Lately, I’ve been confronted with the disconnect between the universe’s timing and mine. There are things that I feel like I need right now: MAD! Work/Space (the coworking space I started in March – YIKES!) filled with women working and connecting, to fully own the power and value of my coaching, and the COVID pandemic over and done with because, like you, I am sooooo over it.
Apparently, it’s not time for those things right now. And, I don’t like it. I fight it, trying to force the universe’s timing to match mine.
I hate process and waiting and surrender. However, I do realize I must find some patience and forbearance so I can travel to my next destination fruitfully. I know, fruitfully is a weird word to use in conjunction with travel, bear with me.
As I’ve struggled against my expectations of what it takes to get to the next stop on my journey, I have found it necessary…no, critical is the right word, to let go of my perception of what the right timing looks like. Here’s an example. I’m working with an amazing marketing woman, Alexandra, to put MAD! Work/Space out into the world. She does wonderful work and she’s had to move twice in the middle of our work. As you can imagine, that’s slowed things down and extended my timeline.
As I found myself bumping up against my expectations around timing, I had to step back and get curious. I forced myself to wonder what would happen if I let go of my timeline and went with the one that presented itself to me. When I took a moment to let myself wonder, I engaged in the best/worst exercise – I also call this process creating a container for the anxiety of waiting.
What’s the worst that could happen?
First I ask myself “What’s the best that could happen?” Then I ask, “What’s the worst that could happen?”
The best that could happen is that when we get the social media and ads up for MAD!, women find us and come in to work, join our community, then lease the offices and desks and the visionary, fearless community I know is out there comes together. And the worst that could happen? I could lose the whole thing.
Never have I ever said aloud or written down that last sentence before. I’ve intimated it to others; I’ve thought it to myself, but I’ve never put it out there as baldly as that.
So how do I move forward? Do I succumb to the fear that I can’t make these things happen? Nope. I have to do my part.
Don’t fight it
Now, I must do what I have done many, many times over all 7 of my careers: I must go with the flow. I must surrender to the knowledge that I have no control over the timing. My one job is to do one more thing. Then another thing. Then one more. Trusting each time that these things will move me forward.
In other words, I must exercise agency. I must act on my own behalf, doing the things only I can do. Want to know something funny? It took me forever to realize that I don’t have to do certain things. Heck, it doesn’t even have to be the right thing. I just have to do one thing.
…and release all expectations about what that one thing will deliver. Sure. Like that’s easy. But I know that all that matters is that I’m participating in the process.
I’m going to write that again in its own paragraph because it’s so hard for us to hold on to: All that matters is that I’m actively participating in the process.
Do one thing
Want to know something funny? Writing this blog post constitutes one thing. Why? Because writing for my blog is something I actively avoid. When a post comes to mind I might write down a couple of words in my Notes app or in Evernote or in one of my 127 notebooks. But I refuse to sit down at my desk (or prop myself up in my bed like I am right now), and transform those notes into a post. And, boom, I block my own progress. I am blocking the flow instead of going with it. Because I’m a writer, I like to write. I say I’m a writer all the time, and then I refuse to write.
Here’s the thing. I need an audience. You are my audience. When I lock my words up in my head, I am holding myself hostage. I’m holding both my power and my energy back. I have to put the words out in the universe to do their magic. The writing is how I work through things. It’s how I let you know I see you.
And I do see you. Did you notice the photo at the top of this post? The bud, surrounded by leaves? Check out those leaves? They’ve been chewed, they have brown spots all over them, and there’s the perfect blossom, waiting to bloom – when it’s time.
But, what will it look like?
Oh, and we have no idea what that blossom will look like, particularly what color it will be until it blooms. Will it be white, or red, or pink, or violet? Who knows? It has to go through its growth process first. Just like us.
We don’t have to know what color the bud will blossom into to anticipate its coming with wonder. We can delight in the growth process.
And, when we surrender to the process, when we let go of our expectations, when we do one thing and don’t see a result and go on to do one more thing in the belief that we will keep moving forward, when we allow ourselves to wonder what could happen next, our leaves get a little chewed up. They look like they’ve been through a struggle.
But, y’all, we’re the bud. We are what will bloom as part of the struggle. Those leaves? They support the growth of that beautiful bloom. And, just like the bud, when we bloom, no one will notice the chewed up leaves – not even us.
Everything in its own time
Everything in its own time. Life, work, change of any magnitude. When we relinquish our expectations around how to do things just right, the perfect timing, or the ideal outcome, we can fully embrace the flow that surrounds us, driving the process forward to our next stop – our own blooming.
PS: I wrote 99.8% of this post 16 days ago. It still counts as one thing.
Surrender, Breathe, Never Settle.