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Hidden Rewards

Are you paying a cost for choices you don't even know about?

You’ve heard people say “You make your bed and you have to lie in it” … you just haven’t figured out exactly how this applies to you. You get the direct consequences, if you break a law, you may have to go to jail for example … but the other part, the daily grind and how it relates to your yesterdays and your tomorrows … you may not have figured out yet.

In Finding Freedom, Steve Sherwood talks about the concept of hidden rewards. Basically, everything that we do or don’t do, is because we get some kind of reward from it. Sometimes, these rewards are hidden and we are not even consciously aware of them. What we are aware is the cost of our behavior. So we want to change said behavior, we try to change it, we resolve over and over again to change it … we see what it’s costing us to continue to engage in the unhealthy behavior … but we.just.can’t.stop.

Hidden rewards.

That’s why we can’t stop. That’s why we can’t change. There’s something we’re getting out of this “unhealthy behavior that needs to change” and we need to figure out what it is. So say you’re trying to lose weight, but you can’t exercise; you just cannot make yourself go to the gym more than 2 days in a row – you’ve tried, you’ve played every mind game on yourself … so according to Mr. Sherwood, there’s something you get out of this and until you admit it to yourself, nothing’s going to change.

My personal example: I’ve been “becoming a coach” for a while, but the only people who know about my awesomeness as a coach are my family and closest friends. I just cannot make myself tell people who I don’t know and trust that I am an amazing coach and working with me will truly be amazing and life-changing for them. So I have arranged workshops but I find myself only telling the people who I feel safe with. I have a gift that I’m hiding. I have a vision board full of eyes  because I want visibility as a coach but I refuse to share my work.

And then I read this beautiful book (Finding Freedom by Steve Sherwood) and decided to do some digging into my own mind, here’s what I came up with: I have been hiding because I’m convinced that everyone’s going to laugh at me (to my credit, I come from a family where the sport is to LAUGH at the next person). So I have learned not to put anything on the table if I don’t want it to be laughed at, not to put anything on display if I don’t want to expose it to potential ridicule. Brene Brown calls this vulnerability – she defines it as “uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure.” 

I have embraced some vulnerability with my husband, and my mother. But to embrace it on the world stage  … different. Very different.

However, now that I know that my reward for only telling my closest and dearest friends or coworkers about my next workshop … the reward for not sharing the news is protection. I get to share my baby but only with those I know will see her beauty. I’m protecting myself from vulnerability. But as Brene` Brown says, as I already know, it’s in the midst of that vulnerability that we come alive, that we bloom and live a life that we’ve only dreamed of. 

That’s my hidden reward, what’s yours? What’s the hidden reward for this thing you’ve been trying to change? What are you getting out of it? And is it worth it to you?

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People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

- MARCUS AURELIUS

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