Momentum Podcast: 32
Getting Out Of Negative Loops And Spirals
by Alex Charfen
Last week, I had massive, overwhelming anxiety. Here's why, I was sick. I was actually sick from before the 1st of July, until about Saturday or Sunday, so over seven days.
When we feel a loss of momentum in our lives, we will do just about anything to get it back. This will often send us into negative loops and spirals. We will do the same things over and over again without making forward progress. This behavior by itself will cause stress, anxiety and rob us of even more momentum.
There is a clear way for us to walk ourselves out of a negative loop or spirals. This is the path that every successful entrepreneur in history has followed and you can as well.
Full Audio Transcript
I'm Alex Charfen, and this is the Momentum podcast, made for empire builders, game changers, world makers, shot takers, and creators of all kinds. Those among us who can't turn it off and don't know why anyone would want to. We challenge complacency, destroy apathy, and obsess about creating momentum so we can roll over bureaucracy and make our greatest contribution.
Sure, we'll pay attention to their rules, but only so we can bend them, break them, and rewrite them around our own will. We don't accept our destiny, we define it. We don't understand defeat because you only lose if you stop, and we just don't know how. While the rest of the world strives for average and clings desperately to the status quo, we are the minority, the few who are willing to hallucinate there could be a better future, and instead of just daydreaming what could be, we endure the vulnerability and exposure it takes to make it real. We are the evolutionary hunters. Clearly, the most important people in the world because entrepreneurs are the only source of consistent, positive human evolution, and we always will be.
Welcome to the Momentum podcast. This is episode 32 and getting out of negative loops and spirals. In episode 9, I described to you the negative entrepreneurial loop or spiral. This is that thing that happens to us when we perceive a loss of momentum in our lives. I won't go through all of it, you can go back to episode 9 and listen in detail, but just to refresh your memory, this is the condition we get into when we have a perceived loss of momentum and we begin to consume unintentionally. We begin to do unintentionally. We move in a direction without really knowing why, and instead of actually creating progress, instead of actually creating momentum, we just create activity, and busyness, and we end up in a negative loop, where we do the same thing over and over again without getting anything out of it, and that loop may become a spiral, where we do the same thing over and over again and it begins to rob our momentum even more.
This episode is dedicated to getting out of negative loops and spirals, to creating momentum, and to helping you move forward. Now, here's the challenge for all of us. There's not an entrepreneur in the world that hasn't been in a negative loop or spiral. It's our obsessive personalities. It's our need for momentum. It's our drive to move forward. It's that compelling voice in the back of our heads that says, "You should be doing more. You could be doing more. You will do more. You will leave more behind. You can make a greater contribution and make more happen here," that causes us to go in a direction, hoping that we reconnect to our momentum.
But the challenge is if we do so unintentionally, without the right items in place, without the right foundation in place, rather than creating momentum we burn our energy, we burn our time, we may even burn ourselves, our relationships, the people around us because an entrepreneur who is working hard but out of momentum is not the most enjoyable person to be around. I know, because I've been there personally, and I know that the periods of time in my life where I've been busy but not moving forward, where I've been doing but not achieving, where I've been trying but not making things happen, have been some of the most frustrating, and in all transparency, some of the most destructive periods of my life. I want to help you avoid those negative loops and spirals. There are three steps, that's it, just three steps that it takes, and I want to help you understand them. The first step is to get out of a negative loop, a negative spiral, is to figure out where you're really going and what you really want. When we begin to do the same thing over and over again without making progress, it's often because we're not clear of what we absolutely want or what we actually really want. So, step one, especially if you feel like you're in a negative loop or spiral right now, is to sit down and commit to a clear outcome. Here's a rule you should have. It should be easy to understand and impossible to misunderstand. It should be an outcome that's actually achievable. I'm not telling you to write something down, cross it out, and double it and make it even bigger. You can listen to episode 31 on why we suck at goals to understand why. See, I want you to write down an outcome you actually want. If we go back through the periods of momentum in your life, here's what I know we will find. There was a clear outcome. You knew where you were going. It was compelling, but it was also easy to understand and impossible to misunderstand. That is the first requirement to get you out of a negative loop or spiral.
The second step is once you have a clear outcome, you must determine what scoreboard you will use to let you know that you're actually making progress moving forward. How are you going to measure moving forward? I do this in my life constantly. I wear the OURA rings that tells me how I'm sleeping and how much I'm moving during the day. I have a connected scale that tells me what my body composition is on a daily basis. I measure my progress when I'm working out. In my business, we have a daily huddle where we review numbers in proximity to our goals, to our outcomes. Setting up those scoreboards in all areas of your life where you feel like you aren't making progress will change everything. Because we are evolutionary hunters, we must know, first, what we are hunting and then, second, we must know that we're making progress. We're getting closer to the kill. We're actually achieving. We're moving forward. We're making things happen. That scoreboard will tell you.
