Most people don’t like conflict. Most people don’t like change. And some people lack the confidence they need to do something that scares them. What if you could have that difficult conversation with an employee before your brain told you to “Stop! Be Careful! This isn’t good”? Or what if you could take that jump into a new business venture without fear creeping into your brain?
Mel Robbins (life coach, author, and motivational speaker) has developed a technique that she says will change your life. She calls it The Five Second Rule. And we’re not talking about the food that falls on the ground that you justify eating anyway. Robbins has identified that you have 5 seconds to act before your brain tries to stop you. Your brain is trying to protect you from a potentially dangerous situation, even though risk can be good. Starting a new project, setting a lofty goal, or introducing yourself to a new person are all risks. But the secret to productivity and confidence (according to Robbins) is to develop focus. You must stop the patterns of your brain by counting backward, 5-4-3-2-1. It’s simple, isn’t it? It almost seems too simple. But that’s all our brain needs to stop and redirect.
Just over a year ago, I had my ankle repaired. I had detached ligaments, torn tendons, and a floating bone spur. This was all from multiple running injuries. I remember laying in the operating room with the bright lights above. The anesthesiologist gave me some drugs and asked me to count backwards. The next thing I knew, 2 hours had passed and I had a new ankle. Did counting backwards redirect my brain and take me away from a potentially scary situation?
If you are skeptical of the Five Second Rule, Robbins challenges you to test it. She says to do something hard or annoying like waking up 30 minutes earlier than normal. When your alarm clock goes off, say to yourself “5-4-3-2-1” and change your pattern of thinking. Get out of bed. If you aren’t too excited about waking up early (I’m definitely not a morning person), try picking up the phone and having that awkward phone conversation that you’ve been putting off. I actually tested the theory this week with a phone call. I was nervous about it, so I let several hours pass before I did it. But I said to myself “5-4-3-2-1 GO”. I did it. I got it over with. And after all that worrying, it was no big deal! Huh! It worked! Okay, if I can get this theory to work with a phone call, what else can I use this for? Robbins warned that the 5 Second Rule will empower you. So if you don’t want to feel empowered, then definitely don’t use it.
But if you do want to feel empowered and more confident, then give it a try. Robbins explained that confidence is “getting yourself to take action when you don’t believe in yourself-it’s a willingness to try. And when you see yourself doing it, you build confidence.”
Five Four Three Two One. Go.
I'm Erin! I'm an MBA graduate with over 15 years of experience in HR, small business management, academia, and social media. I am an author, wife, mother, half marathon runner, and lover of the outdoors.