Generally, the people who come to me for coaching or who venture into A Wild New Work are looking for help with the future. They wonder what they'll do for work, how they'll make a living doing what they enjoy, or how they'll get unstuck from office politics.
They wonder what will happen, which is a fair question when you're not comfortable with what is happening.
I love the future. I could live my entire life there, imagining possibilities, wishing for this that and the other, creating plans and spreadsheets, on and on.
The tricky thing is, fixating on the future makes it that much more elusive because it robs us of the energy to do something to create that future. We imagine and pine for the life we want and in the meantime, neglect the steps that could actually take us there.
The other week in one of my daily meditations, I tried an exercise I heard about on a podcast with Jess Lively. You write a question down and then wait for your intuition to answer, which you also write down. It's like you're taking notes for a conversation between your mind and your intuition.
This particular morning, I woke up feeling anxious about work, which I know is a total waste of time, but I'm human, and it happens. In my meditation, my mind kept going to the future, worrying about how I'd do this, how I'd make that happen, etc.
So I asked my intuition:
What can I do today to help make my business thrive?
Here's the answer I got:
Be present with every client today. Love them. Let go of the need to fix things.
Be where you are.
You see, I was freaking out about the future despite the fact that I had a full day of client work to look forward to, in a new office that I loved, with women who are brave and a lot of fun to be around.
My business was thriving, but my ego and my lizard brain were going berserk. My intuition showed up to help me re-align with the kind of person I want to be in the world.
You know what could really cause my business to un-thrive? Worrying about how to get more clients in the future and being blind to the people who were already showing up, doing the work, and giving me the opportunity to support them - right now.
What I keep learning, and what I share with the people on this path with me, is that the magic is right here.
All we can really do to create a future that we'll love is to love this present moment - to be here now, to accept what's happening, and to take the next, most open-hearted step forward.
Imagining the future you want to create is a lot of fun, and a worthwhile exercise for sure - it's something I do with everyone I see for coaching. But it has to be balanced by presence.
We can't neglect the gifts right in front of us and think more of them will just show up on command. We build a life - and a career - we love by honoring the gifts that are here now, by being present with the people in our lives, and by letting go of the need to figure it all out.
This is much easier said than done, of course, but I know we can all exercise this muscle.
Let's say you work with someone who drives you absolutely nuts - someone who gets under your skin every day. Your modus operandi thus far has been to resist them: to avoid interactions, to push back, and to complain about them to anyone who will listen. You think, "If they would just leave the company, my life would be so much better."
Can you be where you are with this person? Can you accept that no matter what the future holds, you're tasked to work with them right now? Can you let go of the need to fix things with them and just allow yourself a deep breath?
Can you ask yourself, "What is the next most loving step - loving to myself and to this other person - that I can take in this moment?"
How does that change things?
Is it possible that by staying present and focused on the next best step, you're actually already transforming your relationship with this person into something more positive?
This practice could be applied to any situation at work - a desire to leave, an urge to figure out what your career will look like in five years, or anxiety about an upcoming performance review.
We're simply being asked to be where we are; then, when we're present, to take the most loving step forward.
It can be that simple if we'll let it be.