Last night I had an experience that was really powerful in understanding myself and the process of letting go. You see, my series of posts, the “Get Unstuck Principles,” are all based on personal experience. I am writing from my own life’s experiences as I do in leading my clients. I want to have integrity with you, my reader, by saying my truth. So it is personal, and quite emotional at times, when I share the following with you. The one admonition I get over and over again by my friends and colleagues (and the closer the friend the harder the language!) that I have to learn to let go of things.
There are times when my head is like a dollar bill wind chamber. I am referring to those phone booth looking things at carnivals, where a person enters, and is told he or she can have all the cash that can be caught while the money is blown like a tornado around the booth. My mind is like that chamber at times and thoughts like the dollar bills. I get stuck in a vicious circle, trying to catch as many of the dollar bills, or thoughts/problems, at once so I can have control. It never works. Instead, I am never present in the moment. I miss opportunities to connect with friends, to laugh, to play, as well as opportunities to move on with something and advance my career, my quality of life.
Last night I did something that worked. The odd thing is that it was a simple action that I teach my clients! To be fair to myself, I was creative last night and with a last minute inspiration tried unique variation this time.
I am a proponent of the personal productivity process called “GTD.” You can learn about it at gettingthingsdome.com, or by the classic, Getting Things Done, by David Allen. In GTD, the idea is to be more productive by getting things out of our head, and into a system. Then you follow the system. It has worked famously with several of my clients, and I use it pretty consistently. Every time something comes to mind, I write it down as an action to be performed. When it comes time for the next “to do” I do what I can in 2 minutes or less and move on. Projects are collections of tasks that require more than one action to complete. The actions in a project are no different from other actions. Performing an action attached to a project brings the project closer to conclusion. I dedicate time towards projects because they are usually connected to revenue (business). Therefore, some actions are delegated to projects.
Last night I sat down, overwhelmed and “stuck” in a pattern of overthinking and worrying. I took control and told myself that I was going to learn to let go of these things that are out of my control, and deal with them so that I can sleep in peace. So I decided to write them down as simple actions. But the epiphany came afterwards. I incorporated the actions into my system by creating a project labelled, “Contain Issues.” Using the system I use everyday, I created a project that is an action statement and put those worries in it as actions. As soon as I did that all the stress in my body started to leave my body. Within minutes I was at peace. And I slept like a baby. Not once did I wake up in the night worrying about paying taxes, replacing catalytic converters, taking a weekend trip.
Now I am committed to dealing with these issues, but when I can deal with them. No longer are they in my head controlling me. I successfully used my experience to create a place for them in my system. I took action and created a container for my worries outside of myself. I am accountable to handle the issues but because they are now in my system, I can deal with them at the appropriate time. My system can do the spinning for me and I can now live my life more fully and with awareness.
Get Unstuck Principle No. 5: Let Go & Live