Monkey Talk, Down Dog and the Honey Badger

Monkey Talk, Down Dog and the Honey BadgerFor those of us in a creative field, it can be a bit unnerving to present our ideas or designs to our clients or employers.  I most always have some anxiety around this process.  And like anything in life, sometimes I hit the nail on the head the first time,  and other times, well,  it can take more than a bit longer to get it right and I really do want it to be just right.  This week, I missed the mark with one of my new clients. I know, I will be able to get it right and I think she knows it too.  But, nonetheless,  I really hate when I get it so wrong.

After getting the disappointing e-mail, I went ahead and got myself out the door to my favorite yoga class rather than  reacting to the “monkey talk” going on in my head encouraging me to stay home and work on it,  right then and there.  I saw it for what it was, just my people pleasing anxiety telling me to stop what I had planned and take some action that might calm the anxiety. I know better and sometimes am able to overcome  acting on the “feeling” and do the thing that is better for me.

So there I was in my yoga class, doing the Down Dog and watching those pesky thoughts creep back in with ideas about how I was going to change the design when I got home.  Oh, so relentless.  However, yoga teaches us to bring our thoughts back to the breath and to be there in the posture you are doing right then and there. It teaches us to stay in the room, stay in the moment,  breathe in, breathe out and to let go of all judgement about it. Easier said than done, but overtime it does get easier.

Then I started thinking about what the Honey Badger would do.  By now, most of you have probably seen the video. One reason it has made the rounds is that it is really funny but I also think that subliminally it is popular because there are a few life lessons we can get from the Honey Badger.

Honey Badger:

  • is who he is. He goes about his life work, doing what he was meant to do, in a most determined way . He is congruent with who he is and does not pretend to be something he is not. There is nothing worse than someone pretending to be all about doing for others and having your best interest at heart only to find out they are taking advantage of people at every opportunity.
  • does not have regard for any other animal. Well, this is not a Honey Badger characteristic that we want to emulate. However, if you are one of the many people in life that cares too much about others and what they think of you then maybe it is not a bad thing to be able to do what you need to do to take care of your “self”.  For optimum living we have to find the right balance there.
  • is relentless at doing what he needs to do for his livelihood. Honey Badger spends a lot of his day hunting for his next meal and eating that meal. If we want results in our work we must be willing to get out there and do what it takes. We have to show up and we have to do our work in a consistent manner.
  • does not work to catch a mouse and then take a few days off. No, the honey badger keeps going, making sure his pipeline full. There is a tendency we have to get the one big contract and then to work on that contract forget about doing the activities that keep the work coming in. We don’t want to have  to live our lives in feast or famine mode.
  • does not care that he is giving other animals free pickings. Honey Badger knows there is plenty for everyone. Some people are afraid that if they provide things for free to others they will be taken advantage of. But actually it only shows you are the leader and attracts others to you. Some will just take your free stuff, others will pay for getting premium service.
  • dives into the unsavory parts of his job. Honey Badger gets some bee stings while digging into a hive to eat the larva but a little discomfort is a small price to pay for the reward. Sure we would like to be successful without having to put up with things that may be uncomfortable, but we usually have to pay our dues. And usually that includes doing  things we don’t necessarily like to do in order to get the goodies later.
  • is fearless. He is not frightened off by big risks that others may not take. He chases after the Cobra and bites into it.  How often do we fail to go after that big project or turn away something that would push our limits because we are afraid to take the risk?
  • sometimes fails when going for something big.  Honey Badger went after the Cobra, caught it and started eating it. Unbeknownst to the Honey Badger, the cobra bit him. And yes, it set the Honey Badger back. In fact, we think the Honey Badger is not going to recover from his Cobra experience.  But no, the Honey Badger is bad ass. Although he is woozey and hurting, he gets up and goes back to work.  This is a very important lesson because if we take the big risks to do something important, there is a chance that we will not succeed. It is at that point we need to get back in there and try again. Sometimes it is the second or third time that is the charm and if we quit too early we may never experience the success that was just beyond the failure.

When we do our lives and put ourselves and our best work out there, from time to time it is not going to go well. Practices such as yoga can help us learn to be present and in the moment. But it is the message the Honey Badger shows us that when we get knocked down,  we can and should get back up and keep going.  So learn to quiet your mind with a little Down Dog, but sometimes we need to be bad ass and grab that cobra and chow down.

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About Judi Knight

Judi Knight is the founder and chief at New Tricks. When she’s not working with businesses to create their online goodness, she'll be checking people into the Urban Oasis B &B,  planning WordPresss events or hanging with her husband and three Basset Hounds.

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