Fight or Flight? There’s actually a third response

We were in New York City last week and experienced an epiphany within our first hour of arrival. It happened on one of the city’s infamous subway trains. (If you’ve been following us for a while now, or have seen our videos, you know that most of our life-changing moments occur on trains around the world!)

When we landed in JFK airport last Thursday morning, we were excited, relieved, joyous, and deeply grateful. This trip to NYC to attend our business mentor, Selena Soo’s “Get Known Get Clients Live” event was a homecoming we’ve been looking forward to for a long time. With your blessings, we made it!

There was a lightness in our steps as we walked towards the transfer station to take the subway train towards Manhattan. Born and raised as metropolitan city girls, this was the most natural thing to us. We didn’t give it much thought.

Except, it was 9:30am in New York.

The infamous rush hour on the infamous trains – when the whole world was rushing to work.

It happens. When you’re self-employed and run your business from your laptop independent of time-zones and locations. You forget that people do commute to work on weekdays in the mornings. We forgot.

The train we were on was crammed with commuters en route to work. Before we could register what was happening, the train lurched forward and sped towards our destination: Grand Central Station.

Rush Hour NYC Subway

We watched as the underground tunnel lights whizzed rapidly past our eyes, becoming a blur.

Our ears were ringing with the sound of wheels creating friction on the tracks and the individual carriages bumping against it.

The train stopped at the next station, more people got on.

With each stop, waves of people flooded the carriages.

We felt ourselves contracting, instinctively trying to take up less space.

The doors closed one more time… and it hit us.

A wave of nausea.
We felt a tightness in our chest as our hearts started thumping harder.
We felt the walls of the train and the underground tunnel closing in on us.

The air thinned. It got really difficult to breathe.

Air. We need more air…

Like clockwork, the Fight or Flight response was triggered in us.

Our minds’ first instinct was to fight back: “Breathe harder, tip-toe, get above, get more air!”

Our bodies’ first instinct was to take flight: “When the door next opens, get outta there!”

Can you relate?

Maybe it wasn’t on a subway train.

Maybe it was in the middle of a difficult, but important conversation, with someone you cared deeply about.

Maybe it was right before you got on stage to deliver your first (or hundredth) presentation about who you are, what you do, and why it matters, to a group who matters to you.

Maybe it was whilst scrolling through your Facebook newsfeed and reading about everyone’s big-game businesses, breakthroughs, and big wins… and how easy their overnight successes seem to be.

You’d instinctively wanted to resist – FIGHT – make them wrong.
Or desperately wanted to flee – FLIGHT – make yourself wrong.

Fight or Flight

We call this phenomenon, “Losing Your Space” – losing your space to someone or something you perceive has greater power over you.

On the subway, we’d felt the speed of the trains, the urgency of the people trying to get to their destination, their fast paced footsteps, the warning in the voice of the police department coming through on the intercom…

We’d felt this massive surge of sensory overload, and gave up our space, allowing panic and overwhelmed to kick in.

But there is another way.

Here’s what happened in that subway train: Before our Fight or Flight responses fully took over, a familiar voice inside us said, “Own Your Space”.

So we did. We chose a third response.

We stood in our power owned our space.

Practicing the energy work we use to help our clients remain centered and anchored in their intentions for their week, we stood our ground amidst the moving people on the moving train.

Without a word to each other, we both knew we practiced the same thing at the same time. Because color returned to both of our faces almost immediately.

Over the years of learning to recognize when we’ve lost our space, and how to own it back, we’ve developed a third instinctive response beyond a fight or flight reaction –

We’ve learnt to stand in our own power.

When we stand in our own power, we have the discernment to recognize what’s ours and what isn’t…

The moment we grounded ourselves in the subway, we realized that we were feeling everyone else’s urgency.

People’s energies were arriving at their destinations way before their bodies did, resulting in them having to play catch-up, grasp forward, and pulling the energies around them along.

When we stand in our own power, we have the compassion to give ourselves permission to walk at our own pace without feeling guilty, or making others wrong…

Once we gave ourselves permission to own our pace in the subway, the sensory overload stopped. We stopped feeling like we were pushed or shoved around by the movement of everyone else.

The truth is, nothing around us had changed. We’d changed our inner landscape. And in doing so, our energies shifted to mirror that calmer and centered reality back.

In this space of power ownership, we get to truly and fully show up.

As with most experiences in life, our experience on the subway came as a timely reminder for us. A timely reminder to own our space, stand in our power and show up fully. Because for the next 4 days in NYC, we met many influencers in the million-dollar-online-business-circle (Ramit Sethi, Derek Halpern, Ryan Lee, Selena Soo, Kimra Luna, Emily Williams etc.).

It was easy to feel the FOMO and feel left out.

Too easy, because every single one of the two hundred attendees went there to be seen, and heard, and in a way… validated.

It was easy to feel that we did not do enough to make an impression when everyone has already gone above and beyond. It was easy to lose our space and forget why we fought tooth and nail to get ourselves to there in the first place.

At the heart center of it all, we went to New York City to connect face-to-face with our mentor, Selena Soo, to thank her in person for helping us start our spiritual business; to hug and high-five our online coursemates whom we’ve journeyed and grown with for almost a year; to hang out with our copywriter and our website designer who have held us to our truths and created an online home for our business over the last five months.

Us at GKGC Live VIP Mixer with our mentor Selena Soo and fellow course-mate Perpetua. Photo Credit: Selena Soo

Us at GKGC Live VIP Mixer with our mentor Selena Soo and fellow course-mate Perpetua. Photo Credit: Selena Soo

In the online business world where it’s so easy to like, or swipe, or say “Hi!” on someone’s timeline, face-to-face connections with people who vibe our same vibe, people whom we have the privilege to call our tribe, are something we hold dear to our hearts.

The warmth of a hug, the sweaty palms of a handshake, the awkward smile – are the very reasons we showed up “live”.

Standing in our power and owning that, unfolded some of the most amazing connections and opportunities for us in that weekend.

Our work intrigued (and we hope, inspired) Abbe Wright, whom most people at the event related to as the former editor of O-Magazine, but we really connected with as an author birthing a book, an inter-generational legacy passed on from her father to her to others.

We gave Kimra Luna (a blue-haired rockstar who went from being on welfare, to now rocking her online business helping fellow Freedom Hackers build their own paths of freedom) big big hugs and told her, “You rock!”

When prompted by influencer Primoz during lunch at our table, we declared our stand of aligning spirituality with business strategy – enough is enough of soulpreneurs hiding in their spiritual closets! (That felt sooooo good!!!)

And the biggest bonus to us, is that we get to bring all of their wisdom to you – the people who have been with us all along.

This is what it means to “Play Your Power” – discerning what matters and honoring that; holding space for yourself to show up and in doing so, allowing others to do the same; and staying anchored to your intentions in the midst of movement and momentum from others.

We’d love to show you how.

Play Your Power Retreat with Tay and Val

As you lean into the retreat, we’d love for you to contemplate…

When was the last time you lost your space to someone or something you feel has greater power over you?

How did you overcome it?

More importantly, when when you own your space and stand in your power, what could you do?

Click here and apply for your spot today. (Doors close midnight 03/10/16.)


Powerfully yours,

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