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  • Writer's pictureCelise de Carvalho

How calm will help you take action in 2023

Updated: Jan 4, 2023

"Take action no matter how frightened you are”

I recently wrote a blog post on the Netflix documentary Stutz and this quote from the documentary resonated with people. I think this is so much harder to do than it sounds. The more frightened you are, the harder it is to take action. This is our autonomic nervous system trying to look after us. It reads the fear as a threat and sends us into fight, flight or freeze mode. Fight might look like being annoyed and agitated with what is going on around you, annoyed by little things or losing your temper over something small. Flight might look like making a rash decision and diving in too quickly. Freeze is feeling stuck, sleeping lots or avoiding thinking about the action.

In an ideal world we take action from a centred, calm place. Understanding what gets you to that place is the first step.

I am currently skiing. I love skiing, the natural beauty of the mountains is beyond compare. I love the silence and the stillness, being surrounded by the trees all decorated in white, the light catching the crystals of snow and the challenge of getting down. The beginning of that sentence brings me calm and the end cranks up my fear. I need the fear to encourage myself, to keep myself safe and to keep on trying. I am an average skier and most of the time happy swanning around on the medium runs. Every now and then I want to improve a bit, try something harder, push out of my comfort zone. This means standing at the top of a run that frightens me wondering how I am going to get down. Freezing (taking no action) is not an option because I would literally freeze. Fight would happen if I had not chosen to be there and I would be annoyed with the person who’d taken me there. This might then turn to tears and result in a messy, non committed run down. Flight would happen if I headed straight down without calming myself first and that would involve hitting the bumps on all the wrong spots.


To get the most out of it I need to be calm. Calming myself would have started before arriving at the top of the run when I chose who to do it with. I would do it with people I feel safe with, I know they have my back, I know they are going to encourage me. This is co-regulation - I feed off their calm confidence. At the top of the run I would observe the run, think about my options, choose my path and encourage myself as I drop in. It doesn’t always go like the reel you are probably picturing in your head -gliding gracefully down. I stumble, I fall, I pick the wrong line but that’s what taking action is. Learning, moving forward and building those new neural pathways so it’s easier next time.

Action in 2023

Think about something you love to do and how you manage it when there is a challenge. Can this plan and these skills be used in other areas of your life where you would like to take action? Use the skills and strengths you already have but fear is trumping. Let them resurface.

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