Are you banging your head against a wall…AGAIN? Have you been working really hard and making no progress, or doing what you’ve always done but not getting the same results, or have things just been too darn difficult lately? It’s time to stop.
I recently wrote an article called The One Leadership Tool Most Leaders Are Too Scared to Use where I talked about what it means to stop pushing and allow yourself to be pulled.
For a lot of people, the concept is so completely foreign that they don’t even understand it. They hear it and think, “Well, this must mean that I just give up on my ideals, go with the flow, and follow the pack.” We all know that’s not leadership.
Let me explain. . .
Imagine water as it flows down a riverbed. On the edges of the river, water gets pushed into little coves or bays. As the water continues to push in there, it has nowhere to go, so it pushes and pushes and swirls and swirls, but can’t get out of the cove.
This is where all the dead leaves and branches get stuck and these little pools of water get nasty and slimy because things aren’t flowing easily. This water has strayed ever so slightly off the main course of the river and gotten backed up in “the details” along the shore.
Now think of the water at the center of the river. It’s moving fast and fluid. Sure, there are rocks and sticks out there, too, but the water in the middle rolls right over them and continues on its way toward the intended destination.
When you’re banging your head against the wall and everything feels more difficult than it should, it’s kind of like the water that got stuck in the stagnant pool on the side of the river. You have strayed ever so slightly off the course of your intended path and gotten bogged down in the details around the edges.
Allowing yourself to be pulled is the idea of getting out of that stagnant pool and back into the productive flow in the middle. It means allowing yourself to be pulled by the river’s current toward your intended destination.
Here’s the 3-step process to get back in the flow:
~Stop Pushing~ It’s pretty simple, just stop doing what you’re doing. Not forever, not giving up, but just long enough to get out of the muck. The whole process of getting out of the stagnant water can happen in only 3-5 minutes (we’re not talking about a big fat hairy deal here!).
~Breathe~ Take a big deep breath. Get quiet. This might mean closing your door or going into another room, but let yourself get away from everybody else for just a moment and take a few deep breaths.
~Ask~ Ask yourself: what is it I really want? What is the ultimate outcome I am truly seeking in this situation? What would it mean for things to be easy? Ask yourself, “What kind of person would I have to become in order for this to flow easily?” As you ask yourself these questions, don’t try to answer them. Yes, you read that correctly. Don’t try to answer the questions. Simply sit in the question…and wait. Something will bubble up for you, and when it does, simply follow it…even if it initially seems unrelated. It will lead you to your best next step and bring you back to the middle of the river.
I know that some of you are thinking “This is nuts! Clearly what I really need is a better plan.” Trust me, if you could THINK of a better plan, you would have done that already. If you’re willing to sit in the question without searching for an answer, your next best step will show up. Something will happen when you are willing to sit quietly in the question, and the only way I can prove it to you is to ask you to try it.