I have a strategy for when I get freaked out by my life. Whenever I get completely and utterly overwhelmed and am drowning in meetings, emails and way too many to-dos, I stop. I don’t do any of it. The things that have me panicking, I don’t touch.
Instead, I tidy up, make piles, file things where they belong, clean, and generally arrange things.
As a result I then have an overview of all the things that were freaking me out, and – as I no longer have my face planted in a tree that hides the rest of the forest – I can make an intelligent decision of what should be my next move.
I thought it was just me, but it seems that I am not the only one doing this kind of thing – and feeling the benefit of it.
Incidentally, it is exactly what we do when we go on vacation or when we go to bed. We take a step back in order to get back efficiently to work.
There are so many ways to make a « stop » for a better « go ». And you? What is your strategy?
New York. Love that town. I start grinning pretty much as soon as my plane starts its descent into JFK, and even the ridiculous queues in immigration can’t dampen my sense of excitement and anticipation.
I love it so much that it became a source of embarrassment for my client last week. Each morning when I caught sight of Manhattan, I threw my arms above my head and shouted: »Goooood Moooorning New York ». I was so thrilled that it didn’t really even occur to me that those with me might find that a bit embarrassing.
For the past almost 50 years, I have behaved myself. Been a good girl. And – as a good girl – there are certain things that one simply doesn’t do. Arm-waving enthusiasm for instance. After all, what might people think?
In my willingness to embarrass my client each morning for a full week, I realized that I turned a page. What people thought of what I was doing was not important. I simply followed my inner voice and enjoyed where it took me. By following that voice through the course of the week, my stay in New York was an incredible success on many different levels.
And you? How are going to express your inner voice?
Recently we went on an amazing trip with a group of our friends. One couple did all the organizing for the group, and they made sure that the trip was always logistically smooth but also full of wonderful surprises.
Even though each of us had paid our share to make the trip happen, one of our party suggested that we should perhaps reward our organizers with ‘a little something’ to thank them for doing all the organizing.
We were all ready to agree, when another member of the group piped up and demanded, “Why ‘little’, after all they’ve done?”
Why little indeed?
Why a little gift? Similarly, why a little hug, a little idea, or a little beer?
Why limit ourselves to a good idea when we can have a fantastic idea instead? Why have a small beer when I am really thirsty? Why a little hug when I need a big fat comforting one?
Using this kind of ‘softening’ word has a tendency to sneak into our discourse about all kinds of things, and takes the power out of our speaking. What would happen if we spoke clearly: asked for what we really wanted, said what we really meant?
Try this: count how often you use qualifiers like, “a little”, “a bit”, and “kind of”. Then get rid of them – so that your life gets back its intensity and greatness!
A dear friend with a rich spiritual life says that our mission in life is to learn how to love. He says it’s part of the contract while we are here. And, if we don’t succeed, our soul comes back – again and again – until it learns the lesson. In short, hell.
“Why don’t you say ‘I love you’ to the people who are dear to your heart”, he challenges me. “And don’t limit it to just your family!”
“And, when someone says ‘I love you’ to you, don’t offer a cowardly, ‘me too’! Say it back. You’ll see that the energy released by these three little words is incredibly powerful. You can say ‘I love you’ to a lot of people, without having to marry all of them”, he adds with a smile.
His challenge made me curious, so I started with a few people who already know that I am a little bit nuts. I tried a variety of different ways: face-to-face, by text message, and by email. The results have been absolutely incredible. Everyone I reached out to was touched by my offering, and without exception they reciprocated with warmth and enthusiasm.
Give it a try and see what happens. Don’t do a bulk mailing to all of your contacts, of course; start with people you sincerely care about and see how it goes. I’d love to hear about your experience, whatever happens!
A while back my friend and I caught ourselves drooling over a travel brochure for horseback riding. For years we’ve been dreaming about combining our passion for riding with some kind of safari. But where? When? Which travel agent?
Jokingly, I suggest that we should do the trip in November in order to escape the greyness of the weather in Paris at that time of year. She liked that idea, and then built on it by quoting Walt Disney:
« The difference between a dream and a project is a deadline. »
With that, our dream of riding through sumptuous landscapes looking for wild animals had become a project. The train was moving. Good-bye catalogues. Hello saddle sores!
And you? Do any of your dreams need a deadline?