I am a planner by nature. I carefully craft various “To Do” lists, set short-term and long-term goals, and dream big dreams, and I work hard to check things off of my lists, reach my goals, and make my dreams realities. Sometimes, the process from start to finish goes quickly and smoothly, while other times, the process takes unexpected detours and moves along at a snail’s pace. While I definitely prefer the former, lately, I have been trapped in the latter. Yesterday, though, I began the process of escaping from the trap.
As I sipped hot green tea in the cozy kitchen of my friend and mentor, Trude, I found myself the recipient of more than just her hospitality. She served up a heaping helping of sound advice that I eagerly devoured. As we caught up with one another about the respective triumphs and challenges in our personal and professional lives, I shared my frustration and doubts about my ability to create the life I have envisioned in my heart and mind. Trude patiently listened to what is a familiar lament of mine, before she shared an acronym that threw a wrench into the wheels that turn at warp speed in my head.
NATO. Yes, NATO. No, not the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. What Trude referenced was simple, yet anything but simple, at least for me. No Attachment To Outcomes. At first, this acronym was an affront to the meticulous planner in me. In the silence of my mind, I screamed, “No attachment to outcomes?! What’s the point then?! It’s all about the results!” Right?! Wrong.
As we discussed setting goals and intentions, taking the necessary steps to realize them, and then, letting go of the outcomes, I found myself wanting to eschew her advice initially. Fortunately, I knew better than to do that, as Trude is a wise soul. I gradually began to understand that letting go of the outcome is not the same as giving up, behaving passively, being lazy, or any of the other excuses I had been telling myself. Letting go of the death grip I have on outcomes actually means that I continue to do what I need to do to work toward my goals from a positive place of trust and faith, instead of a negative place of fear and anxiety. The outcome may be exactly what I envisioned, or it may be altogether different. Either way is okay, if I let go of my expectations and accept the outcome as is.
I still am processing this and figuring out how to inject the NATO concept into my daily intentions, but Trude’s words definitely spoke to me. Loudly. Too often, when I am working toward something, I end up emotionally and/or physically depleted by the time I reach the end result, because I have exhausted myself trying to control every aspect of the realization of the goal. Doing so doesn’t help me realize my dreams any sooner or any easier, and at times, this vise on my dreams has caused me to miss out on better opportunities and delayed my progress. Without meaning to, I got in my own way. Now, it is time to get out of my way and to allow life to unfold, knowing it will be okay, as will I.
So, as I continue to head off in the direction of my dreams, I do so being mindful that things may not end up the way I planned, but they will end up exactly as they should be. They may even end up far better and grander than I ever thought possible I am working on truly believing this, as it definitely sounds nice.
Just one thing each day . . .
Categories: Just One Thing Each Day