And the third step, which is by far the most difficult for people like us, is to get the help and support you need. Here's why it's so hard. If you are in a negative loop or spiral, if you've been doing the same thing over and over again without getting what you wanted, you should share that with the people around you. You should tell them what's going on. You should share openly that you've been in a pattern of behaviors that are not moving you forward, because in that transparency, in that candor, in telling people what's really going on for you, you will give them the opportunity to actually give you the help you need.
See, the problem for a lot of us is we've been told, tooled, and taught these lies of fake it until you make it, or never, never let them see you sweat, and the fact is what that really amounts to is lie and deny. So many of us are caught in negative loops and spirals because we're afraid to tell the people around us, who could offer us the protection and support we need, what's really going on. But here's something I've observed in my career with entrepreneurs. When someone gets real, gets transparent, and tells the people around them what's really happening, almost magically the protection and support they need, the help they need, the advice they need is there.
So, if you feel like you've been in a negative loop or spiral, there's three simple steps. You commit to an outcome. Make it easy to understand and impossible to misunderstand. Set up a scoreboard, whether it's on paper, or you have something electronically that you're keeping, or even a simple spreadsheet. If you're working your way out of debt, record how much you have. Have clarity around what's going on, and track it every single month. If you're losing weight or getting in shape, record your body composition and look at the numbers to show you that you're actually moving forward. If you want to be a millionaire, then track your net worth every single month so you can see the progress you're making towards that outcome. And then, get the help and support you need.
Now, this comes back to where we started. You know, when we get into a negative loop and spiral, we do this thing called unintentional consumption. We go looking for help everywhere. We read podcasts. We read pages. We go to events. We go to seminars, looking for something external, something other than us to fix our situation, to make us feel better, to put us back into momentum. It just doesn't work unless you get lucky, and in my experience that happens very infrequently.
So instead, once you have your clear outcome, your scoreboard, you're getting the help you need, you can now go and intentionally consume what will help you. Now that you know where you're going, you're measuring your progress, go get the help you actually want for exactly what you're going to do. If you're getting in shape, then buy the book that's going to help you. If you're tracking your net worth, then find the person who knows how to help you with your finances. If you're trying to build a business and make it grow, then go read about exactly what you need in your business next.
One of the biggest boat anchors that an entrepreneur can carry around is consuming the wrong information at the wrong time. When we are reading about one thing but trying to do another in our lives, when we are absorbing content about something that we're really not actually doing, when we're taking in the information without applying it, without experiencing or experimenting, it can make us pessimistic and frustrated with the entire world around us. But when we know where we're going, we measure our progress, we get the help we need, we tell people what's really going on, and we go intentionally consume, that same habit of taking on data, of learning, of understanding works as a supercharger for our success rather than the boat anchor that is literally holding us in place.
Every one of us can do this. Every one of us is capable of setting up this foundational process in our lives. In fact, you can do it right now. When you're done with this podcast, sit down and write down what is it that you really want. Make it easy to understand and impossible to misunderstand. Have clarity that when you achieve it, you know because it's clear. Set up the measurements. Start tracking your progress. And then get the support you need by telling the people around you what's really going on and then go intentionally consume exactly what's going to help you get there.
Negative loops and spirals are destructive. They hold us back in our lives. They stop us from achieving. They keep us feeling busy. And sooner or later, we realize what's going on and we can't believe why we've been standing in place, working as hard as we possibly can but not getting anywhere. I want you to get into momentum, achieve your goals, and go out and make your greatest contribution.
Thanks for sharing this time with me. I'm excited for you to continue listening to the Momentum podcast. I've had a ball recording these episodes. We are getting a ton of attention with them. I want to thank you for sharing and for telling your friends about this podcast, for letting the people around you know, even for letting that person who doesn't really understand you that well, maybe someone in your family or someone in your life, know that if they just go listen to a few of these episodes they would get you so much more.
I appreciate you downloading and reviewing the podcast, helping us get ranked, and if you'd like you can learn a lot more about the Entrepreneurial Personality Type for yourself, or maybe for someone you know who should understand you better, by going to FreeMomentumBook.com. It's funny how often I've heard from a spouse that says, "I just loved your book. I now understand my husband (or my wife) better," or how often I've heard from a parent that said, "I'm not an entrepreneurial personality type, but as soon as I read your book I realized both of my kids are." Share it with someone. It may help them understand themselves or someone they know better than they ever have. FreeMomentumBook.com.