Go 24 hours without complaining (not even once). Then, watch how your life starts changing. –Katrina Mayer
Not long after the vulnerability wrecking ball knocked down the concrete wall around my soul, I was blessed with another close encounter of a new dimension. Raw and exposed, I felt that my awareness was at a much higher frequency. It seemed that the universe was pointing me in a new direction.
I was at a fairly new job at Salesforce.com when I had the opportunity to attend a 50-person sales offsite in Scottsdale, Arizona. The group was large enough to generate tremendous energy yet small enough for us to meaningfully engage. As the taxi pulled in to the driveway of the hotel, I took several deep breaths of the dry desert air. I still had the tan line on my finger where my wedding ring had nestled for 17 years. It was an obvious reminder that I was truly on my own.
On the first day of the offsite, we had a full agenda. Despite the Arizona heat, I sat shivering in the large conference room that was air conditioned down to a bone chilling temperature. Eight large tables filled the room, and I chose a table not far from the exit in case I needed to make a quick get-away. Once the seats were filled, the day quickly unfolded and, to this day, it remains one of the most inspiring days of my life.
Our mental toughness coach, Chris Dorris, spoke for 90 minutes. These 90 minutes flew by like 90 seconds as he spoke of being All In, moving towards what you want and declaring, deciding and doing it what it takes. While I can’t do his stories and teachings justice, I can pass along one of the tools I took with me. This tool has unlocked a treasure trove of infinite magic, lightness, discovery and teachings.
At the end of his talk, Chris posed the group with a challenge. He said, “I challenge each of you to go 24 hours without complaining. If you complain, you must start the clock over. As you do this, slow down enough to watch what happens.” Well, I was never one to pass up a challenge, so I decided, “why not?”
I left the hotel with a kick in my step and a smile on my face. Somehow, I felt better equipped to face the uncertain road ahead than when I arrived just 24 hours prior. Chris’s words replayed in my head over and over again. Move towards. Don’t complain. Decide. Be All In.
On my quick flight home from Arizona, I read through Chris’s website and listened to his All In CD. I felt armed and ready to go back to work and to face the reality that was waiting for me at home. My home was going through a transformation of sorts now that it was just the girls and me. I had embarked on the 24-hour challenge, which was pretty easy to stick to when you are sitting alone on a plane. The real challenge comes when you walk across the threshold back to reality. I had yet to experience any magic that Chris promised was on its way. I waited…
The next morning as I was getting ready to leave for work, I stopped in my tracks to see my oldest daughter (17) sitting at the breakfast table. She was in tears with her head hanging in her hands. “Honey, what’s wrong?” She proceeded to share how sad she was that she and her High School boyfriend of 2 years were going off to out-of -state colleges and were breaking up. Needless to say, her story tugged at my heartstrings. With the 24-hour challenge in the back of my mind, I said, “ I know how hard it is sweetie. Think how lucky you are to have experienced a love like this. Now, when you go off to college, you will know what to look for in a relationship. Some people never have that experience.” Prior to the challenge, I would have gone down in to the abyss with her and commiserated about how unfair life is. Not this time, however.
As I began to walk away, I wrote down Chris’s website and suggested she watch his videos where he talks about mental toughness. As many teens do, she gave me a slight eye roll while mustering up a quiet, “thank you.”
Once at work, I received a text from her. Simply written, “I am what I create.”
Was this the magic that Chris was talking about?
Later that morning, I received an email alert through my LinkedIn account. The email came from someone who had worked for me 15 years prior when I was a young sales manager trying to find her way in corporate America. It was a letter of gratitude for being a positive influence in his life. To this day, years later, I have saved his message, as it is another example of the magic that appeared during my 24-hour challenge.
I was nearly 16 hours in to my challenge, and I was starting to believe in the magic Chris alluded to the day before. Every time I heard someone complain at work, it sounded like nails on a chalkboard. People at work wondered what kind of “drug” I was on as I moved so happily through my day. I noticed that it is hard for others to complain when you don’t engage in the complaining with them. After studying more about this phenomenon, I learned to describe it as rising up to a higher vibration. Positive energy begets more positive energy.
With each progressive rise in the level of consciousness, the “frequency” or “vibration” of energy increases. Thus, higher consciousness radiates a beneficial and healing effect on the world, verifiable in the human muscle response, which stays strong in the presence of love and truth. In contrast, non-true or negative energy fields induce a weak muscle response. – David R. Hawkins, Power vs. Force
Years later, I am convinced that friends, family and colleagues would describe me as a positive person. People around me now often apologize when they themselves are being negative. They say things like, “I don’t mean to be negative, but…”
My answer, “then don’t.”