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The 5 Second Rule…how I really got here

Every now and then something just connects with you, you get it, like it’s a personal message meant just for you, right place, right time to receive it.  Well I’ve just finished a book that has had a profound impact on me.  I mostly listen to audio books now through Audible as I can listen while I am pottering about and I can listen in the car through Car Play – the additional benefit there means I also don’t have to listen to the half hourly news bulletins of doom and gloom on the radio (this could be a whole blog post of it’s own – note to self!).

So back to this book, it’s called The 5 Second Rule by Mel Robbins.  Mel has created a very simple but very powerful technique that can be used to interrupt the cycle of worry and fear and focus instead on a positive thought or action in order to break the worry cycle and move forward.  Whenever you notice your thoughts drift to worry you count backwards in your mind


and instead replace the worry with a positive thought or action.  Mel explains that the we are not born to be worriers but we have a worry habit and that by changing our habits we can break the cycle of worry and overcome barriers that hold us back from achieving all our goals and dreams.

Mel has done a ton of research and there is a science behind her technique – by interrupting the worry or fear as soon as you notice it by using her 5 second rule you activate the pre-frontal cortex in your brain.  We are wired to recall negative situations to protect ourselves – this goes back to our caveman days when situations could be life or death.  It’s bizarre, the references made throughout the book felt like personal callings to me…one particular Friday I had listened to Mel talk about using The 5 Second Rule to be brave and have that career conversation.  I was in a position to ask about an opening on a new programme but then I felt the worry and doubt pop into my head so I thought of Mel counted 5-4-3-2-1 and before I know it we are discussing a great opportunity.

In reality, and the reason I am compelled to write this post, is that I started to feel those feelings of doubt creep in the moment I dared to consider taking the role. I knew in my heart, from what Mel was telling me, that if I had been given over the weekend to consider it I would have come up with a dozen excuses to say no to the opportunity. I took it, I am three weeks in to a new role that is taking me massively out of my comfort zone – but that’s good right? We can’t move forward if we are standing still.

I used the same technique last week to start this blog, “5-4-3-2-1 how do I register a domain name…GO!”  I’ve used it to motivate myself to empty the dishwasher and paint a piece of furniture that I had been putting off for months.  The pattern goes in my head “I should get up and empty the dishwasher but I really can’t be bothered….5-4-3-2-1 get up and empty the dishwasher” or “I really think that cabinet would look great when I get round to chalk painting it but I can’t be bothered getting out the paint, and finding the brush, putting down a dust sheet, I am comfy here on the sofa mindlessly scrolling through Instagram, it’s the weekend I should relax and it will take me most of the day…..5-4-3-2-1 get up find the paint”.  Somehow it just works.

Mel gives loads of specific advice – I can’t do it justice in a few hundred words – but she even advises how you can get out of bed earlier using the 5 second rule to completely transform your day and making extra time for yourself – I love my bed – so does Mel!

I have had a crazy week, I was nominated for a leader award at work and I cannot believe I won…was frozen with fear getting up to accept the award but all the way home I was thinking I must tell Mel what an impact she has had on me so 5-4-3-2-1 and I did.  I didn’t expect a reply but a wonderful lady called Donna from her team sent a lovely reply encouraging me with the blog – how could I not make my first proper blog post be about The 5 Second Rule?

Thank you Mel for inspiring me – throughout the book she acknowledges that none of what she says is complex but that pushing on to break the cycle isn’t easy either.  So what is holding you back right now?  See if you can start like I did and just acknowledge when you next notice your mind drift to worry or you find yourself talking yourself out of doing something then 5-4-3-2-1….and GO!

Have a great week and thanks for stopping by – let me know if you decide to try the book or start using the rule yourself. I would love to hear.

P.S I really did complete the long overdue chalk painting project that day…finally worked out how to add a photo 🙂 x


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