The best thing about your life is that it is constantly in a state of design. This means you have, at all times, the power to redesign it. Make moves, allow shifts, smile more, do more, do less, say no, say yes — just remember, when it comes to your life, you are not only the artist but the masterpiece as well. ~ Cleo Wade
As I sit here thinking about all the goals, ideas, plans that I’ve come up with since I was a girl compared to all the things I’ve spent my life doing, I realize that my process for getting from here to there isn’t much different today from what it was twenty five plus years ago.
Basically it goes like this: get a spark of inspiration, obsessively think about the thing for days, weeks or months, research incessantly, decide it’s going to happen no matter what, and then one of two things happens — I see it come to fruition or I’m still thinking about it years later.
The latter sitch is what I’ve been paying more attention to lately. Why the hell do I still have things, experiences, feelings in my “to do” bucket after more than a year or two with no or very little sign of manifestation? They get moved from one month, quarter or year to the next and never seem to happen. What’s that about?
I can be really hard on myself about the things I’m not doing, which clouds the things I am doing. I’m the first to champion clients and loved ones for all their small, mid and giant accomplishments — but when it comes to me, I tend to push and pull myself in many different directions. This can manifest into a whole lot of nothing rather than awesomeness, pride and joy.
The fastest way to get from here to there is with a plan and as straight a line as possible. And, there’s really no such thing as a linear path when it comes to creating something out of nothing or achieving x, y, or z.
Even if you follow someone else’s blueprint, it’s going to unfold in your own way with all of the natural twists and turns.
Lose weight. Earn more money. Move to a new city. Create a company. Whatever it is, the big questions aren’t around how to get there. No, there’s really just one question: how badly do I want it?
How badly do I want it?
I see in myself and clients the awesome ability to think up grand plans and goals. I’m drawn to visionary men and women of color both in work and in friendship. They are doing cool things that impact other people’s lives. I’m super motivated and inspired by these kinds of thinkers.
You might be thinking, “Whatever, that’s the easy part. I have lots of big ideas.” To that I say, “You’re one of the visionaries I’m talking about then. It’s not easy for everyone.”
When you know you want to do something different in or with your life, take action on something big, or make your world better (yours specifically or the larger one we all exist in), it’s actually pretty challenging for a lot of people to figure out “all the things” or even what the something that’s going to be changed or created is.
You may know you want to make some changes but have a really hard time figuring out what you want to do, change or become only to dig yourself into a rut of stagnation.
For me, I’ve got no problem thinking of the big ideas. In fact, I’m often overwhelmed with all of them. My rut can be with following through.
I do my best work in collaboration with badass worker bees. I fondly think back to my nonprofit directorship where I had a really magical team that could manifest whatever we thought up. It’s because we were the ideal combination of visionaries and worker bees.
As I mentioned before, I’m spending time with the ideas and goals I haven’t accomplished yet in my personal life and trying to figure out why I keep hauling them around like an old box of high school memories I apparently have no plans to open up anytime soon — or ever.
It can be really frustrating and downright deflating to carry that water, so to speak, from year to year. It’s like, “Put that heavy bucket down already.”
And really, if I’m still carrying it around all this time later — I must not want it very badly.
Judgement by others
Something else I find easier said than done is letting other people’s judgement of me roll off my back. Here’s the thing though, I’ve read The Four Agreements so I know that nothing anyone else does is about me. But shit, it can be really challenging not to take stuff personally in the throes of emotion and feelings of direct judgement by someone.
But answer me this: is it possible that our perception of someone’s judgement of us is really just a reflection of our own self-judgement? My spiritual guide, coach and dear friend Ilsie would say, “Yes, absolutely.”
When I’m feeling particularly anxious or resentful about something or other related to someone or another, I’ve learned that the thing or person isn’t even what I’m peeved about. It’s almost always something in my own heart, mind or gut that’s been yanking on my attention and the person or thing I’m feeling feelings about is just serving as a conduit.
To be clear, I also know what it feels like to judge and actually be judged by others. It’s pretty shitty on both sides, that’s for sure.
It doesn’t serve the greater good or my own goals to be so damn hard on others, or myself. Since I can’t control anything or anyone but myself, I think the best approach to letting go of other people’s judgement is to work really hard on letting go of my self-judgement.
The less concerned I am about the stuff I’m doing being right, wrong, amazing or crappy, the less concerned I’ll be with what others think about the stuff I’m doing — even when they can’t help themselves.
Attachment to outcomes
When it comes to setting goals, what I find harder than most things is accepting what unfolds when it doesn’t unfold the way I want it to.
Haha, it’s ridiculous really when you think about it.
I mean seriously, who am I to think that I have universal powers to control the outcome of something I thought up last week, month or year? It’s absurd.
I don’t think the divine order of things is going to give way for my influence over some minute detail related to some new idea I have right now. It’s more about jumping on the river with the idea and allowing myself to float. (I don’t know how to swim so this is a huge exercise in trust.)
Something that has helped me profoundly with this concept is to think of the world as a rollercoaster ride that was already in motion before I got here, has been in motion while I’ve been trying to find my seatbelt and will continue to stay in motion long after I expire.
Each loop, drop, or straight stretch of track was constructed without my input, long before I got here, and so I really don’t get to make recommendations at this point.
What’s going to happen already is.
The loop ahead is already going to happen. My opportunity is to lift my hands up, lean forward, back or close my eyes. No choice is right or wrong really. I get to change my mind at any moment. But I do have choices within the parameters of what already is.
What’s going to happen already is.
The way I experience things is not determined necessarily by my hand placement but by how open I am to my carmates, dips and drops and loops throughout.
Oh geez, this is perhaps the biggest and hardest of them all.
Why oh why are we so obsessed with things being absolutely “perfect”? I put perfect in quotes because I wonder if there is even such a thing.
My ideas of perfection are completely subjective and frankly bullshit when I really think about them. Depending on what I’m working on, who I’m working with, where my energy is, how my body feels, if I’m well-rested and hydrated or any other external influence directly impacts my perception of perfection.
What I think is shit may be glowing perfection to someone else. And vice versa.
What I think is perfect will only reveal typos or design “flaws” later. (Flaws are just a judgement of perfection).
It’s a fools errand to seek out perfection. Really, it is. And I’m a fool for sure.
But, I’m challenging myself here and now, tomorrow and then to be okay with the messy version. Be okay with the humanness of a project. Be okay with things just as they are.
Be okay with the messy version.
Rather than trying to manage all the things to force something to turn out a certain way, I’d rather manage my energy so I’m capable of reiterating in the future.
For once and for all, I will let that shit go.