Arin Halicki’s new book Your Emergency Brake: Powerfully Shift the Direction of Your Career and Life is a surprising, refreshing, insightful, and practical look at what to do when you feel like you’ve taken all you can take and you’re about to crash. It is in those moments that we wish we had an emergency brake to pull. True, we can pull the emergency brake in most situations, but doing so has consequences. Arin shows us how to handle it with thought and preparation so that we can move into the next stage of our life or career with grace.
Arin knows what he writes about. He has reinvented his life and his career multiple times. She has written this book to help others avoid the painful mistakes she made, as well as to provide advice on how to brake successfully.
One of Arin’s major transitions was leaving corporate America entirely to become an entrepreneur. He tried to build a startup from scratch, thinking that his titles, experience and relationships would lead to success. What she learned instead is that what mattered most was who she was being in the entrepreneurial process.
Eventually, she learned that she needed to align with her feelings instead of focusing solely on her external reality. She also learned to do things her way and not how others said he should do them. She has come to understand the power of defining our experiences for ourselves and, in the process, she has learned how our lives and careers can become faith-filled adventures in ourselves. Ultimately, we learn to develop a healthier relationship with ourselves and make being our authentic selves our top priority, rather than settling for constant doing, as our culture too often promotes.
As Arin states, “our goal as humans is to experience more joy than fear or anxiety.” His hope is that the readers of his book wake up each day knowing exactly who they are on the inside and trusting that all will be well.
Your Emergency Brake is about reaching that goal of balance and joy, and it’s a process, but Arin walks us through every step of the process. She draws on her experience as a Kundalini yoga instructor to show how yoga is about union, and she uses it as a metaphor for integrating and balancing all aspects of ourselves. She also courageously talks about her own dysfunctional ways of calming down, how she learned better, and the overall importance of regulating our nervous systems to support us.
Perhaps my favorite point of Arin’s has to do with learning to accept what we may initially perceive as unacceptable. She points out that things don’t happen “to” us but “for” us. It may take time for us to understand and accept, but she believes that everything happens for a reason. She uses the metaphor of a pearl to explain this. The oyster sees a grain of sand as a nuisance to be rid of, but in the process, she creates a beautiful pearl. The same goes for situations that may seem less than optimal to us; in the end, we may discover that they contain the lesson we most needed to become our best selves. Ultimately this comes down to releasing our death grip on the expected or desired outcomes and being open to the possibilities. It also means allowing fear to become our “BFF.”
Ultimately, it’s about realizing that if we’re in a crisis situation where we feel we need to pull our emergency brake, it’s not really an emergency but an opportunity. Arin states, “If you’re holding back, it means the Universe is calling you to realize your full potential and not just what others expect you to do for them.” It’s time to be true to you, not to others. As Arin adds, “we were born to be human, not to make human.”
I love the emergency brake metaphor, and thanks to Arin for explaining how pulling the emergency brake can allow you to change direction without crashing. If he feels that he needs an emergency brake on his life, I believe he will find it in this book.