So you are a go-getter, eh?
You earned good grades during school. Every day you write out your goals and to-do lists with fervor and you check off each completed task with pride. Your calendar is packed full with meetings and brunches and projects galore. You are a motivational junkie – you just can’t get enough because you know there is always more out there for you to achieve.
I feel ya! In fact… I’m right there with you!
But sometimes, there is a dark side to being a high-achiever. Sometimes the fast pace can trip you up. Sometimes it’s easy to get IMPATIENT when things slow down.
We just don’t know how to handle downtime! It isn’t in our DNA. It’s such a foreign idea, that when we do have that time to ourselves, we practically go nuts.
And it’s even worse when the downtime isn’t by choice. When the downtime comes because an idea of ours isn’t working as quickly as we would like, or we aren’t getting response on our latest endeavor, or GOD-FORBID we actually failed at something and we have to go back to the drawing board. If we don’t have something to show for ourselves in record time, we become discouraged because it doesn’t fit the standards we have set for ourselves. We’ve set the bar too high.
So how do you handle the downtime without driving yourself crazy?
The secret is learning to ALLOW. That’s all there is to it.
But I know a word like “allow” sounds really fluffy and vague and very very scary to anyone who keeps a tight schedule. So I’m going to give you 5 strategies to help you delve into the nitty-gritty of what it means to allow and how you can do it NOW .
I learned the art of allowing firsthand in one of the most unlikely of places: the Port Authority Subway.
Port Authority is this huge, vile bus station on the west side of Manhattan, and I used to work at an office 1 block away. I would take the subway to work and every day I felt this pit of doom at the bottom of my stomach. I felt like my life had become stagnant, like I was going nowhere fast.
For the first time ever, I didn’t have a plan. I had quit my previous job in haste because I knew it wasn’t something that I wanted to pursue as a career. The environment was so toxic, I just had to escape. I had jumped out of necessity, but there was no safety net or strategy in place to help me move forward.
And as I sat on the outdated orange subway chairs, traveling to one of the three part-time jobs I had scraped together to make ends meet, I realized that my go-getter mentality had hit a major roadblock. And I was forced to do something I had never felt comfortable doing before: I allowed.
Every day, as I felt the scary, anxious feeling start to creep up my throat, as I let the running thoughts of “ What in the world am I going to do with my life!?!” “I have no plan!” “I don’t know how to live without a plan!!” circulate throughout my brain, I tried something different. I leaned back, closed my eyes for a brief moment, and just sat . I didn’t think, I didn’t grasp at fleeting ideas of huge goals or accomplishments. I just allowed all that worry and anxiety to take a back seat.
Remember watching Spongebob? I pretended that my mind was like the brain command center inside his head and I was allowing all the little anxiety-inducing “thought mechanics” go home early.
No need to be on call guys, I’m good!
Nothing to see or do here, just a quarter-life crisis – no biggie!
And just when I thought that the world would crash around me, I noticed that I was still on the subway, still heading to job 1 of 3, still breathing. The only thing that was different was that I felt a lot less stressed. And that’s when I realized that allowing was the only key I owned to my future.
And everyday I would test the limits of allowing just a bit more. As I would walk through the subway station during the afternoon, heading to job 2 of 3, I would think about the beauty in the stillness of my life.
Nothing was advancing right now, I didn’t have a plan, yet here I was – living and breathing! I was alive and functioning! I got up in the morning, picked out my outfit, did my makeup, made a smoothie and I DIDN’T HAVE A PLAN. I had a routine, but no over-arching goal that caused the days to add up to something worthwhile.
Before, I couldn’t even fathom a life like that, but now I was living it.
And after weeks of relishing in these subway moments, the pit of doom in my stomach slowly turned into a feeling of excitement. I was excited by the fact that I had no clue how to move forward.
But I started to recognize what I DID know to be true. I did know that I was a motivated, high-achieving person at heart. Just because some recent realizations had knocked me back a bit, that part about me would never change. I knew big things were to come. It was something to look forward to!
