The conventional viewpoint is the path to accomplishment and achievement is the result of consistently doing many things right. True enough, success is the result of productive actions–eventually. However, getting there (where ever that is for you) is not always a nice straight line. The road to any accomplishment can have many detours and side trips. After a period of time, and experiencing no results, it gets more palpable to believe you might be wasting your time and resources barking up the wrong tree or digging holes for gold in the wrong places.
How do you know what activities are on course or off course toward your goal of accomplishment? You don’t know and you can’t know. And that’s where your intuition comes into play–the part of you that knows the unknowable yet trusts the process anyway. Maybe no action at all is the effective thing to do.
Let’s put this idea of “no action” into a business context by sharing a story with you that illustrates what we’re talking about here. Recently, a management consultant colleague of mine was sharing with me the severe downturn in his business when he really wasn’t sure where his next client was coming from. Here’s the story:
“In the fall of 2008 everything on my calendar cancelled as the world went into financial panic. After about 15 minutes of, “Oh shit…!!” and thinking I needed to hustle up some work, I realized that I really wasn’t enthused about that and didn’t find the energy to do that day to day. So, I centered myself and asked, “What if this is for me?”
Somewhere in the panic of not having control over his future by not knowing where his next gig was coming from, he stopped and listened to his inner voice asking the question:
“What if this is for me?”
He went on to share that because he had the available time, why not get into a few projects that were an important part of his future but not directly related to finding a new client. One of those projects was writing a book (no small under-taking)! He continues his story:
“The process of writing my book has lead to all kinds of opportunities I would have never thought of. And the biggest amount of work with a client company I’ve had to date showed up. I just successfully negotiated by far the largest contract of my career. I believe that happened because I let go of any need to hustle up work. I let go of any need to push to make some money (at least for a while). I didn’t really set out to let go of working for money, it just sort of happened as I put my full energy into the book”.
Think about that for a minute. Here’s a person who needs clients and cash flow. By any measure the “right” thing to do was put more energy into selling a new client. Instead, following his intuition (which had other plans), led him to put the focus on something completely unrelated to selling in new business.
As a result of stepping back and taking no action on the reasonable course– my colleague secured the largest contract of his consulting career!
Note to self: chill, relax, be open, think bigger! Here’s the “aha moment” and take away experience my colleague shared with me:
“Once again I was reminded, and validated, that this is a benevolent universe designed to work. What I need to do is show up, recognize what shows up, cooperate and participate with that, let it go when it’s time and repeat the process.
The timing hasn’t necessarily been mine. But time and again I’ve seen (usually in hindsight) that the timing and outcome was much better than had it gone “my way”. This process has required huge amounts of trust and faith, but after a number of outcomes that justified the trust and faith, I can now say that I moved into a knowing (beyond trust and faith). I may not always be in the knowing but I will never forget that there is such a place and I’ve experienced it”
Next time you’re thinking about making the right moves doing things “your way” to solve a particular business challenge, step back, do nothing, listen to your intuition ask you the all important question:
“What if this (circumstance) is for me?”