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You’ve got work to do to achieve your goal. But you are prolonging that work by avoiding and trying to eliminate the dread.

This is making it take much longer to achieve your goal and get the results you want.

My challenge to you is to stop letting dread prolong your work and instead, make it a sprint.

Tune in this week to learn what dread sprints are and why they are key to getting your work done and goals achieved. Sure, dread is uncomfortable. But discomfort is the currency of your dreams. Learning how to befriend dread and do dread sprints will change everything.

What you will discover

  • What dread is.
  • How to do a dread sprint.
  • What happens when you get good at experiencing dread.
  • The difference between overcoming dread and befriending it.
  • Why 30% of your work should be dreadful.

Featured on the show

Episode Transcript

You are listening to The Life Coach School Podcast with Brooke Castillo, episode 451.

Welcome to The Life Coach School Podcast, where it’s all about real clients, real problems and real coaching. And now your host, Master Coach Instructor, Brooke Castillo.

Hello my friends. What is happening in your world? Are you filled with dread? So many of you are. I know this because I talk to you all the time when I’m coaching you in Get Coached, and I coached you at Life Coach Live, and I know that a lot of you are struggling and in dread and frustrated.

And I want to help you because I think there’s a misconception that people that are crazy successful and getting a lot done are just in delight all of the time and just enjoying their wonderful lives all of the time and never feeling anything like dread.

Well, I am here to tell you that if I am any indication, then we’re feeling dread, and we’re feeling dread a lot of the time as we are doing new and harder things. And so I want to teach you about what I’m calling dread sprints, and they will change your life.

If you are someone that dreads doing certain activities, or don’t do those activities at all because of dread, this really genuinely, this podcast could change your life. So let’s talk about what dread is.

Dread is an emotion, and if you’re new to the podcast, you need to understand that emotions and feelings are caused by your thinking. So dread is an emotion that you will have about doing something because of a thought about doing that thing.

And dread, as I looked it up, is a feeling of apprehension, fear, and reluctance, with an extra dose of heaviness to it. So there are things that I dread to do, there are things that you dread doing. It may be that the only difference between me and you, if you’re not as successful as you want to be, is that you don’t do the things you dread doing and I do.

What if it really were just as simple as that? I’m going to suggest that it is. I’m going to suggest that if you can make friends with dread, instead of trying to overcome it or avoid it, your life could change permanently.

So, let’s talk about those two different things. There is the things that you need to do in order to achieve the things you most want to have. Let’s use the example of weight loss and working out and getting fit. So, for some of you, you need to go on a food protocol that you’re dreading going on. For some of you, it’s you need to go to the gym every day, which you dread doing, which I can totally relate to.

So what can happen is we put off all of those things that we feel the emotion of dread towards doing, so we just don’t have to experience it. We don’t have to go towards it. We still dread it when we think about it, but we feel like if we prolong it, if we push it off, if we don’t do it, then somehow we will avoid the dread.

But have you noticed that that is not how it works? The dread just keeps reoccurring and there is no relief from it. Every time you think about it, you dread it, and then you avoid it, and then you think about it, and then you dread it, and then you avoid it, and then you think about it, and you dread it and avoid it.

I will say that most people who have the idea of a big goal and don’t follow through, the reason is the emotion of dread. So there’s the example of weight loss. There’s another example of maybe public speaking. Maybe there’s a dread of standing up in front of other people, maybe there’s the dread of administrative work that you need to do in order to get your business going.

Maybe it’s - for some of my students, it’s doing funnels and the technical work that’s required to create the webpages for funnels. For some of you it might be recording yourself on video, putting yourself out there, so you’re dreading all that. And because you haven’t made friends with dread, you don’t take action.

Now, the other way to deal with dread and how many of my students try to deal with it and how I try to deal with it sometimes is knowing that dread comes from an emotion that is caused by a thought in your brain, you can spend a lot of time cleaning up your thoughts to reduce the amount of dread you feel in order to generate excitement or inspiration to take care of the thing that you need to do.

But what I have found is the bigger my goals are and the more I want to do with my life, the more dread I experience, the longer it takes to do the thought work to overcome it. And I kind of have what we’ll call a dread hack. And the dread hack is a dread sprint, which means we willingly embrace dread for a certain amount of time until we can get the work done.

So instead of pushing it away or trying to hide it or overcome it, we simply befriend it and we say, “Today I will experience dread while I do this thing, while I get up on this stage, while I go to the gym, while I eat my food on my protocol, while I do this administrative work, I will befriend dread, the feeling of dread, while I do it.”