After a year of exhausting all my mental energy on escaping a bad work situation, through the act of merely “allowing” I was able to clean out the cobwebs of my stressed-out mind and realize that there is infinite potential available to me. Not having a plan means that ANYTHING can happen. I was now free to dream as big as I wanted!
But right away, I felt my old habits starting to kick in…I wanted my next big idea and dream to happen NOW. I didn’t want to wait any longer! As soon as my mind started to race, I would take a step back and begin merely allowing again. I just sat with myself and trusted that inspiration was on the way. I didn’t search for it; I knew it would find me.
Instead, I focused on other things. Things that made me happy, like spending time with friends and being kind to myself. Focusing on the present moment. Noticing the beauty in the parks around Manhattan and the colors of the changing leaves. I wasn’t focused on the future (like so many of us impatient high-achievers like to do!); I was living in the now. It’s all that I had . That, and a knowing in my heart that more was to come.
I knew that this was the quiet before the storm of inspiration.
And one long winter later, as I was walking through the yucky, smelly subway – I experienced that burst of inspiration. My life was living, breathing proof of the power of positive thinking. I had found my soulmate with this work , I had overcome challenges and changed the course of my life’s purpose with these teachings, and I had made it out on the other side. All by changing my mindset and view on life, I found a deep well of happiness within me. Why not share that joy and power with others?
And on January 15 th , that’s exactly what happened. After years of forcing big things to happen, Soultiply came into being by a burst of inspiration brought on by my ability to trust and allow.
Sometimes when we are at our lowest of lows, we have no other choice but to allow.
When things are going great – you take all the credit, right?! When you are movin’ and shakin’ you feel like you are in demand and in control. This often means that we don’t let ourselves to just sit back and ALLOW life to happen unless we have no other choice.
When I read Anita Moorjani’s book “Dying to be Me” , I connected with it on a very deep level. Although I had never experienced the amount of pain she endured while battling cancer, the message of her conflicting struggle and her life-changing near death experience (NDE) struck a chord with me.
As part of June’s Monthly Mantra series, we read .
If you are unfamiliar with the free Soultiply Monthly Mantra program – learn all about it here!
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The biggest take-away for me was the role allowing plays in all of our lives. After her NDE, Anita realized that she already had everything within her to do all the wonderful things she dreamed of here on earth. She possessed the power all along. There was no pushing ahead or struggle, because that mentality comes from a place of fear. She just had to do what felt right at the time, what felt good in the moment, and great things would come. (Including the book deal that gave us her story!)
And we can all operate from this place of understanding. You can search for years and years to find happiness, but you’ll only end up finding it right inside yourself. You don’t have to endure a near death experience like Anita, or experience soul-searching moments on the smelly subway like I did. You have the ability to realize it right this very moment. What will be the catalyst to trigger this realization for you?
You don’t have to be down-and-out in order to allow big things to happen in your life. But when you are a busy (and impatient!) person, this can be hard to remember. So here are some quick tricks I’ve compiled to jumpstart your ability to allow at a moment’s notice.
1. Why so serious?
Laugh at yourself.
When you want to jumpstart your ability to allow, you must not take yourself so seriously.
Anita was able to cultivate this attitude because she faced her greatest fear (death) and came out on the other side. Nothing in life was so serious as to frazzle her to the point where she couldn’t have a happy-go-lucky attitude; she had survived the worst. When faced with struggle, step back and find the funny.
When I read old journal entries that I wrote back in my tween years (yes, I’ve been keeping a journal that long!) I laugh until I have tears in my eyes. My writings were so serious and my problems were so real at the time, but now they mean absolutely nothing to me. In fact, there is a whole organization that capitalizes on this very sentiment – the ability to laugh at your former worries. Give yourself some perspective and you’ll find instant relief.
2. Focus on the Fundamental Now
Instantly enter “allow mode” by focusing on the fundamental now.
