Connect With Courage – I just lost my bicycle – and still couldn’t feel any happier.

Hello & welcome to Connect With Courage where we talk about how to make your life bigger by building your courage and how to make your life better by building your connection. I’m your host and friend Gabriel Pecher. I’m truly excited about todays episode where I’m gonna share the story of how I just lost my bicycle and why I still couldn’t be any happier.

Here are just 3 things that you will get from todays episode:

  • You’ll see that it’s possible to move from feeling dead & empty inside to feeling alive & rich.
  • You’ll learn the specific questions, that will enable you to turn a difficult experience around.
  • You’ll feel encouraged to start building your own courage and connection.

The Backstory

So this year, 2020, in the beginning of March, I arrived in Barcelona. My plan was to discover the city and build my network there, which was not going to happen. I arrived on a Monday and exactly one week later the whole country was on complete lockdown. No going outside except for grocery shopping.
Now, I count myself blessed, because I was in a great place, we had a huge garden, which was almost like a park, and I was working with a wonderful company called Lubulona, if you ever want beautiful wooden toys for kids, check them out, and luckily we could maintain working and business was growing. Also the nature of the work allowed me to listen to a lot of books at the same time. I really enjoyed working and living there, after a while though, I didn’t want to listen to any more books, I just wanted to live again. I’d not been going out much, because of the pandemic, I didn’t want to put myself or the family I was living with at risk. And I tried different things, but I felt my energy decline and I turned to online roleplay games. And truly did not feel well and I began to wonder, I’m feeling really low right now. Could my life be as or even more exciting than these games? At the same time I was also reading a book called “Personality isn’t permanent” which was all about how we can become more psychologically flexible and really live.
One day when I was at the beach, I just felt like doing a journey along the coast. And after a few weeks I bought a tent and started the journey. Not walking, but with a bike. And it’s been quite a journey.
Over 1000km on two different bicycles, the first one with barely working brakes (I’m happy I survived), the second one really well equiped for the journey. And yesterday that very bike got stolen. I was staying in the can of my dear friend Pablo and I got up in the morning and looked outside the van. And there was no more bike. Not even the lock was left.
And I was just a little bit confused, I pretty quickly realized that it was stolen and that there were very low chances of getting it back.

Feeling alive

Very quickly my mind turned to the thought:
“Something good is going to come out of this. What’s it going to be?”
One thing I’ve learned on my journey is:
The secret to life is not about being secure, but about being able to adapt to whatever life throws at you. Everything can be a learning experience.
We can choose the meaning we give to the events and things in our life.
My journey was rich of experiences:
I experienced extreme heat, pouring rain, storm, wind that was as strong as I was, it took all the determination I had. I slept in the open air, in my tent, in hostels and hotels, on the beach, in the forest, in the mountains, on a bench and on a monument. I rode my bike at night and day, I’d been chased by dogs, interviewed be security, pulled over by the police. I felt exhilerating joy, unsurmountable frustration, love, loneliness, shame, pride, connection and everything there is to be felt. I cannot think of a time of my life where I felt more alive.

I’d wanted to quit almost every day. What helped me to overcome frustration was the question: “Is this a learning experience?”

Also I realized:
If I don’t sleep today, I will sleep tomorrow.
If I don’t eat today, I will eat tomorrow.

There is something I learned from living this experience. It helped me to drop my worry:

The Questions

I notice …

There is no bike in front of the van. There is no bike close to the van. Not even a lock I can see.

I wonder …

What happened? Did I put the bicycle there? Did I lock it?
Who took the bicycle? What kind of person is that? Why do they do that? Which decisions led them to do it? Do they realize they are taking away value instead of adding value? How do they feel about it? How do they justify it? (EVERYBODY wants to think of themselves as being a good person. If they knew that they could earn money by adding value to people, would they choose to do it? (I mean they could go from house to house and just ask people if they have bicycles that they don't need anymore, because I just started that business ...) If they knew they could earn money by adding value would they choose to do it?
**What does this make possible?**

It reminds me of …

* I lost my jacket on the way.
* I lost my beloved rain trousers on the way. (Way harder because I held on to them for a long time.)
* I lost other small things.

Could it be …

Continue the journey

  • To discover more about courage and connection, listen to the other episodes, this stuff works!
  • If you know anyone this might be helpful to, please share it with them.
  • Until next time: Connect With Courage

Connect With Courage – Ep. 7: How To Get Into Flow

Shownotes

  • Flow is a state of being. We modulate an activity until we get into a flow state.
  • Flow for most of us is easier to achieve than we realize.
  • Interstitial journaling (as explained in Episode 6) will help you to catch your patterns and then make adjustments before you get into a task.
  • Again, I’m very thankful to Tony Stubblebine from Coach.me who introduced me to how to modulate for flow.

Elements of a Flow Experience

  1. We’re confronting a task we have a chance of actually completing
  2. There’s a concentration and focus on what we’re doing
  3. The task has clear goals
  4. The task provides immediate feedback
  5. There’s a sense of involvement where awareness of everyday worries drops away
  6. There’s a sense of control or even mastery
  7. Self-consciousness disappears (yet a stronger positive sense of self emerges after the task)
  8. The sense of time is altered; hours seem to pass by in minutes, or seconds feel stretched out into minutes or hours.

Levers for Flow

  • Clear goal. Set a goal for yourself. The goal could be pragmatic or it could simply be created for the purpose of turning your activity into a goal.
  • Challenge. It should be challenging enough to be engaging, but not so challenging as to be frustrating.
  • Skill. If you can’t bring the challenge level down, then you’re going to have to bring your skill level up.

