Do you sometimes think that if you make enough preparations and consider every angle you will be able to arrive at a desired outcome only to notice that life will take its own natural course and none of your scenarios where relevant?
A friend of mine asked my help in her job contract negotiations. She had spent long hours coming up with different scenarios for job descriptions and corresponding salary and benefit combinations. All scenarios included what her boss might or might not say and counter offer. She thought that if she’d plan every angle she’d be able to make a right choice what to propose to her boss. Anxiously she sent the email and waited for a reply. What she got back as an offer was nothing she had envisioned and she was extremely disappointed. She seemed to believe she would have been able to control the outcome by making all that effort in advance.
My approach in this situation would have been to decide what I wanted for myself. I would have made my proposal, and had a clear view where my boundaries lie. Then I could have left it at that. What my boss would come back with would anyway be outside of my control and I would just have to trust the process. If he’d come back with a bad offer, I could negotiate, or I could conclude that we weren’t a great match and move on. I would have trusted my path and not tried to fix it.
Too often we spend all our energy trying to plan out the future. We have this illusion that we have control over events around us. And where as I’m not advocating you shouldn’t do any planning and preparation, over thinking can often be more harmful than going in with a half rehearsed plan but your eyes fully open.
When your view of the future is fixed you leave very little room for a real opportunity to arise. And worse still, you may be chasing a pre-planned dream that is not even yours.
Are you too busy rehearsing what you think you want that you forget to stop and assess your true aspirations?
It’s easy to fall into this trap because for so long the society has been telling us what success is supposed to look like.
We buy into these illusions and start planning how to achieve them, without questioning if the path is really meant for us. We try to control every step because we’ve been told that it’s the surest way to success. But rather than spending our energy in trying to control our way through life, what if we’d learn to listen to our own hearts and start trusting the path.
I had a chat with another friend of mine who’s transferring from a corporate career to setting up her own business in coaching. She said she knows exactly what she wants her coaching business to look like and what kind of clients she’d like to engage. I thought that was brilliant, she seemed to know where she was heading.
But she was still missing an important piece of the puzzle, so she insisted:
“But what do I do now? What’s my first step?”
She wanted to know the answers in advance and take no chances in trying things out or making her own decision about where she should start. She imagined that by outsourcing the decision to someone who had ‘done it’ she’d be more in control.
Exactly the opposite happens.
If you don’t trust your own journey, you lose control of the process.
And unfortunately there’s no shortcut. There will be no magic pill.
And deep down both friends knew exactly what they should do next or what they really wanted.
It’s not always easy to explore these emotions and it’s only human to want to know what’s going to or should happen. This is why many people turn to coaches and mentors, and there’s nothing wrong in searching for advice and learning from experts.
However, no outside knowledge will replace learning to trust your own path. And this is why DrivenWoman‘s LifeWorking is fundamentally different to any other methods out there. The groups facilitate members’ own decision making and open them up to look for their own answers.
When it’s your own definition of success you are after, you stop expecting others to guide you there.
You are ready to take the reins and accept responsibility. You start trusting your own journey.
The difference between controlling and trusting way is often very small, but significant.
Which one of the following sounds more familiar to you?
you want to know the right answer
you know what you want
you follow rules and recipes
you believe you can control the outcome
you meet people with a clear agenda
you make presentations with a power point
you think the end result will make you happy
there might not be one right answer
you are open to opportunities
you are ready to experiment
you do your best and trust it is enough
you meet people with an open agenda
you make presentations with a flip chart
you want to enjoy the journey
It has taken me a long time to let go of the controlling way.
I used to try to fix even an outcome of a lunch with friends who had not met before. Could I invite this person with this person? Will they like each other? Now I simply let things happen. I invite the people I want and if my lunch event is a failure, then so what. But most often I open up new opportunities for everyone.
Living the trusting way has also released so much of my energy as I don’t have to worry about outcomes anymore. I do my best, that’s all I can do. Failure is also my friend as if things don’t go so great at least I have an opportunity to learn and improve. My stress levels are down and I’m finally truly enjoying the journey.