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Stop the striving and allow for thriving

I have a bit of advice for you today, busy entrepreneurs, creatives and do-gooders, but it may be hard to swallow:

Go for what’s easy.  Strive to find the sweet spot beyond effort and striving.  Lean in.  Stop doing.  Surrender. Cultivate ease in your life.

Wait, you say.  I have a To Do list a mile long!  I have work to do, bills to pay, art to create!  It sounds nice, but I can’t afford to take it easy!  Lazy people aren’t successful, and I want to be a success!

But that’s where you’re mistaken.  BECAUSE you choose ease, you heighten your awareness of what’s necessary and what’s not.  BECAUSE you opt out of striving and forcing, you allow creativity to enter the room.  BECAUSE you close off to negative inner chatter, you eliminate the chaos and confusion that saps your energy and encourages self-criticism, which keeps your gorgeous brilliant self from shining through and leading the show.

And the added bonus of discovering that ease is (drum roll, please) : your business, passion or project will benefit enormously.  Without asking yourself to achieve, you’ll achieve.  Without trying to increase sales, you’ll increase sales.  Without sinking into stuckness, your novel or choreography or poetry will flow.

Why is this so?

For those of us who tend to think too much, there’s a good chance we’re making our lives way harder than need be.  I’m talking about those of us good students who have done our homework, whose businesses have fledged, who have put a stake in the ground – but who are struggling.  See, after putting our ducks in a row, we add layers of superfluous gunk that keep us busy but also keep us from thriving.  If these layers had voices they would sound like, “If only I could write as well as Jane does”, “Once I get my degree I’ll raise my rates”, “I can’t offer that product because noone will buy it”, “My paintings aren’t good enough for that gallery”.  These voices keep us underperforming, playing small, and selling ourselves short.

We can do better.

Let’s get inspired by athletes, who know about performing “in the zone”.

The athlete trains the body to undertake a physical challenge.  But once physically fit, the athlete can go beyond the experience of exertion and into the zone.  The zone is where effort and thought are secondary, where the pieces come together without effort and where something beautiful happens.  What’s primary there is the experience of absolute ease.  Imagine an experienced kayaker navigating rapids.  The body, the boat and the river move together without plans or strategies.  If the kayaker stiffens up or overthinks the situation, things could go very wrong.  Dancing with the river, though, guarantees an adrenaline high and a wild ride.

What’s noticeably absent in the zone?

Analysis.  Overthinking.  Obsessing about details.  Wondering what it looks like to others.  Fear.

What’s present?

Confidence.  Inspired action.  Freedom.  Joy.  Trust in the moment.  And oh yes, ease.

So here’s your challenge.

Reflect on where you are in terms of your business, your passion, your life work.  Acknowledge yourself for what you have established.  Now, set an intention to experience ease.   Please, please open yourself to trusting that in surrender, you will find a way forward that is simple and powerful.  Again and again, feel into your heart and act from there, without overthinking.  Keep it honest.  Trust that with ease comes insight, possibility and brilliance.  And know that the way forward doesn’t have to be hard-fought; it can be full of delight.

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