Emotional States When Working

  • There are 8 emotional states, that we can be in: Apathy, Boredom, Relaxation, Control, Flow, Arousal, Worry, Anxiety

If the challenge is lower than your skill level, you might feel Apathy, Boredom or Relaxation.
-> then modulate the goal and the challenge. Make the goal bigger, or make a challenge out of a mundane task.

If the challenge is just about right for your skill level you’ll feel Control, Flow or Arousal.
-> You found the right level of challenge for your skill level, keep going.

When the challenge is bigger than the skill level you might feel Anxiety or Worry.
-> One of the things you need to be in flow is a clear goal that you know you can accomplish.
A lot of times, a hard activity prevents flow because the goal you have in mind is too far outside of your comfort zone.
So if you’re anxious and frustrated, ask yourself: Can I change the goal, can I pick an earlier milestone?

  • Read more about how to create group flow: https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/what_mel_brooks_can_teach_us_about_group_flow

Listen to the podcast at anchor.fm/gabrielp (you can also leave a voice message there, which is supercool.)

Connect With Courage – Ep. 6: Beat Procrastination. Strategy #2: Interstitial Journaling

Shownotes

“Done diligently, Interstitial Journaling is the most powerful productivity habit I’ve ever come across. It creates massive mindfulness that allows you to be more focused and more creative.” – Tony Stubblebine, Founder and CEO of Coach.Me

The Practice

Journal for a few sentences in between every work project. This gives you the chance to fully disengage from your last project and then fully engage in your next project.

The Questions

(1) What project did I just finish? Are there any parts of that project that I’m still thinking about?
(2) How am I feeling?
(3) What is the first action of the project I’m about to start? How should I approach getting the project done?

Listen to the podcast at anchor.fm/gabrielp (you can also leave a voice message there, which is supercool.)

Connect With Courage – Ep. 5: Beat Procrastination. Strategy #1: Involve Other People

Shownotes

Put Procrastination Into Perspective

  • When we’re procrastinating, we might think: “I’m incapable. I’m a failure. There is something wrong with me.”
  • What it actually means: You’re human. Everybody has this experience. It’s universal. We all procrastinate, we just procrastinate about different things.
  • Usually the problem is much, much smaller than we think. Procrastination is a subconscious strategy of dealing with unpleasant emotions.
  • I’ve tried a lot of strategies and tactics to beat procrastination. I’ve found only two that have worked for me consistently. They are both easy to apply. I’m sharing Strategy #1 in this episode and Strategy #2 in the next episode.

Strategy #1: Involve other people.

  • I promise you that there are people around you who are struggling with the exact same thing you are struggling with and they would love to get together with you to get it done.

7 Step-Process For Involving Others

  1. Ask around who also wants to get the same thing done.
  2. Set up a time and date to either meet in person or get on a call.
  3. A couple days before remind the other person to gather all the necessary material for completing the task.
  4. When you meet, take a couple minutes to check in on what you need to do first.
  5. Set a timer for 30 minutes and check in how it’s going and which obstacles you’re hitting.
  6. Check in each 60 minutes until completion.
  7. Celebrate together.

Listen to the podcast at anchor.fm/gabrielp (you can also leave a voice message there, which is supercool.)

Connect With Courage – Ep. 4: Getting Back Up

Shownotes

Getting Back Up Again

Worksheet from Brene Brown with questions to go through the getting-up-process:
https://daretolead.brenebrown.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/DTL-Read-Along-Workbook-v2-2020.pdf

pp. 36-40 (I recommend reading the book to understand the full meaning, but there are also videos available on daretolead.brenebrown.com)

Nature Journaling

Nature Journaling is a great way to get in touch with your surroundings, John Muir Laws wrote a great guide on it:

https://johnmuirlaws.com/product/how-to-teach-nature-journaling/
(Download is free)
Sentence stems to become more curious and aware of our surroundings:

  • I notice …
  • I wonder …
  • It reminds me of …

What’s the biggest challenge for you when it comes to getting back up again? Would love to hear from you.

Listen to the podcast at anchor.fm/gabrielp (you can also leave a voice message there, which is supercool.)

Connect With Courage – Ep. 2: The 4 Ways Others Can Expand Your Courage

I want to make this the best resource that helps you to connect with courage, so it would mean the world to me, if you could answer the following question:

When it comes to asking for help, what is the single biggest obstacle you’re facing? Please be as specific and detailed as possible.

Shownotes:

The 4 Ways How Others Can Expand Your Courage

  1. Someone gives you a bigger vision of what’s possible.
  2. Someone with more experience gives you a hand and takes you a long.
  3. Someone comes along with you.
  4. Someone gives you belief and perspective.

Listen to the podcast at anchor.fm/gabrielp (you can also leave a voice message there, which is supercool.)

Connect With Courage – Ep. 1: Courage Can Be Learned

It would mean the world to me, if you could answer the following question. It will help me deliver content that serves you best.

When it comes to overcoming your fears, what’s the single biggest obstacle you face? Please be as detailed and specific as possible.

https://open.spotify.com/episode/2XgHzwmPo7APwEppjDrOUQ?si=XXvam-lTT8upqbzePmfXPg

In this episode we talk about how we can have a life that’s more exciting than an adventure game. It’s very safe to stay at your computer & play a game. It’s a different thing to go out there in the world and play there! But it’s possible, what we need is courage & connection. These are the two main skillsets and resources we need to have & learn. Connect with courage because courage makes a life bigger and connection makes a life so much better.

Ressources mentioned

http://100dayswithoutfear.com/

Listen to the podcast at anchor.fm/gabrielp (you can also leave a voice message there, which is supercool.)