Have you ever found yourself wishing you had a formula for what to do or say in a situation? You could be thinking, “I wish I knew what to do... I just want to know how I should respond... I need someone to tell me what to do.”
I recall many meetings where I sat anxious and heart racing trying to play out what was going to unfold in front of me so that I could be prepared. I was working so hard to prepare for potential scenarios that I often missed the queues right in front of me to guide my behavior and actions. I was trying too hard to be what I thought I was suppose to be instead of being who I truly was.
Excluding emergency situations that require someone with specialized skills to make a decision and provide direction, most of us encounter everyday interactions that leave us perplexed about how we should respond. We think there is a particular answer or solution that we just don’t know, but someone else does. The truth is, we are all navigating every moment, and every moment is different from the last, so “knowing what to do or say” would assume that there is a predetermined set of instructions that you can apply to any scenario. If you were to walk into a room you had been in several times before, with the same people, and started to follow your “instructions”, you would miss 90% of what was happening and your response would not align with the situation. Focusing on “knowing” what to do and say takes your attention away from the truth that is right in front of you. The plan you are conjuring up in your head diverts your energy away from being your authentic self and taking authentic action.
In those moments of uncertainty, settling into and demonstrating the qualities that make you who you are can create the space needed for you to clearly see what is next. Maybe your innate qualities include being creative, bold, dedicated and nurturing. In any uncertain moment, settling into being one of your qualities, like dedicated, supports you to see what is next.
Our unique qualities are always accessible and harnessing them doesn’t take planning and calculating. It just requires presence and a shift in focus. Next time you find yourself in a quandary about what to do next, try tuning into one or two qualities and be them.