Focus on your five senses. What can you hear, touch, taste, smell and see this very moment? Focus ONLY on that. Send the “thought mechanics” of your frazzled brain out to lunch for a second!
Want to take it even further? Meditate! Mediation brings you the pure state of allowing. Because you must silence your running thoughts in order to make room for true inspiration.
Another way to make room for the allow of now is through gratitude! Gratitude is absolutely essential for go-getters.
Remember all the goals you wanted to achieve last year? Ya know, the ones that you’ve already conquered? Be grateful for them! You did it! Relish in the experience of all that you’ve already achieved. No achievement is too big or too small! When you are a motivated person, you are always one step ahead and you rarely give yourself the time to be thankful for what you’ve already accomplished. Be thankful for the people that got you there, for the money that you made, for the skills that you learned and for the abilities that have always been innate within you.
Even be thankful for things you achieved a long time ago. Just because you have grown and changed since then doesn’t mean that you couldn’t do it again! That was still YOU achieving those things. I am thankful for my old cheerleading body from high school….although I feel like a completely different person now, I’m still thankful because I know I have that ability within me. I DID THAT. Only with gratitude will you continue to receive such beautiful gifts in the future.
4. Be a Lazy Butt…
Don’t do anything. I know, this is a sacrilegious statement for all you go-getters. It’s going to feel like hell – but give it a try.
Schedule a day where you don’t have to do anything. Make sure work is taken care of, the kids are at your parents’ house, all responsibility is put on hold for the day. You might spaz out a bit, but it’s worth it.
Don’t plan a single thing and discover what you would “like” to do instead. It’s up to you. Maybe you feel like reading. Or sleeping. Or watching really crappy TV all day. Or maybe you want to craft or write or take a hike. If you feel lazy – YOU ARE DOING IT RIGHT.
But most of all, don’t feel guilty for letting a day go by. Don’t think about all the things that you COULD have accomplished at work during this time, all the moments that you missed. Because when you are only doing things that make your heart sing, you are in a pure state of allowing. The things that you will discover when your head is clear of a schedule are the gifts that will propel your dreams forward.
5. Daydream about the end result & trust inspiration to fill in the rest
Thinking and Allowing are major frenemies. You know the kind, where they get along sometimes and do a lot of fake smiling, but really kind of despise each other in the end? That’s because Thinking usually invites his friends Worry and Anxiety over and they just zap all the fun out of the party. But when Thinking hangs out with Positivity, Allowing doesn’t mind. In fact, Allowing is good friends with Positivity too! (Am I the only one who thinks everything is easier to understand in terms of high school cliques?!)
The point is, thinking can make or break you. But if you think about the end result, about the dream you want to achieve (rather than the zillions of obstacles that could keep you from getting there), you are in a state of allowing.
Because when you think of your dreams, you only have two choices – you can either…
1) trust in them and feel excited for their arrival
2) worry about them, doubt that they will come true, and let your mind race in order to try to fix all the fearful things that could go wrong.
The first choice keeps you in the state of allowing, which is where you need to be in order to make awesome shit happen.
Because as I’ve said before, if you allow, inspiration will finally have a chance to pay you a visit. And inspired ideas will benefit you 10 million times more than forced, worry-based solutions. Inspired ideas allow you to bring something new and original to this world. They are the ideas that stand out in the crowd, that make people take notice. Fear just doesn’t have a chance when it’s up against a truly inspired idea. Daydream about your goals and know that the longer you stay in the state of allowing, the easier it is for true inspiration to fill in the rest.
You were built for something more…and allowing will get you there.
That’s why you feel your soul telling you to push along and achieve more and more every day. That yearning to create and dream and MAKE THINGS HAPPEN is a tremendous gift and it will get you far. But sometimes, you have the ability to get in your own way. The art of allowing will help you gain the clarity you need to push forward during frustrating times.
P.S. What Vision board would be complete without some Soultiply inspiration? Follow for my top motivational picks!