Do You Have To Know?
The Question was the Reminder
I often joke that Letting Go has been one of my lifelong lessons. I say this with self-compassion and a colorful, true-story collection of Letting Go mishaps and victories. I continue to practice the artful balance of control and letting go. Over the years, I've become more comfortable with change. I've learned to trust and even to enjoy many of life's question marks.
Yet I still need the occasional reminder. And that's where my good friend and fellow coach Jill Berquist comes in. A few weeks ago, we had a conversation about what is on the horizon for each of us this year. In my field of vision are: coaching assignments with new organizations, a book project, my husband's transition to retirement, increased travel, and various family events on the calendar.
After relaying my enthusiasm for a new chapter in my life, I commented with a bit of hesitation that I'm not sure how certain aspects will unfold. To which Jill asked in her gentle and spot-on way: Do you have to know?
Her question was my reminder to exhale, let go, and trust: No, I do not need to know.
What Cannot Be Known
Midway through our first coaching conversation, my new client, Emma1, expressed relief. The stress of trying to figure out her next career move had her feeling paralyzed and discouraged.
I told Emma what I've observed over 15 years of coaching: that the name of the game is to become clear enough to move in a certain direction. The exact outcome cannot be known. It's a matter of identifying opportunities that are intriguing enough to investigate and activities that are worthy of your time. Then one thing leads to another and the path to take becomes evident.
Viewing it this way lightened things up for Emma so that she was able to take specific steps that week, including one particularly bold move.
What I seek for my clients is what I seek for myself: to trust what is clear and be comfortable with - that is, to also trust - what cannot be known. This type of clarity both calms and emboldens. It brings out courage, guides decisions, and is highly correlated with experiencing joy. Plus, the good thing about that unknown piece is it keeps us limber, attuned, alert, listening, and cooperative.
Exactly How It Will Look is TBD
It is the interplay of the known and unknown that makes life interesting. We cannot know when and whether we will fail, be disappointed, feel hurt, or experience loss. Nor can we envision just how far our dreams and efforts may take us. What we can be sure of is our capacity to receive support, strengthen our faith, find a way through, and, regardless of outcome, to be grateful and experience joy.
At the beginning of this year, I took down an old vision board even though a lot of it still resonated with me. In its place I created a vision wall with just a few elements. It is my way of welcoming those unknown parts of the next chapter and it feels expansive and freeing.
I also added Que Sera, Sera to my playlist. It reminds me of how I answered Jill's question.
This Week's Call To Action:
- If you need a bit of clarity, do this writing exercise: Of This I Am Sure.
- Create a snapshot of the year ahead: How The Seasons Might Look. The spirit of this (and why I added the word "Might" in the title) is to see the year as fluid, even as you are planning. What is in view? What is not yet known?
You've imagined. You've planned as far as you can see. Now, step out. Do the work in front of you with clarity of mind and joy in your heart.
Let go of having to know.
Exactly how it will look is TBD.
See you in the current,
1 Name changed for privacy.
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