Trust the Process

Trust the Process

It’s easy to get excited about the anticipated result. Much harder to remain excited about the process.

Every program, regardless of construction, will have its highs and lows. Even if the program wasn’t designed to take you on a roller-coaster ride, life itself conspires to take you on a wild goose chase. It doesn’t make it easy on you to win. It makes it hard.

It’s often been said that the shortest distance between two points is a line. But life is never moving in a line. It’s moving in zigs and zags, and in concentric circles.

The only time taking the shortest route ever seems to work out is when you’re driving from one location to another. Ever then, there are often interruptions. You must stop for bathroom breaks, meals, traffic lights, etc.

Gifts don’t always show up in the neat little packages you expect them to. They don’t always look like gifts. They look like problems to be solved. Or a ratty pair of shoes, an empty gas tank, a failing business.

The inevitable reaction is, “this is not at all what I expected!”

But that’s what expansion looks like. You won’t find expansion in your comfort zone. Expansion is wild, unexpected, new. It’s heart based.

The program may drive you nuts. But you’ve got to appreciate it for what it is. You’ve got to trust the process. If you don’t, you’ll get stuck in “something’s wrong.” We all have that context from when we were young. Anything unfamiliar or uncomfortable can potentially get lumped in with the “something’s wrong” pile, even when the outcomes we’re after are on the other side of it.

When you’re stuck on “something’s wrong,” you’ll quit. Even if you knew going in that the training was going to be on par with the severity of Ranger School.

Change your frame. Remember that you’ve left your comfort zone by signing up for the program in the first place. The program is doing what it’s supposed to do. The rest is how you respond. Even the most insane schedules will seem tame after a year of training. Give yourself time to get to that point.

Traditions

Traditions

There are traditions you enjoy and those you don’t.

I’ve been living nomadically since June, and that has basically meant I’ve been surfing from couch to hotel to Airbnb for nearly seven months.

Today, I left yet another Airbnb, in Calgary, behind. A month was supposed to be a long time – certainly longer than some of my stays. Time enough to contemplate my next steps. And, while I’ve figured out a few things, I certainly wouldn’t say I can see miles ahead yet, especially in terms of work and income.

Either way, when I’m between couches, hotels, or Airbnbs, I usually find myself sitting at a Starbucks doing my work until it’s time to check in at my next destination. For a long time, I’ve enjoyed doing some of my work from a Starbucks or Tim Horton’s. I’ve even tried to work it in into my schedule at times, because I see a noticeable boost in energy or productivity.

But this is a tradition, it seems, that’s growing a little stale.

It could be because I don’t enjoy leaving one place for another. Not that I don’t like travel. It’s just that, at this point, waking up, packing up, cleaning up, and departing to another destination is becoming rote.

It could be because the novel is always more interesting than the ordinary.

It could also be because I’ve been under the weather since Monday, so even though I’m lucid enough to produce good work, I’d much rather be laying in bed than coaching, writing, attending meetings, or otherwise engaging in my leadership program. It could be that I’m simply not finding joy in what would otherwise be a welcome change of scenery. Flues have a way of doing that to you.

For the next month or so, I’ll be lodging in Okotoks at my parent’s.

Today, I suggested to my parents that we create a new tradition where we go to the mountains for Christmas. They seemed open to the idea.

But I digress. More and more I’m hearing the urging to find a more stable living situation, even if it’s not entirely permanent. There will be a more permanent home in my future, I just don’t think it’s going to be in the immediate future. I think it will show up around May or June 2023. And I have some idea of what I’m going to be doing in the meantime.

But what I’m getting at is that even though they say, “the grass is greener on the other side,” the more you venture out and try things, the more you realize the messiness of life maintains the license to intrude whenever and wherever it wants, even if that “whenever and wherever” is some permutation of your dream life.

I’ve heard wealthy people say money is not all its cracked up to be. I’ve heard famous people say it gets old. In a way, I think I get what they mean. It’s about traditions. And while we tend to think of traditions as annual getaways or visits to places emblazoned on our memories, traditions are playing out at a micro level too. It’s worth paying attention to the micro traditions you have in your life, because as they say, success is hidden in your daily habits.

Fear of Being Stuck

Fear of Being Stuck

Will this really work out?

What if you end up spending another year of your life living out the same year you’ve lived out 10 times already? Is there any expansion in that?

Does it really matter? Does God or the Universe even care that you feel stuck?

Is there a reason you’re repeating? Is your programming so deeply rooted that you don’t know how to function outside of your usual mode of operation? Do you need to be more vigilant with affirmations, meditation, reading, and reprogramming your subconscious? Or is there something you’re unwilling to give up?

Wait – if you are repeating the same year over and over, doesn’t it point to your identity? In a roundabout kind of way, aren’t you doing exactly what you were meant to be doing?

Why make a big deal about it? Should there be any significance around it?

Another year is going to pass anyway. So, wouldn’t it make sense to spend that time in community, learning from others, and sharing all your challenges with them? Maybe they can see something you can’t.

You don’t know what you don’t know. Sometimes, there are things you can’t see for yourself that are clear to others.

Maybe you’ve been making all the progress you’re supposed to be making already. Maybe things really do take time. And maybe you don’t have the perspective needed to see how you’ve been growing in the last 10 years.

It’s normal to become frustrated with the process. Things don’t always go how you plan them.

But the tipping point may not be that far away. Maybe you’ve been inching closer to it with each passing day, even though you can’t see it right now.

What if the critics were wrong? What if the devil’s advocates were also wrong? What if even the so-called “prophets” were wrong? What if you were about to achieve your dream and you didn’t even know it?

You’re Living in a Dream

You’re Living in a Dream

And the entire experience is contained within your consciousness.