Now, here’s the benefit of doing that. When you befriend your dread, you get authority over it. It no longer controls your life. It no longer prevents you from going out. You just take it with you. And it’s there with you all the way through the process.

Maybe it’s a phone call you need to make, maybe it’s the whole time you’re at the gym, maybe it’s the whole time you’re eating the kale that you’ve committed to doing, whatever it is, you stay befriended with that dread. Now, here’s what happens.

When you have accomplished the thing that you dreaded doing, you have amazing reward. When you befriend dread and have authority over it and you complete the work that you were dreading, you get a sense of accomplishment. You get a sense of pride. You get a hit of dopamine.

And what I have found is that when you can connect those two things, befriending dread and dopamine on the other side, it becomes so much easier. Because you know that not only will you get to accomplish the thing that you’re accomplishing, but you will get better at befriending dread that is preventing you from making your dreams come true.

So dread is a big part of anything that requires delayed gratification, learning new things, putting yourself out there, risking rejection, any kind of tedious work that needs to get done, any kind of difficult problems that need to be solved.

We’re always pushing off because of dread not wanting to do those things. And one of the things that I have become very good at doing is recognizing when I’m feeling that emotion of dread and moving towards it, and seeing it as an invitation. Because as soon as I do the thing I’m dreading, the dread goes away and I get a dopamine hit.

If you prolong doing the thing, you’re prolonging the dread and prolonging the time it will take for you to get that dopamine hit. So the dopamine hit is the same whether you experience a little bit of dread or a lot, and what determines whether you experience a little bit or a lot of dread is how long it takes you to actually complete it.

So what I have found is the minute I’m feeling dread, if I do that thing immediately, the dread is shortened and the dopamine is still just as delicious. If I prolong the thing, I am encouraging dread to stick around longer than it needs to and the only benefit I’m getting from that is the same exact dopamine hit that I would have gotten had I done it sooner.

So the magic of doing a dread sprint is you do it right now and you do it as fast as possible. You’re willing to befriend and get the thing done now. So it’s not like you’re just getting good at experiencing dread. You’re getting good at experiencing dread quickly, and let’s call it shortly. And when you get good at that, everything starts to explode.

I get so much more done than other people because I don’t waste any time dreading. I just take the dread with me and get it done. So think about things that take a long time for you to do. The reason why they take a long time for you to do is you spend time dreading and avoiding, instead of dreading and sprinting.

Dread sprints, my friend. The minute you experience dread, get the thing done. Don’t spend time belaboring it, procrastinating it, thinking about it, trying to get out of it, or avoiding it. The minute you experience, get it done, it’ll be over, you’ll get a hit. And you will be rewarded. It’s like a great hack. You will be rewarded for moving towards dread. And the more rewarded you are for moving towards dread, the more you will move towards it.

Let me give you an example. If you set a goal to lose weight, you want to lose 10 pounds, and you know that you’re going to have to eat a certain way in order to lose 10 pounds, you may say to yourself and your brain would say, “Let’s delay that dread and let’s do that in January, or let’s do that next week, or let’s do that tomorrow.”

So you know it’s coming and instead of experiencing the dread that you would need to experience by just starting right this second with the dread sprint, you’ve now encouraged dread to be looming out there in front of you for the next month, or the next week, or the next day.

You aren’t going to find yourself to the other side of it because instead of sprinting it, you’re marathoning it. So think about it that way. If I say, “Hey, do you want to experience this much dread?” And you say yes, and I say you could do it all at once with a sprint, or you could do a slow trickle of dread as a marathon, you get to the same place at the end, which one would you choose?

The crazy thing is most of you would choose the sprint, but most of you are actually unconsciously choosing the marathon. You’re doing a slow drip of dread instead of a dread sprint. So I want you to think about the enjoyment you get by prolonging doing something.

So let’s say that you need to go workout today. And you decide, okay, I’m not going to work out this morning, I’ll workout this afternoon. And then you decide you’re not going to work out this afternoon because you’re going to work out in the evening.

So the entire enjoyment that you get, the relief you get from the dread for that whole day is nowhere near as delicious as if you would have done a dread sprint at the beginning of the day and enjoyed not doing the workout for the rest of the day. You following me?

So if you do the workout in the evening because you’re dreading it, then the whole enjoyment you get of not working out is mixed with dread all day. But if you do the workout in the morning and you do your dread sprint in the morning, then the rest of the day that you’re still not working out, still same activity, is so much more enjoyable.

Do the dread on the frontend instead of prolonging it until the backend. So let me summarize this for you. Dread is caused by thoughts, so you can make it better by doing the thought work. But it’s usually temporary and it usually prolongs the amount of time you experience the dread. So that’s really important to understand.

