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Optimizing your life for process
Over the last couple of years I have slowly but surely dismantled the old business model I had, and I’ve been in the process of recreating.
When I’m in a recreation process, I tend to have big emotional waves…
There are periods where the insights flow, connections are made and I see what’s emerging. It’s super exciting and when I launch something to share it, it works. People want it, the work is rich, business flows, and I feel excited by the possibilities that are emerging.
Then there are periods where I feel like I’m grasping at straws, don’t know where to go, what to do, and can’t see where anything’s heading. When I’m in this soup, I move from curiosity and wonder to feeling down, lost, alone. I’m scared that I’m failing and I wonder how I’m ever going to get to the other side of this thing.
The saving grace is that at this point in my life I’ve been through the death and resurrection cycle often enough that I know I will eventually get to the other side. It takes a lot of listening, a lot of patience, but it’ll happen.
I’ve been riding some of these waves this year, but the other day I had a message flat up to my consciousness that said…
I’m in a bigger arc of transition than I’ve recognized.
I have the sense that this may be true for many of us.
Simply recognizing this helped me move from “Aren’t I supposed to be there already?” to “I’m right where I’m meant to be.”
Related to this, I was listening to a gentleman named Tom Morgan on Jeffrey Shaw’s podcast the other day, and one of the things that really stuck with me is that he shared that he used to optimize his life for outcome, but now he optimizes his life for process.
And I loved this because I recognize how much angst I cause myself when optimizing for outcome… while endeavoring to listen to and answer my soul’s call.
It’s like trying to harness the power of my calling, rather than riding the wave of where it wants to take me.
So the inquiry I’m in is, “How do I optimize for truly being in this transition that I’m in? How do I optimize to stay present to it, engaged with it, getting my hands dirty in the present moment”?
And, “Can I hold the outcome – the ‘destination’ – much more loosely (or maybe not at all)”?
There are three questions I’ve been guided to use as I navigate through this…
1. Am I trying to drag the old along into the new?
Are there things that I’m still holding on to that are time to let go, including versions of myself? Because if I am, they are just anchors I’m dragging with me as I endeavor to follow my calling.
There are times in this cycle of life, of death and rebirth, where you don’t feel a strong pull towards something. Instead, you’re recognizing the things that no longer animate you that once did.
In the Western culture, we’re not particularly well equipped with letting things go. We’re ‘juvenile’ in our capacity to work with death and dying, both metaphorically and physically.
But sometimes what’s calling us is to be deeply and reverently in the death process. To bless that which is no longer animated and to let it go.
2. Am I engaged in liminal space, or fighting it?
Liminal space is the space between spaces (when you’re in the doorway, you’re no longer in room A, not yet in room B – you’re in the threshold, called liminal space). So how attentive am I in liminal space? How fully am I engaged in this transformation (optimizing for process)?
Am I distracting myself because this new path feels unfamiliar, uneasy, or uncomfortable? Am I trying to glom onto something that’s been (that’s now dead) or artificially leap to something next that’s not yet formed?
The mantra here is, “The more I allow myself to be deeply engaged in liminal space, the more it guides me.”
I don’t have to know why certain things are lighting up, what they’re connected to, what they’ll lead to, how relevant or irrelevant what’s lighting up may seem, or how it’s connected to what I’ve done or what I might do next.
My job is to engage in what’s alive, even if it’s a small spark. Then engage in the next spark, and the next, and the next, and the next, until things start to coalesce, showing me the directionality for what’s next.
Am I staying ‘tuned in’ as I move towards what’s next?
There’s a lot of unknown. A lot of invitation to trust. A lot of invitation to listen and follow and learn as I lead.
And what I recognize is that at a soul level, what’s next isn’t actually quite so mysterious and deeply unknown as my mind makes it out to be. There’s something in my soul that understands what’s going on – that’s participating in it and helping to guide me.
If you’re in an arc of transition, it’s not just ‘personal.’ It’s connected to what’s emerging – not just in and through you, but what’s emerging in your people and in this world that you’re participating in and a part of.
You have something the world is asking for, and this transition occurring because your capacity to bring it is increasing exponentially!