I have tried to write about two different topics this week, and continued to bump into resistance around both. The first required research I didn’t really have time to complete this week, so I decided to table it for a few weeks when my schedule is lighter. The second topic is willingness, and what I find kind of ironic is that I was unwilling to stretch my own thinking enough to embrace the message that I really wanted to convey. Hmmm... This begs the question:
How do we know when it is appropriate to lean back, and how do we know when to push through to the finish?
My personal and coach-y answer is this: It depends.
There are so many times when it makes sense to lean back, soften the lens and see what we might not be seeing (you know, the forest for the trees thing). Actually, it makes sense to always lean back before pushing through. How often do you find yourself rushing to the finish, missing details? Have you ever pushed yourself to finish a project, or to “get over” a hurt, to later find that you have missed important details, or that you continue to feel hurt?
I know I say this a lot, though I also know at the very least that I will benefit from hearing my “steady drumbeat” message again, so I restate: Sometimes we need to slow down to speed up.
This is not the same as giving ourselves permission to quit or to stall progress, to procrastinate or make excuses for not stepping into our powerful genius. This leaning back gives us a moment to scan our energy, find resistance in our thinking (often manifested as physical pain, by the way - perhaps I will write about that another day), then address the resistance and take inspired action.
If you shoot an arrow, you must first get your eye very keenly focused on the target. Once you clearly see your target, you pull back on the bow, re-focus your eye in-line with the arrow, and finally release the arrow in the direction of the target. Imagine trying to shoot the arrow without pulling back on the bow. It would fall to the ground next to your feet, right? What if you take your eye off of the target as you release the bow? The arrow will launch in whatever direction you have it pointed, but will most likely land nowhere near the target. If you have a cramp in your shoulder or neck, how much energy is available to pull back the bow in order to launch the arrow with great speed and precision?
To avoid wandering too far into the metaphor weed patch, I will make this point: If you bump into resistance along the way, sometimes you can power through and just “gitter done,” possibly hampering your best energetic output. If you take your eye off the target (your goals, desired outcome, a dream you are making into your reality) you may miss it by a long shot. If you do not take a moment to lean back so you can get crystal clear on your goal, how will you aim, and will you even see the target? What’s more, how will you prepare yourself to build the momentum needed to get you through to the finish?
So, “it depends” is a simple and complex answer to the question: How do we know when it is appropriate to lean back, and how do we know when to push through to the finish?
It depends, really, on your answers to the following 2 questions:
- Do you know what you want and why you want it?
- Are you willing to commit to reaching your goals, even if you need to slow down, lean back, adjust, re-adjust and re-focus regularly?
It seems that I have circled back to willingness. One way to measure your willingness is by taking action. If you can answer question 2 honestly, and you answer “Yes”, then the easiest and most obvious “proof” is in your action. Here is where I may muck-up the simplicity of “it depends” and contradict myself: Sometimes we need to take a step even if we are uncertain if we are heading in the right direction.
Wait.....didn’t I just say to slow down, lean back, focus on the target? Yes. However, if you are prone to “Analysis Paralysis” (and you know who you are, right?!) and you painfully comb-over every detail, ultimately stalling getting started, let alone making any progress, you might need to look at your target, remind yourself of why you want to get there, and just go for it. This is a kind way of telling you to kick your own backside into gear, with love.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said it best,
“Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.”
When we are very clear on what we want and WHY we want it, then stepping out in faith is easy. Ask yourself those two questions regularly, and write down or speak-out your answers. Breathe life into your dreams and desires every day, and take at least one step toward them. You are actively leaning back and focusing by asking those two questions, so if you continue to ask and answer honestly, you will be performing the delightful dance of slowing down to speed up, and you know what? You’ll launch forward like a rocket. You will. Trust me; I’ve been there, I return there, I re-start there and I manifest from there. Know that you are fully supported in your journey, and have faith in yourself and your abilities. Stepping out in faith requires very little beyond understanding why you want what you want.
Blessings. Gratitude. Love.