The whole time you’re doing thought work to get over the dread, you could actually be doing a dread sprint and just getting through it. The next one is I find it easier to make friends with it than try to overcome it. So let’s talk about the difference.

Overcoming it is kind of like go away, get rid of it. If you make friends with it, by immediately saying, oh hi, connecting with it, and doing the dread sprint, saying come with me, let’s do this together, it’s me and you, dread, we’re going to record this podcast, we’re going to go do this workout, we’re going to create that funnel, we’re going to write this copy, whatever it is that’s out in front of you that you’d rather procrastinate, if you just do it because you’re friends with dread, you have decided that…

It’s kind of like you have this really efficient, amazing friend that kind of gets on your nerves. That’s dread. But if you hang out with dread and you do it right away, the rest of the day is delicious. The rest of the week is delicious. The rest of however long is delicious.

Don’t give yourself too much time to think about it, make excuses about it, complain about it. A dread sprint is, boom, now. So the minute you feel it, you’re like, “Hey, this is my friend, I’m going to do this.” Dread is going to give me a dopamine hit at the end if I befriend it and work through it.

A good indicator is about 30% max of your work should be dreadful. Now, for some of you that seems super high. And it depends on how big your goals are. And remember, because when your goals are big, you’re spending a lot of time delaying gratification, you’re spending a lot of time learning new things, putting yourself out there, risking rejection, doing tedious work, and having difficult problems the bigger your goals are.

It’s almost like the bigger your life and the bigger the goals, the more you’re inviting dread in. So you have to know, oh, there’s dread, my friend, dread is part of the deal of having a big, amazing, crazy awesome life, so I need to befriend it. I need to know it’s going to be there. If I try to avoid it, my goals will be smaller, my work will be less, my accomplishments will be less.

Befriending dread by doing dread sprints, which means you’re going to tackle the work that you have to do by befriending dread immediately is an amazing feeling that helps you get authority over yourself, your emotional life, and your success.

So many people, and you’ll notice this as they ask questions, as they go through their success and they go through their life, how do I make this easier? How do I make this simpler? How do I make this more enjoyable? And these are good questions, as long as they aren’t required to be answered in order for you to take action.

When I coach people and they come to me and they’re like, “I’ve just noticed that I’m not taking action,” it’s because they’re avoiding the emotion of dread. It’s because they’re letting dread be prolonged. They’re letting dread drive the action of inaction.

But if instead the minute we felt it, we recognized it, we were aware of it, we befriended it, and worked through the work that needs to get done, we would get to the other side of the reward of it. And ultimately, the ultimate meta accomplishment that we have from doing this is we get so good at befriending dread and moving towards it instead of away from it.

We don’t let it become the marathon. We don’t let it become the wall in front of us, preventing us from accomplishing everything that we can accomplish in our lives.

So for some of you, 2023 is going to be a very big year for you and you’re setting lots of goals. And as you’re doing your goal-setting process, some of you are going to have dread come up. Some of you are going to use dread as an excuse not to do the thing, not to set the goal so big, not to eat the food that will make you feel better, make you healthier, or go to the gym, or do the work, or have the conversation with the loved one that you want to have.

You will let dread literally run your life because of your avoidance of it. And what if instead you didn’t try to overcome it, you didn’t try to eliminate it, you didn’t try to make your life 100% happy, but you utilized it as your friend in order to use it as a signal to create more in your life?

I’ve talked to you a lot about obeying yourself and doing the disciplined things that make you have the life that you want. This is one more tactic. I talk a lot about discomfort being the currency to your dreams. Dread is uncomfortable. But a dread sprint and you do it immediately and you do it quickly and you get the work done as quickly as you can, and you get that dopamine at the end of that dread sprint can become a tool, can become an access point for your ultimate success.

So when I see you and I’m like, how many dread sprints have you done today? How many dread sprints have you done this week? How much dread have you embraced, befriended, and created in your own life? If you say a lot, if you say many, my guess is your results will be plenty.

2023 can be your year to stop procrastinating, to stop dreading success, to stop dreading the work that is required for you to make your dreams come true. Try out some dread sprints, my friends, because you will notice how much more work you can get done and truly, how much more enjoyment you can have in your life.

If for some reason you feel like more than 30% of the work that you are doing is dreadful, my guess is because you’re prolonging it too long. You have a stack of dreadful things to do because you aren’t doing dread sprints. 30% of your life will be overcoming things that you don’t want to do in your business, in your life, in your goals.

Let that be part of it. Do it as quickly as possible and enjoy the rest of your day, your week, your time after you’ve accomplished it. Have an amazing week everyone. I’ll talk to you next week. Bye-bye.

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