“Sounds like you are on the right path"
My colleague shared this feedback with me after I gave an update on how things had been going with my business. It’s great to have a sounding board and an accountability partner to help keep things on track. But as my colleague said these words, I stopped and paused.
“Was I on the right path?” I wondered to myself. What did the right path even look like? And more importantly, I couldn’t help but remember how many times before I thought I was on the right path, only to find out that I wasn’t.
Or was I?
In that moment, as these thoughts were going through my head, something because crystal clear to me. I had no idea if I was on the “right path” but what I did know was that I was on the “right NOW” path.
There’s a big difference.
The “right NOW” path means that what I am engaged in right now is in alignment with what I feel I should be doing. This feeling isn’t in my mind. It doesn’t come from planning, projecting, building a funnel or envisioning how things are going to play out. This feeling comes from a deep place of knowing inside of me. I know that the steps I’m taking today feel in alignment to me. This is my “right NOW.”
Being on the “right NOW” path means that things can change at a moment’s notice. The way to navigate these unknown waters is to release expectations of what is supposed to happen next. There is an element of surrender here. There is an element of letting go of what we want to happen with the intention of allowing what is in the highest and best to occur.
It’s ok to feel some resistance here!
Honestly, if someone had told me this just a few years ago I would have thought they were crazy. I’ve always been a planner and a doer. I believed that having an end goal and working towards that goal almost always led to success.
Looking back, this was true some of the time. But the times where things fell apart, even when I had created solid plans and executed those plans almost flawlessly, were some of the most painful experiences I could have imagined.
You see, when we create expectations and things don’t play out the way we envisioned, it can cause considerable pain and struggle in our lives.
This has been a very big lesson for me.
I can rattle off many examples of situations where I really thought I was on the right path. Times when I felt guided to create a workshop or a community program, only to have the end results not turn out as I expected.
These misadventures often took me to my knees. I questioned everything. I questioned whether I had misinterpreted my intuition or if I had just completely miscalculated the need for what I had created. I blamed myself for the perceived failure, and beat myself up over and over each time.
As you can imagine, beating myself up did not create the results I was looking for either. In fact, I'd say that this cycle kept me in a disenfranchised mindset for quite some time. Leading me to wonder if it was worth the effort to keep putting myself out there when things didn't seem to bring about the results I had hoped for.
The “right NOW” path isn’t about being passive.
Many of us have been conditioned to believe that there are two speeds in life; go and stop. The thought of not planning and not working to control our lives to ensure we are on the right path can feel very uncomfortable and even confusing. Don't get me wrong, I'm not suggesting that forward motion should stop. Just the opposite, I’m saying that forward motion should continue one step at a time with a focus on the "right NOW."
Here are three ways to align yourself on the “right NOW” path.
- Check in with your expectations – It is said that expectations can cause our greatest pain and struggle. There is nothing wrong with having goals but when we create a story of how we believe the plans are going to play out, it can quickly backfire. Set goals and expectations that allow for movement and unfolding.
- Validate your “why” – This is a critical step in the process. Take time to identify why you're doing what you are planning. Aim to keep your “why” in alignment with your higher purpose. For example, making money might be one item on your list but looking at the broader scope, your “why” might really be to serve a population of people. This higher level “why” allows for the possibility that the steps can unfold in a more fluid manner.
- Allow for the path to shift - Being rigid or grasping onto the way things "should" flow can keep you for pivoting easily when the plan changes. Resistance to these changes can keep you from moving forward while creating a great deal of struggle.
Whenever you find yourself projecting far out into the future, creating stories of how you believe things should play out or digging in your heels when it may make better sense to shift your course, take a pause and decide whether you want to stay on the perceived “right path” or align with your “right NOW” path instead.