We run through our lives constantly busy trying somehow to do it all. We want to control everything & everyone, believing that life will be easier this way. And what if we let go a bit and delegate some things to the Universe?
I started last week in a proper Superwoman spirit. I had a big 'to-do list', most of it around how to set up my coaching website and put my blog on it. I planned exact timings when I’m doing what and was ready to tackle the www world. I had my breakfast and that’s more or less how long my energy lasted for…
Normally I’d have forced myself, I’d have pushed through. Not sticking to the schedule is a sign of weakness. I have to be effective. I have to be disciplined. That would be my 'old' thinking. But this time I’ve done something else. I’ve decided to listen to myself. I’ve checked the list and since the only thing that had to happen at the set time was my coaching appointment I asked myself What do I feel like doing now? The answer was: Go for a walk to the beach. So I did that. And something beautiful happened…
I was sitting on a sun-chair and a young mum with a child came over to sit next to me. As we started chatting, it turned out that she is writing a blog about traveling with a baby. (A really cool website and loads of practical advice! You can have a look here: Nappy Nomad). She already had a lot of experience with setting up a website and blogging and not only gave me plenty of tips but also answered all my questions. And this is how half of my to-do list for the day disappeared! I had relaxing time on the beach, met an inspiring woman and her lovely baby, laughed and played in the sand and the work got done! Honestly, I couldn’t believe it.
That’s only one of the occasions when I’ve experienced 'the helpful hand of the Universe'. Since I’ve started practicing Soft Power, it’s been happening to me more often. When we tune in to ourselves, we start receiving help and support from others and the work doesn’t seem so hard. Let me share some examples of what I mean by 'tuning in':
- Do what you feel like doing – I’ve started to discover that the more I listen to myself the better I feel and the easier my life gets. If I feel like sleeping, I sleep. If I feel like cleaning, I clean. If I feeling like doing a particular task for work, I do that. Don’t get me wrong, I still get stuff done and there are still things that I 'have to' do at certain times, like cooking or work, but whenever I can use some freedom, I tend to choose what I want to do first. That way, I manage my energy better and really don’t feel exhausted all the time. I still have a to-do list (I love lists!) but I always ask myself Which point from my list do I want to do now? Even when we work or have children (maybe except newborns), we always have a choice. And sometimes we can even say F*** it, I’m not doing it today/at all and it’s OK to that as well. I’ve never heard of anyone saying on their death-bed I wish I cleaned more…
- Know what you can do – Contrary to my long-term belief, I am not able to control everything. Things happen in life that I didn’t plan or didn’t expect and the unknown was always my biggest source of fear. When we were moving to Mauritius, I was worrying so much that I won’t get my initial, 3 months tourist visa and will be sent back to Germany, that I couldn’t sleep at night. Until one night it dawned on me: I can do only, what I can do. The trick was to find out what exactly I can do, i.e. what are the visa regulations in detail, make sure all my documents are ready and… hope for the best. Once I did my part, there was nothing else I could do. If the emigration officer decides I look suspicious, he’ll send me back anyway. So I delegated this part to the Universe: I would love to live in Mauritius, I did my part, please help me with the rest! And it worked.
- You can’t control other people – If the train is late, if there was an accident on M25, if the plumber didn’t come on time… Well, there isn’t really much we can do. And the most difficult thing is to accept it. We fight it, we swear, we get angry, we shout at the conductor, we post pissed off comments on Facebook… And it doesn’t really help, apart from making others' lives as miserable as our current experience. As soon as we accept the fact that we can’t control things or other people, all the steam is coming out of us.
- Get some rest – There is a story attributed to Mahatma Gandhi (although some people say it’s just an old Buddhist proverb) that says: “You should sit in meditation for twenty minutes every day — unless you’re too busy. Then you should sit for an hour”. I can’t mediate but I am a big fun of relaxing. It is really crucial to plan rest time in our schedule. If we sleep, drink eat and rest enough, we really have more energy. It’s that simple. And when we have the energy, we’ll get things done quicker and it will be more enjoyable.
- Ask for help – Sometimes there is no point in learning how to use Photoshop and spending 30 hours googling how to do something if you only have 3 photos to edit. There are people around you, who will do it faster, with pleasure and often for free! Same with house work. A friend of mine is an English teacher and after work she gives private English lessons. She also doesn’t like cleaning – who does?! She figured out that if she does 1 more private lesson a week, just from this 1 hour, she will earn enough to pay a cleaner for 2.5h work, basically to clean the whole house! And she did it! My friend did what she was good at – English and the cleaning got done! Not to mention that she saved loads of energy and could spend the spare time with her kids. Nobody is a lonely island and we all have mothers, sisters, partners, neighbors that are around us and they can help on the days that we really have enough. Don’t be afraid to ask.
- Ask the Higher Power – Regardless if you believe in God, Allah, Mother Nature or the Universe, it’s good to know, and feel, that somebody has your back, that you are not on your own with life problems. So don’t be afraid to 'use' this power. I strongly believe that 'they' are here to help us, to make our life easier. Starting from little things, like asking for a short queue at the supermarket or a free parking space, finding a perfect dress easily or the rain to stop when we take kids to school. My grandmother used to ask St Anthony for help whenever she lost something and it worked every time. Maybe ask for a great job offer to come to you or for your mother-in-law to chill out a bit? And maybe, just maybe, things will come to you? Why not to ask? We have nothing to lose.
When I have some rest between tasks, do things when I have the right energy for them and focus on what is in my power, not only I get things done but 'the doing' doesn’t feel like hard work. I feel definitely less frustrated and exhausted at the end of the day. If I do my part and ask for what I can’t do to come to me, I, ironically, feel more in control. I really encourage you to try and do what you feel like doing, go to the beach… You never know what’s gonna happen!