I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling a little “off” right now.
I feel like I want to be slacking, but I that should be charging forward instead.
Something inside me is wanting to be fallow – you know, to rejuvenate and all – but another part of me is acutely aware of the danger of losing momentum.
And the whole thing has got me to thinking about when to Push versus when to Allow.
This topic is not new. Not to me personally, and certainly not to my clients.
Here’s how I most often encounter it for myself:
I really don’t feel like doing the dishes right now – but that’s okay, because I’ll have the motivation to do them at some point in the next 3-6 hours.
And I do. So it’s all good – this is a system that works for me. And for my family.
Along these same lines, if I don’t feel like doing the laundry, I know I’ll get to it within a day or two. Writing thank-you cards? A few days. Writing my next blog post? Um….
This is what I’ve been facing the past few weeks.
I just plain wasn’t feeling it. I was all Christmas and New Years and travel and family and eggnog. Nowhere in this milieu was there an energetic connection to sitting at the computer. Or reaching out to people who, by my estimates, were similarly in their own little tinsel and eggnog bubbles.
Frankly, I wanted to give us all a break.
And in a big way, I’m totally cool with that. Very super-cool with that, as a matter of fact.
Except for when those horrid “should’s” start sneaking in. I should have kept up the momentum of connecting with readers. I should follow my editorial calendar with no exceptions or changes. I should be blasting Facebook with updates blah blah blah.
And this is where I get all tangled up.
Because I can see both sides of the coin so clearly.
Side #1: Follow Your Energy. It knows. When we move from a place of force, or mis-alignment, the result is never the best that it can be, but rather a pale shadow. On the flip-side, when we move from a place of genuine alignment and readiness, we tap into our greatest Power. Yes, a capital P, because it’s a special type of Power. It’s grounded and clear – lined up with our deepest knowing. It’s as good as it gets. No wonder I’m such a supporter of doing things when they feel right.
Side #2: Discipline is Invaluable. In fact, I’m writing a book on it right now – that’s how much I believe in this concept (even though I simultaneously resist it!). Some folks have this one down: they decide on something, and bam! they stay with it day in and day out. The rest of us? Yeah, not so much. We might stay with it a few days, or a couple weeks. But then something comes up, or we simply lose interest/conviction. For those of us in this latter category, we are the only ones who can hold ourselves accountable. If we want change, we simply must push through the “eh, I’m not really feeling it,” thing and do it anyway.
They’re both so right!
I wish I could wave a magic wand and offer some life-changing insight. But truly, it’s a tricky one.
The best I’ve come up with is that it takes some of both.
It’s all about finding the middle ground.
Too much force and we get unhappy, out of alignment. Too much slack, and we get mushy and fail to reach our goals.
To be at our best is to be in balance.
Right. Cool. That’s great!
But now, how do we actually do it?
- The first step is to decide which side of the coin you naturally fall on – the “eh, I’ll do it when I feel it,” side, or the other “I’m going to make myself do it regardless of how I feel about it,” side? And with this, you’ve equipped yourself with some invaluable information.
- Once you know where you fall on this energetic spectrum, then it’s time to bring in some of the other type of energy – the one that doesn’t come as naturally to you.
This means, if you naturally bulldoze things to “make stuff happen,” (which often leads to exhaustion, sickness, stress, etc) your task is to check in a bit more with yourself. And when your body is asking you to stop (before it’s having to scream – e.g. your 3rd cold this year), you push out of your comfort zone and slow down for a spell. I know, I know – you almost don’t know how to do that. It feels lazy and sloppy, and so impossible that your chest might get tight just thinking about it. But trust me, it will open up things in your life that you didn’t even realize were closed off. It might be scary and totally out of your nature, but there is a gift in there for sure.
On the other hand, if you tend to find yourself not completing longer-term tasks, and not sticking with things (New Years resolutions anyone?), then your task is to push yourself toward a bit more discipline. Chunk things down – so that instead of one giant, looming, scary item on your to-do list, you break it down into a bunch of not-so-scary little pieces. (And if you don’t have a to-do list, I highly recommend creating one as soon as you’re done reading this post…the simple act of clearing that mental clutter will release a whole lotta energy which you can then use to actually get things done.) Hold yourself accountable in some way – find an accountability partner, create a small but fun reward for when you complete your task, set a reasonable goal that stretches you a bit but not too far.
I hope you’re noticing here – and I’m being reminded of it as I write – that we all have different processes. No one way is better than another. And since we’re all coming from different starting points, the path that we’ll take to “achieving our goals and dreams” will be different. Heck, even our actual goals and dreams are totally different! For some, it’s to relax more. For others, it’s to get motivated. The list goes on and on.
The bottom line?
Know yourself, and move towards balance.
Remember, to be at our best is to be in balance.
And in answer to my original dilemma, what I’ve come up with is this …
The time to Allow is in the midst of too much Pushing.
And the time to Push is in the midst of too much Allowing.