I have been learning and relearning so many lessons of late. I actually kind of enjoy getting stuck and out of flow these days. Yes it’s a little uncomfortable, but it’s a great opportunity to put to the test my own coaching tools that I use on others and I always learn new ones in the process.
Here is what happened.
After returning to London early on in the year I found myself with a desire to grow, take my career to a new level, stretch, expand, branch out. I didn’t know how I wanted to do that. I just knew it was time.
So what did I do? Everything I tell people not to:
1. I looked around at what other people were doing to see how I should do it (yep, should, I know I know)
2. I decided that I needed to change and get serious and sensible (which stuck in my throat like a fur ball)
3. I did a lot of thinking and writing of plans
Basically I took the wind out of my own sails, the fun out of work and the real me out of the picture.
I stopped doing things my way and started doing things the way I thought I needed to to get the results I wanted.
Now, none of this was clear at the time. I thought I was being proactive, stepping out of my comfort zone, being ambitious, brave and bold.
But here was the big alarm bell: I wasn’t feeling good, it wasn’t feeling fun and, above all, nothing much was really happening.
I lay in bed, stared at the ceiling and diagnosed myself as being totally out of flow.
So here is what I did:
Step 1: Nothing. I paused all activity around work (other than stuff I’d committed to). Uncomfortable though it is, sitting in that space of nothing is the best thing we can do. Rushing to do something about it, forcing it, acting out of desperation rather than inspiration, just tangles us up in more problems. Space is where it’s at. Don’t be too quick to fill it.
Step 2: I started to do things exclusively my way. No more looking around to see how I was supposed to be doing things. And my way of doing things is to kick back and have fun. Every time I dare to do that great things happen. So while my internal Shitty Committee kept insisting that I needed to be ‘grown-up’ and ‘sensible’ about things and get ‘serious’, I stuck to my new plan of doing things my way – the fun way. At that point I started to come alive again and my mojo started flowing.
Step 3: I gathered my dream team together and started doing what I do best: chatting. You see when it boils down to it, my superpower in life is chatting. It really is. That is all I need to spend my time doing. Not coming up with e-course ideas and executive coaching programmes. Not making plans or writing proposals. That might work for some people but it just isn’t me. When I look back at all the times amazing opportunities have come my way. It’s because I got chatting.
The moment I stepped away from my computer and just got out there and started talking with people that inspired me, the magic started to happen.
I have had more exciting work opportunities and collaborations exploding into life over the past two weeks, than I’ve had in the past 10 years. No word of an exaggeration (and yes, I will be soon telling you all about them).
And the best part of it is, it hasn’t felt like an effort, because all I had to do was do the thing that comes to me so easily that I do it in my sleep. Quite literally.
So my question for you today is this: what is the thing that you do all the time, that requires so little effort on your part that you don’t even consider it to be an actual skill? Because that is probably your superpower. Something as mundane as chatting, doodling or daydreaming. All the things we were told at school to stop doing because it wasn’t serious work…
And then give yourself permission to start doing more of it, loads of it and just see what happens…