There’s a ritual I’ve performed at many of my live intensives that profoundly and positively affects the attendees. I find they’re still talking about it for months, sometimes even years after the event is over. It’s powerful and yet easy to do, so I wasn’t surprised to find that while reading The Perfect Day VIP Newsletter recently, I learned that Craig Ballantyne shares something similar.
In his article “From Imposter to Operator” in the November 2018 issue, Ballantyne introduces an exercise he calls “Rip Your Labels Off Like an Old Band-aid.” His instructions are as follows:
- On a sheet of paper, write down all the labels you’ve been using for yourself over the past few years that aren’t serving you, like “I’m not good at sales” or “I’m not a reader”.
- Fold the paper over four times.
- Tear the paper into bits and throw it in the garbage.
Ballantyne promises an incredible sense of liberation from the exercise, because it’s symbolic of lies we’ve conditioned ourselves to believe that are limiting our success.
At my live intensives, when the hotel I am hosting the event allows us, we do something slightly more dramatic, but still easy to duplicate.
I have attendees write down on paper their biggest fears. They fold up the papers, and I collect them. Whatever attendees write remains private to them.
Next, we all parade out to the parking lot together with the collection of fears, a metal bowl, and a pack of matches.
Therewith the bowl on the asphalt, we drop the fears one by one into the bowl and set them on fire. We stand around in a circle and watch the fears disintegrate. Fears are mere figments of our imagination.
They are anticipations of things that may never happen. And when unfortunate things do happen, the fallout may not be as disastrous as we envision.
How can we let “figments” – pure air, nothingness – create such barriers in our all-too-short lives? Why do we allow pure imaginings to keep us from taking the simplest actions, and living our wildest dreams?
Before our eyes, we watch fears disappear into thin air. They break down to ash so fine that it blows into the wind and disappears completely.
This ritual is a reminder of how flimsy fears really are. Burning our barriers lifts our emotional burden and makes more things possible.