This is also one way to activate the first Human Drive, control, as defined by Brendon Burchard in his book, The Charge.
Much like I shared the six High Performance Habits that I use to help my clients create their extraordinary lives, now I’m introducing the ten Human Drives that we can harness in our quest for more. I’m trained on both through the High Performance Institute, and use them as a framework for my coaching. By learning to activate these ten simple drives, you will feel more empowered to show up and create the life you're dreaming of.
Read More: High Performance Habit #1: Finding Clarity
Finding the right balance of control in our lives is a tricky thing, and something most of us have struggled with at some point. For instance, we all know someone who wants to control Every. Little. Thing. They rigidly need to control their environments and the people around them, and their inflexibility makes them hard to be around. On the other end of the spectrum, having too little control in life can create chaos or leave you feeling tossed about like a ship without a rudder. Neither are ideal.
When I coach on this topic, we discuss what a happy medium of control looks like. This will be individual, of course, but we all still need to feel a certain amount of control in our lives. There are many ways to activate the drive for (positive) control in your life, including “controlling for the new”.
By learning to control, or introduce, new things into your life, you will feel more energized, engaged, and enthusiastic. Neuroscientists have concluded that our brains are wired to seek and enjoy novelty and challenge, meaning your brain becomes more active when something new comes into your life. Your mind releases dopamine, the feel-good chemical, and your brain feels sharper and more motivated to learn. The best part about this is that you don’t need to wait for something new to come along. You can strategically bring newness into your life, and experience all the benefits that come with it.
When I was trying to think of an example of controlling the new, a recent adventure I had in the mountains immediately came to mind. I’d planned to head off to a cabin in the woods with two goals in mind: First, I wanted to get out of town and into nature. (Changing your environment is a great way to control for the new, by the way!) Second, I wanted to get some time away from caring for the family, making meals, and daily routine so that I could have creative time to do some writing and work.
Well, I give myself a “C” on the second part, but I’m not being too hard on myself. For one, my neighbor reminded me of my own advice that taking a break can actually increase productivity. And while I didn’t meet my work or creativity goals, I experienced a lot of unexpected newness that left me feeling reenergized and motivated when I got back home.
There was a snowstorm forecast for the mountains, but it was too early for skiing, so before I headed out I bought snowshoes. I packed the dogs, the rain gear just in case, and off we went. Of course, the first morning we woke up to rain, but the dogs didn’t care and made me go outside anyway. We don’t get a ton of rain out west where I live, so it was actually a beautiful (though damp) way to get outside.
The next day, I woke up to falling snow and over a foot of it covered everything. It was stunning, and I watched the snow fall quietly while I worked. Eventually, I couldn’t stand it anymore, and I called it quits early to get out and try snowshoeing. It had been about thirty years since my one and only time snowshoeing, and I was looking forward to the challenge. As fate would have it, I had my first adventure sooner than I thought.
I went to grab my gear from the car in the garage, but as the door swung shut, I remembered too late that it had an automatic lock. I tried for a few minutes to get my clever dog, Ozzie, to open the lever door from the inside, since he can open some doors at home. No luck. With no key and no phone, I had to find another way.
Since I (thankfully) had my coat and boots on, I pushed through the snowbank to get outside, and got to hiking. Down to the lodge I went, but there was no one there to help. Next, I trudged to the security office, and found someone who could get me back in. I got a new key code, and back I went to find two very excited dogs! They had no idea I’d just made an hour-long trip to get back inside. So even though I felt like I had got my exercise for the day, they convinced me to head to the meadow for an hour. Every step was effortful in the heavy snow, especially with the dogs stepping on my snowshoes every so often, but we all had a great time.
By the fourth day, the dogs and I were better at snowshoeing together, and we were ready for a longer adventure. My plan was to head to my favorite lake, but since we can’t control everything, the parking lot was full of snow and closed for the season. I kept driving until I saw a few cars parked with people getting ready to do something.
I parked, and learned they were going backcountry skiing. They thought I could snowshoe there no problem, and since I was familiar with the area as a hiker, I thought I could manage. (*Note: I’ve been told since that I should never go somewhere in the wilderness without telling someone of my plan. And either way, I should always leave a written plan in my car just in case. Oops.) In the end, everything was more than perfect.
We headed out, and followed a good path from previous skiers that wound through the woods. We passed a few people here and there, and as we emerged from the trees, I had to stop in awe. The mountains that I’m so familiar with the rest of the year were covered in snow. It was heaven. Everything was quiet, still, and I felt so full of joy and gratitude to be there with my dogs. Even thinking of it now, I can still bring back that feeling.
Even though I only planned on an hour-long trek, I wasn’t ready to go back. So I decided to head for another lake that I often hike to in the summer. It was further than I thought, but we made it. Looking out over the icy water, I could see other lakes that were starting to ice over. The whole trip took about three hours, and even though I was physically tired, I felt completely energized.
The whole trip was novel and challenging, and checked all the boxes of controlling for new. When I finally got home, I felt like I’d been reset - I was excited and happy to be back to life and work.
You can see how novelty and challenge can be a powerful motivator, but it doesn’t need to be as dramatic as a week-long trip into the snowy mountains. Controlling the new is about igniting the spark inside, even for an hour; the effects last much longer than the experience itself! Try taking a class that interests you, hike a new trail, visit a new restaurant… you’ll never know what lights you up if you don’t give yourself a chance to find it.
So tell me: what will you be scheduling into your calendar that will bring newness into your life?
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