Using The Mind To Plan The Leap
Unearthing the process that I go through in leaping - making life-changing, often uncomfortable but always life-affirming decisions has been eye-opening for me. Reflecting on, and giving words to what was outside of my understanding has given me a new confidence in myself, and in the internal guidance system we all have available to us.
While two-thirds of leaping lived in my subconscious, in a place of quasi-mystery, untapped potential, and debilitating shadows, the last part of the process is fully conscious. It lives in the realm of logic and reasoning. It’s the part where the mind can come in and ‘do its thing’. My busy, always-on brain enthusiastically shouts, "Finally, now let's get to business!"
DON'T FACE IT ALONE
Before getting into the nitty gritty of the planning process, I want to address any discomfort or difficult emotions that may come up during deep reflection and contemplation. Shadow work and really looking into ourselves is quite intense, especially when we're evaluating situations where we've been experiencing negative feelings, or suffering emotionally and mentally.
If you find that you don't want to face certain things because they are strong triggers, you don't have to deal with them alone. Get support from a therapist, coach, healer and even close friends and family. There is so much value in getting help from professionals like therapists. We all need an outside, objective point of view from someone who has zero vested interest in any outcome other than helping us get clear, empowered and healthy.
We should never feel that we need to go through anything alone.
That is a lesson I've been learning as well since I default to doing everything by myself, including shadow work and deep psychological or spiritual healing. But this isn't always the best option. In fact, having a support network is an important foundation to feeling secure, heard, and held.
For women, a sisterhood - whether best friends, siblings, or the many incredible communities of women who are coming together to support each other, is one of the most empowering and essential parts to living more fully. I've been connecting with so many incredible women these past few years. The level of support and simply being heard and understood in a loving, accepting way, has changed my life. We don't have to face our demons, shadows or difficult situations alone.
But we do need to do the deep reflection, contemplation, and inner seeking ourselves. It is our unique journey. Our life is our curriculum.
GIVE IT A NAME
After identifying and connecting with emotions and tuning into intuition, you gain a newfound clarity. You are standing tall and sure about your intentions. You have a foundation. Deep introspection and coming face-to-face with some major shadows, fears, and hopes is liberating and empowering. Accepting what your emotions and intuition are saying is a key to healing and moving on. No matter what comes up, don’t dismiss it.
You will be tempted to gloss over some “stuff”. Especially if it is uncomfortable. Please don’t.
Acknowledge it. Face it. Give it a name, shine a light on it. Then, accept it. If you try to ignore the message, you’ll find yourself in the same situation again. Recurring, uncomfortable or difficult situations - even if they involve different people, places or things - are meant to teach you a major life or karmic lesson. Your evolution - and ultimate freedom and fulfillment - depends on learning from these lessons and moving on.
Why else would you be feeling this unshakeable need to make a big change?
ENTER THE INTELLECT
Coming from a place of emotional and intuitive surety means that you can move into planning and action with crystal clear intent. Your energy is grounded in confidence. You have the driving desire. Now it's time to plan it out.
You know the 'Who', the 'What' and the 'Why'. Now its time to turn to your mind and use the intellect to plan the ‘When’ and the ‘How'.
With planning comes the necessity for intense focus and a commitment to following through. When planning, a good place to start is to ask the right questions, create scenarios, research options, and reach out to people for advice, help, support and feedback.
This is where you use your logical, rational mind. It's the moment when planning and organization take center stage.
Perhaps most importantly, try not to get emotional during this phase. Definitely tune into your intuition to know if something feels right, and focus on the feelings you want to feel, but don't get caught up in emotional scenarios. It's a fine line, and easily blurred so maintain awareness of how the feelings you desire are clear to you with certain options versus falling into worry or fear.
Say you decide that you want to start your own business. You are not feeling fulfilled at your job and its been gnawing at you. You've been collecting 'pins' and bookmarking articles about social-impact entrepreneurship. You have an excellent network of people who can connect you to resources that will help you launch. You want to affect lives and make positive changes for others. There is so much that you want to give. You know it's what you are meant to do.
Can you start the endeavor while still working at your current job? Can you afford to leave your job outright and start from scratch? Do you already have a plan for the business, a revenue model, funding, etc.? Who do you know that can help you? What resources are required? What is your first, tangible step? Creating a plan with goals, milestones, a S.W.O.T. analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats), a M.V.P. (minimal viable product), a website or social handles ... from the big picture down to the small details. This is where you want to focus your mind. Those kinds of concrete thoughts, steps and planning are where you will map out the actual, tangible steps in making the big leap.
Let’s take another situation. You have been feeling low energy and lethargic. You can’t get out of bed in the mornings. You’re loading up on coffee. You can’t think clearly. You are bloated and your skin is dull and rough. Your stress levels are high. You went to the gym once last month. Overall your body is not having a good time and your quality of life is suffering because of it. It's time to take care of your health.
You need a reset and direction on where to begin. What’s your first move? Do you read a few blog posts to get some information? Go to the doctor? To a nutritionist? What do you already know about health and wellness? Maybe you know someone healthy and can reach out to get some advice. Maybe you know a few simple things you can do immediately while you schedule the doctor appointment. For example: throw out any junk food, try to get to bed 30 minutes sooner than normal (and not with your phone in hand), drink a glass of warm water with lemon first thing in the morning, etc.
There are dozens of questions, scenarios and situations to work through logically with any situation. Work through your plans meticulously. Chunk up, chunk down. Get advice, information and support from trusted fiends, family, advisors, mentors or coaches. Take big steps - or baby steps.
Even if you have the grandest of grand plans, take a breath and work through them methodically with an essentialist focus.
If all this information about planning feels overwhelming, its ok. I get overwhelmed all the time because I tend to overthink or want to gather as much information as possible to make decisions. That doesn't always serve me well and I've been teaching myself to be ok with taking action without all the information.
Be careful with getting caught up in the act of thinking. It's not the same as doing. Analysis paralysis is real, and sometimes we can hide behind it because we get cold feet, feel shy, insecure or unsure. Those feelings are ok. Acknowledge them. But don't let them take over and stop you from carrying out your leap.
Other times, you want to throw planning out the window! You just want to do something, rather than sit there and think about it. And it feels empowering to do that. So if that's your way to get motivated and kick-start, then do it! This is ultimately, and always, about what's best for you.
Taking action is a decision. You must decide to take action. Not taking action is always an option. When you think about making the decision to act, will that action be towards something or will it be a decision of inaction? If the decision is inaction, you may be robbing yourself of so much more life. So much more growth. So much more that you cannot even begin to imagine.
ALLIES IN EVOLUTION
With emotions, intuition and the mind we have a powerful trifecta that we can turn to every time we start to sense, feel, or think that something needs to change. Harness the power in each one independently and as a whole. The three intermingle and criss-cross. We are fluid, and our process should also be fluid.
Knowing how to work with the three elements - emotion, intuition and intellect, helps us access knowledge we probably never knew we had. Often that inner knowing gives us a glimpse of how incredible we are, and how incredibly lucky we are to be here right here, right now. To be alive, to feel, and to express our gifts and talents.
Leaping is about making a choice to evolve and to continue our own personal hero's journey. Like the hero in all tales she has challenges, obstacles and allies - external and internal. Accessing and harnessing those allies helps the hero to overcome the obstacles, face the challenges, retrieve her power, to 'leap' into her destiny.
Let us all leap, empowered by our allies: emotions, intuition, and intellect!