How do you allow space for the things you want, to come, without going into overdrive making them happen?
My friend Olivia recently asked me this question. I am so glad that she did, because it’s something that I also struggle with. Finding that balance between passion and inspired hustle; and trust and patience, is an art.
Here’s what I’ve discovered.
Fear is the greatest driver. When we start to push, force and go into overdrive, it’s because we are afraid that things won’t work out, that we don’t deserve what we want, and that we have to work harder to prove our worth. The moment our actions a result of fear instead of love, we become imbalanced.
Running a business means that I am 100% responsible for every dollar I make, and every dollar I spend. That kind of responsibility can feel scary sometimes. It pushes all the buttons: what if people don’t like what I make; what if no-one wants to hire me; what if my proposal is rejected. Yet self-employment requires me to continuously put myself out there, to be seen, in all my human, messy glory, with my successes and failures, all the time.
Every day I am required to do my work, to show up and share. This is a beautiful thing. On some days this kind of sharing feels natural, easy, and effortless. On other days it feels icky, strange, and constrained. Discovering that fine balance between generosity, vulnerability, unconstrained openness, and holding things close is a daily circus act.
On the days when it doesn’t feel so great, I notice that I have an unprecedented fear lurking about: what if I’m not working hard enough to make as much money as I need to pay for the rent / mortgage / travels / clothes / courses and experiences that I want?
It is those days that I move beyond inspiration, into overdrive and exhaustion. I hurriedly add items to my ‘to do’ list. I come up with more complicated and spectacular projects and programs. I push myself a little harder and drive myself to stay at it a little longer. Gone is the gentle trust that I am always supported and everything is working in my favour. Instead I become a hamster in a wheel, turned by the fear of my inadequacy.
Finding the balance is a spiritual practice. The only way that I can find my own unique balance between taking action (inspired hustle) and practicing patience (trust), is by being very present and centred in my body at all times. I can feel, moment to moment, when I cross the line from love to fear.
Since we’ve been traveling I’ve been experimenting with letting go of this pressing sense of obligation to ‘make things happen’. What happens if I don’t fulfil all my tasks on my ‘to do’ list?
What I’ve discovered is this: nothing happens. I don’t miss out on opportunities for growth.
Things continue to hum along as usual, but without the same sense of urgency. Nonetheless, the exciting feeling of rapid growth is also no longer there, simply because I’m not putting the same amount of energy into my business.
What is astonishing is that this slower approach feels to have stronger foundations. My email list has doubled since we set out on our adventure. My Instagram following has grown 200%. My wait-list for 1:1 mentoring is almost full for the first half of 2017.
I worked much less and much harder at it all, giving in to allowing life to come first instead of pushing, forcing and trying so hard.
It turns out the key to this kind of growth is patience, trust and consistency, rather than hustling in overdrive and diving deep into overwhelm.
In the future, I want to remember this, anytime I drop off my spiritual practice of staying present and slide into fear, that I always have a choice, and the choice that supports me the most is the one that feels relaxed, effortless and fun.
It all comes down to self-love. When I love myself enough to respect my energetic boundaries, I find the balance between doing and allowing easily.
Because I love myself, I can tell when I am striving out of fear of not being enough for the world, instead feeling inspired to put my all into something because it brings me joy and gratification. Sometimes that thing I am doing isn’t necessarily fun or comfortable, but the learning, the devotion and the growth that come with it, are exactly what I want and need.
In all, my answer to the question above is this: if you are asking yourself that question, you’re probably already out of balance and in overdrive. Pull back, and ask yourself this question: How can I accomplish what I have set out to achieve while staying in alignment with my body, heart and soul? And then feel the answer, instead of think it.
Photo: Original source unknown.