DO YOU EVER wish you could beam yourself from one place to another? I’m not talking aboutavoiding a long car ride, but more like if you could warp yourself to financial freedom. Or to your goal weight. Or to blissfully in love and happily married. How cool would that be?
Well, sure, it’d be great. In theory. When you’re feeling impatient with your progress, it’s tempting to want to fast-forward past the crappy parts. But then what happens to all the lessons you didn’t learn on the way to that finish line? Not to mention all the gems and opportunities you’ll have missed.
When you’re in that place of wanting to put the pedal to the metal, take a breath, check in, and identify what you’re trying to avoid. Are you sick and tired of feeling stuck? Does some part of you believe that your life won’t be fulfilling until you get to that end goal?
Frustration often leads to black or white thinking. You think it can only be this way or that. All or nothing. You might think you don’t have any other options, but don’t fall for that. There are always options.
When you challenge your “this is how I’ve always done it” thinking, life becomes exciting again. In fact, when you start thinking outside the box, you’ll be surprised at how the world opens up for you.
I remember one day, I was sitting in a cafe with some friends who were visiting from out of town. Debbie said, “I just love being here. I wish we didn’t have to leave tomorrow.”
“So don’t,” I said. “Stay another day or two.”
I saw her and husband’s face contort with confusion.
“We couldn’t,” she said.
“Why not?” I asked, knowing that they had the freedom and flexibility to do something like this.
“Well, I don’t know why not,” she said.
So I grabbed my computer and began researching what it would take to change their flights.
Although they decided to stick to their original plan, I saw them lite up as they considered the possibility. They simply hadn’t ever thought that they could change their minds. And Debbie tells me that since that conversation, she and her husband now allow themselves to do things like leave a theater early if they’re not enjoying the performance, change travel plans at the last moment, and say no to an invitation they may have otherwise agreed to out of guilt.
It’s all about slowing down and mixing things up. And it’s in the not rushing when you learn to navigate twists and turns. It’s when the universe takes you in new, better directions. It’s when you have all sorts of lightbulb moments. All things you wouldn’t have experienced if you were too busy racing to the end.
When you’re in a spiral of your own thinking, it can be tough to come up with these other options, so a little trick I use and encourage my clients to use is this:
Imagine a close friend comes to you feeling stuck in a similar situation and asks you to help brainstorm what he or she might do.
Put pen to paper and jot down a list of ideas, no matter how seemingly far-fetched. This gets the creative juices flowing. Then step away for a bit. When you come back to your list, see if you feel differently about your situation. Is there another direction you can head in to stop banging your head against the wall?
I can’t tell you how many times I hang up from a client call and think, “That’s a great idea. I should try that!” And it’s something I suggested! But somehow, it’s so much easier thinking creatively for someone else.
So this week, I challenge you to take a different approach to something you do in a routine fashion. This is the easiest way to freshen up stale energy. It can be driving a different route to work or trying a new recipe for dinner. And when you feel the excitement of the newness, let it inspire you to apply this strategy to your bigger goals.