It’s no wonder life can become so repetitive. You reinforce experience through persistent thought. Persistent thought gains momentum and continues to show up as experience in life more frequently.

The game of life has a way of becoming much too serious, much too grave when we make the distinction between “real” life and “fake” life, as though such a distinction exists.

It’s all life. It does not matter whether you’re blogging, playing a video game, browsing Facebook, entering virtual reality, or dreaming as you sleep.

These are not “fake” life experiences. If they were, time would stop while you were in them. But it doesn’t. It doesn’t stop when you’re dreaming, and it certainly doesn’t stop while you’re playing a video game.

One cannot have a “fake” life experience. You can make things up in your mind, but even visualizations are registered by your brain as “real.” Why should it be otherwise? You are, after all, living in a dream.

Again, for you to have a “fake” life experience, it would need to occur outside our grasp of time and space. Basically, it would need to be “death,” because death is the only opposite to life we have. And what little we do know about death seems to indicate it is merely life in another form.

Reality TV does not describe a specific type of programming. Rather, it describes a genre of programming. The actors and actresses may be real. Filming locations may be real. But the stories are fabrications. Everything is scripted out. This is a good metaphor for the paradox of reality itself. It’s objective and it’s subjective, and more likely it’s subjective, because it’s the only way the two fit with each other.

Interacting with the world as though it were a dream removes much of the perceived risk and pain of “doing the wrong thing.”

This isn’t to say one should go out today and act as though they’re invincible. But seeing the world through the lens of dreaming can shed light on just how many beliefs we observe, when these beliefs were primarily based on an objective model of reality to begin with. Life keeps moving in the direction of our persistent thought, only because we haven’t thought to change it.

For you to see reality through a new lens, the only thing to do is notice. Notice how it seems as though when you’re alone, there is no one and nothing else. Notice how when you’re in a restaurant, the restaurant is the small container of reality you occupy.

Yes, if you walk down that familiar street, you’ll eventually reach that 7-Eleven whose location you’ve memorized. But when you get there, 7-Eleven will be another self-contained reality you occupy momentarily.

Notice. Then interact. Interact with the world as though it were a dream. How would it shift your idea of consequences? What would you say or do that you normally wouldn’t? Would you begin to feel as though you could bend reality to your will?

Scramble

Scramble

What if everything you tried didn’t work?

What if your best ideas, best plans, best strategies, best efforts didn’t pan out?

What then? Would you give up?

What if you knew it was time to get your act together? What if you knew you didn’t have much time left? What if you knew it was now or never?

What changes would you make? How would you adjust?

Would you move to a different city? Make new friends? Start a business? Try a new workout routine? Embrace minimalism?

If you knew that you would simply be trying old things in a new way, would you feel discouraged about the fact that breakthroughs may not be forthcoming? Or, contrary to all evidence, would you continue to believe in breakthrough results?

It’s a big decision. Would you think long and hard on it before getting into action? Or, sensing the limitations of time, would you spring into action, doing something daily to create the life you’ve always wanted to create with the time you have left? Even if you have no idea whether those actions are going to lead anywhere?

Perhaps there’s a different option.

Maybe you could live your life in three-, six-, or 12-month capsules. Give something your full attention for a while, before moving on and trying something else. After all, what’s a quarter, half a year, or another 365 days in the grand scheme of things? Maybe you could indulge the multi-passionate within you. It could be a fun life.

Perhaps we could let go of the significance and drama of the situation altogether. Maybe we could adopt a laidback, easy-going attitude instead.

What if you created life as an experiment? What if you let your curiosity drive you? What if you held onto that curiosity for the rest of your life?

There are many ways of approaching the situation. The only thing needed to find solutions is to see the problem from different angles.

What’s even more fascinating, though, is that the “situation” itself is a creation. It’s not real. It doesn’t exist. We know this because the situation doesn’t have an opinion on the matter – only you do. Since you’re the only one with an opinion on the matter, it’s all context, and contexts are created.

What context do you want to create? This is the ultimate question.

Opportunities for Expansion

Opportunities for Expansion

What opportunities for expansion have in common is that they’re uncomfortable.

Whether it’s having a conversation with someone you barely know (especially an authority figure), making a request of someone you just met (“hey, let’s go on a date”), or committing to daily action (e.g., working out daily for 90 days), there is always something about the opportunity that will occur to you as a step or two outside your comfort zone.

This doesn’t mean you have to be a nervous wreck for it to be an opportunity for expansion. It’s more so that feeling of “here’s something I rarely or never do.” It’s unfamiliar, and unfamiliar is uncomfortable.

Regardless of the outcome, you learn something. It’s not that you’re better off or worse off after the fact. The conversation you have may not lead to resolution. You may not get the date. You may not reach your goal. But no matter the outcome, you get to discover something new.

Sometimes you will create the outcomes you’re looking to create. But even when you don’t, you may feel a sense of exhilaration and aliveness you haven’t felt in a while.

For instance, if you’re rejected by someone you’ve been pining over for a couple of years, sure it can hurt. But it can also be a relief. And it’s a victory all its own because you worked up the courage to ask someone out.

If you stay in the momentum of courageous actions instead of hiding in a dark room, you’ll find yourself taking a lot more chances relationally, eventually leading to the outcome you’ve been dreaming of. You’ll find someone who says “yes.” And in relationships, the feeling is the outcome sought after, not the individual, though it’s very easy to confuse the two.

So, instead of waking up in the morning dreading the conversations you need to have, or the actions you need to take, or the places you need to go… stop. Remember that they are opportunities for expansion. Remember that opportunities for expansion are uncomfortable.

But regardless of outcome, you’ll feel a sense of relief once you’ve taken the actions you need to take. And if you stay in the momentum of taking necessary actions, even if you don’t get what you want today, you will learn something, and you will get what you want long term.