We often believe that is important to be productive and doing something all the time with our life. Keep yourself busy, fill up your 'to do list', start yet another project, and even make sure the kids are occupied at all times.
I've gone through times of intensity when going to business school while working full-time, and now when I am building my business and supporting my clients. New York City itself, has a strong culture of busy-ness, we either are truly, tremendously busy or we 'busy ourselves' out of habit. Sometimes I have to stop myself mid walk and say, 'Why I am I walking top-speed heading nowhere'? Sometimes it feels exhilarating, but operating this way constantly can be exhausting and I believe that we miss out on some of the magic of life. Do you ever wonder what would happen if we would just slow down and do nothing? Or just do what felt like fun?
Is busy a way to avoid ourselves, our personal work, our growth, our original ideas, our relationships, independent thinking, relaxing, or to be called as a slacker? Do we call ourselves 'lazy' if we are not doing something all the time and at the same time, telling everyone about all the stuff we have to do. Sounds crazy, but that's what most of us are doing. You sit down in your chair, but you can't just do that, you must either turn on the TV, pick up your phone, read a book, or re-write your to-do list. Sound familiar?
Over these months where I have been working hard, I suddenly realized that I hadn't had a spontaneous, creative, out of the box, moment in months. And creativity is my strong suit, my natural state. It's when I feel most free. I believe it is the natural state of human kind, somewhat 'our superpower'. I started to think back to the times that I really innovated or came up with an idea 'out of the blue' or had a nonlinear experience where I was thinking or doing something else and suddenly an idea would show up from nothing. This openness is the magic that I want to bring back to me and to my clients.
Before I get to the how to get back to your creative wisdom and spontaneity, I want to share the beginnings of my daydreaming and dillydallying. As a teenager, I was a master, as it took me so long to get ready to go somewhere. I was always late, but not from doing nothing; I was literally enjoying all that time by always doing something fun and interesting. I would spend those glorious early hours eating my breakfast slowly (I am a champion slow eater), playing loud 80s music, dancing in the living room and in the mirror, figuring out on what to wear, spacing out, re-reading notes from my friends, trying on multiple clothes, and put my makeup on expertly and slowly. What fun, it would help me start the day right! I miss that carefree, leisurely me. Please let yourself and your families enjoy these types of productive nonsense.
Now to the present. When I look back at certain, pivotal events, as an adult, I did use my fun, creative, and relaxed mind to come up with some good, life changing moves.
D&D #1: Going out to come in, to fulfill your desires.
I was so unhappy living and working in banking in Boston, so I quit cold and decided to put my things in storage and go to Europe practically alone. Over the six months that I was there, having no plan and no anchors, I enjoyed the freedom and the ability to move with my mood, desires, and interests. I traveled and spent time with other 'dreamers', so I fully felt in the flow. It was one of my most productive times of my life. I learned about myself, the world, people, and it became clear in my mind that I wanted to be more creative and move to NYC; without ever really knowing much about it, it was just a feeling. A few months later after I got back, I went to New York on a one-way train ticket with one suitcase and the promise of my cousin's couch for two weeks before he moved to LA. Under that exciting pressure, it only took me two weeks to land a contract job at A&E through a series of confident steps and serendipity. How brave was that? I'd like to sit down with that girl right now and learn from her again. What a hopeful, charming, and resourceful young woman! All of that slow time of relaxing, dreaming, exploring, and being, helped built fast, inner confidence, boldness, and knowing. Investing in experiences and wisdom will pay off.
D&D #2: Allowing for good things to come, without forcing it.
I went through a series of layoffs due to working in the dotcom industry, so I decided to get my MBA part time. Again I was out of a job and felt very nervous and insecure among all of my business school colleagues and my business school debt. I worked hard and furiously, but it was not working. Companies were not hiring, but I was causing my stress from my own pressure and expectations. Side story, for years, I would tell people that one of my biggest regrets was that I never spent a semester abroad at school or worked overseas. I thought now that moment had passed and I would never have that opportunity. I actually used to lament about it a lot as I thought that the option would never come as I was too old. One day I decided to stop stressing about money, work, my dreams, and feeling sensitive about being unemployed. I realized that it didn't feel good to keep chastising myself and I needed to relax and enjoy this time in my life. So I really let go. With all that extra time I started rollerblading more, and again I felt free and untouchable. The momentum of the skating and the wind in my hair, made me feel strong, invincible, and that all good things would happen. I literally would daydream different future scenarios. Skating fast and dreaming of the possibilities, liberated me from all that fear and shame and it was fun. Then one day, out of the blue, NYU sent us an email to apply for a semester abroad and low and behold - part-timers could go too! I was actually shocked. It all lined up; I couldn't have applied and participated if I was working full time, and I never imagined that I could go abroad as a part time student. Within months I was off to school in Italy. Bravo universe! Good things will come when you are not bearing down on it pressuring it to come true. Relax, have fun, and let the universe do its thing. You might even laugh as how it all comes together.
D&D #3: Manifesting your next step on the climb.
Most of you who have read my website know that I had a horrific fear of Public Speaking. It was holding back my life. The fact that I teach and train it today is a long story, but let's just say I overcame a huge, lifelong phobia. See my site for more information. Starting my business full time was/is not easy. In the unwavering pursuit to have my own consultancy to help people with fear, I would do anything to make money to keep me going. Trust me, this process has brought up a lot of fear, so much so that sometimes I still look at full-time jobs opportunities, but I have so far been able to resist. Early this year I was really struggling, I was just getting my feet wet and figuring out what I was doing. I was begging, stealing, and borrowing everything to keep going and not having to stop Coachable Solutions. This was my dream! One day after a long week of networking and trying to get clients, I started to lose faith. I went for a walk to wander around and clear my head and energy. Once outside I felt much better. It was freezing, so it forced me to be present minded. I remember relaxing and even laughing at something funny that happened randomly in the street. Suddenly, out of the blue, I remembered that one of my colleagues picked up an opportunity as an Adjunct Professor in Marketing. My brain screamed that I could be an Adjunct for Public Speaking somewhere. With a rush of urgency, I went back inside to my computer and literally typed 'Adjunct Professor Public Speaking' in LinkedIn and it popped up immediately. It happened so fast I thought it was a mirage, I took my glasses off and read it closely. Yes, it was a live, current job posting from a college literally blocks away from where I live. I applied, the next day got a call and on the third day, I was hired. Afterwards, I walked around in a happy state of shock. I call this phenomena 'if you can feel it then you can dream it.' Inspired by the song "I Believe I Can Fly", which I was listening to a lot to elevate my mood and open the doors to the infinite.
Now it's up to you to bring back to your creative wisdom and spontaneity, in your own special way. I often say 'go slow before you go fast' when making a decision or working on a project. The more you relax and linger before jumping in, the more you will increase your creativity and 'out of the blue' intuition. It is in this state is how I find what to do next and how to strategize, rather than just 'doing'. In this slowness, your brain will relax and insights will come literally out of nowhere. That's the knowing and wisdom that we want to tap in, not just rushing and use our analytic, thinking brain. We are all here on this earth and in our current jobs to contribute our unique gifts and talents. Why bury them completely in conventional habits and thinking?
As I wrote this article, I continuously heard Professor Hinkle's voice and his famous "Busy, Busy, Busy". I hope you click the video below and it makes you laugh and lighten up. Please don't be busy to push away the anxiety, look up and be open to the opportunities hanging the air just waiting for you. I did some daydreaming and dillydallying, and that has made all the difference.