100% Responsibility: It’s Up to You, and It’s Not on You

Baby with mirror meeting itselfI’m participating in Michael Neill’s 90-day Creating the Impossible program, which has recently been released in book form. Some other time I may share what a hoot it is that I would do this. The very name of the program would have once given me hives.

But I digress.

This week, Michael asked us to reflect on how much responsibility and control we have for creating our impossible projects. Another way of saying this is, “What percent is up to me, and what percent of accomplishing my impossible goal is up to Mind/Life/God/The Universe?”

I landed, to my surprise, on 100% up to me and 100% up to the Universe. And 50/50 is not the same thing as 100/100.

  • It’s not up to me to make the right choices (even as to my goal). How could I know? Nor is it up to me how my actions work out. How could I know?
  • It is 100% up to me to choose and act (or not) moment by moment, day by day.
  • It is 100% up to Mind/Life/God/The Universe to generate or give rise to the possibility of choice and action.
  • For all I know it is 100% to Mind/Life/God/The Universe to move me to choose or act and make it look like I moved.
  • And it is still 100% up to me.

100% responsibility is the essence of freedom. Who knew?

I’ve never before seen 100% responsibility as so fundamentally freeing. I can (100% of the time) show up for this goal or not. What showing up for this goal looks like will vary, and it may include times of inaction. It’s always up to me (innocently) as the local agent of Mind. I can do a crap job of it, and it’s up to me. I can do a great job of it, and it’s up to me. Oddly, it’s not up to me to know what is going to make the difference between a crap job and a great job (how would I know in the scheme of things?). And it’s still up to me.

For the first time in my life I see “up to me” as the simple fact of the matter and not the basis for an indictment or praise. I’m the hands, the eyes, the voice; it’s up to me, and that includes choosing to still my hands, look away, and be silent.

Click here to learn more about my impossible project, making the Three Principles the foundation of the International Coach Federation (ICF) definition of coaching and Core Coaching Competencies.

Click here to learn more and purchase Michael’s book, Creating the Impossible.

Dancing with impossiblityy

chalkboard heart impossibleMy current definition of coaching is “meeting clients at the interface between formlessness and form for the sake of creating something marvelous.”  Michael Neill is especially skilled at pointing to and working at this interface, which is why he’ll be my guest next week for the Wholeness Hangout to talk about his latest book, Creating the Impossible. 

My own relationship with the idea of creating the impossible has been bumpy. As an artist and a coach–heck, as a human being–I have had myriad thrilling experiences and insights into the mystery and actuality of creating at and beyond the edge of possibility. I’ve also seen (and indulged in) a good deal of BS around the topic. I get prickly about magical thinking and the suggestion that we get to boss the Universe around.

What Michael is up to is grounded, deep, funny, and fun. I find his perspective on creating the impossible thrilling, challenging, and immensely worthwhile.

I hope you’ll join us with your questions, insights, and dreams via Zoom on Thursday, February 1, 2018, at 10 AM Pacific time. Wholeness Hangouts are always free, you don’t even have to sign up. Click here to join us. 

Michael Neill bestselling author of The Inside Out Revolution

Can you have a quiet mind even when you’re really busy?

Most of us live in the illusion that it’s difficult to have a quiet mind if you are really busy. We have grown accustomed to the idea that busy-mindedness is a natural consequence of being busy. There is an implicit assumption that some amount of stress, pressure, and tension simply go with the territory of having a lot to do.

Well, it ain’t necessarily so. There is no inherent stress, tension, or pressure in having a lot to do. The stress, pressure, and tension come 100% from Thought, not from circumstances.

Given that many of us live in a culture of busy-mindedness and are steeped in the habit of expecting a busy mind to go with a busy life, it is natural that we would fall for the illusion that the stress, tension, and pressure are coming from the outside. But they just aren’t.

You can “do busy” without being busy-minded

Most of us live in the illusion that it’s difficult to have a quiet mind if you are really busy. We have grown accustomed to the idea that busy-mindedness is a natural consequence of being busy. There is an implicit assumption that some amount of stress, pressure, and tension simply go with the territory of having a lot to do.

But stress and busy-mindedness don’t come from having a lot to do

Stress, tension, and pressure are not an inevitable product of having a lot to do. The stress, pressure, and tension that we feel, when we feel them, come 100% from Thought, not from circumstances.

You can test this for yourself

Most of us can readily think of times when it seemed like stress was coming to us courtesy of our circumstances. Yet when my clients give themselves space to reflect, they invariably find instances when they were extremely productive and juggling multiple calls on their time and attention without being busy-minded.

That couldn’t ever happen if stress was actually inherent in certain situations, experiences, or circumstances.

It’s easy to overlook

We may overlook the absence of stress for the simple reason that we aren’t wired to notice what isn’t there. Yet the more you reflect, the more you are likely to observe multiple times each week when you handle what is right in front of you in the moment without being preoccupied by all the other possible things you might be doing, have just done, or could be doing next.

Play with it

Play with it. See if you can recall times when you have had a quiet mind even though you have had a lot to do. Then see if you can remember times when you have had a busy mind with lots of stress and tension even though you didn’t necessarily have a lot to do. (Don’t get me started!)

Then tell me what you observe. As always I welcome your comments, questions, and push back. If this has been helpful, please share it with friends and colleagues.

If you’d like to do more with less busy-mindedness, check out The Art of Living

The Art of Living is a 12-week encounter with the possibility of high engagement and low stress. In a small group (maximum 12), we will tap the deeper intelligence available to every human being, an intelligence that will guide you in the creation of what you want in life, whether you think it is possible at the outset or not.

Starts November 9, 2017Click here for details.

 

Overwhelm is optional (really!)

Overwhelm is optional—really

If a surfer riding the crest of a wave obsesses about the last six waves or the next six waves, she’s certain to wipe out.

Yet human beings do this all the time when we (yes, me too!) innocently generate overwhelm.

The illusion of overwhelm

Most of us live in the illusion that overwhelm comes from overwhelming circumstances. We think that our jammed mental circuits, tight shoulders, irritability, and confusion are inevitable and natural consequences of the situations we face.

But that’s just not so.

Overwhelm comes to us courtesy of thought, not the world

Overwhelm is the product of overwhelming thought, not overwhelming circumstances.

Consider surfing.

If overwhelm were the natural byproduct of circumstances, every surfer would be utterly and completely freaked out by the ocean all the time.

I mean really, what’s more freaking overwhelming than the ocean and wind?

Successful surfers only focus on one wave at a time

A surfer who succeeds isn’t thinking about yesterday’s waves or tomorrow’s weather. She succeeds and improves to the extent that she pays attention right here, right now, and allows herself to be educated by the experience.

The surfer who stays in the moment learns naturally and organically on multiple levels as she gains experience. If she overanalyzes that experience, she’s going to gum up the works, stop learning, and perform poorly. (In golf this is known as the yips.)

Overwhelm arises from using the small personal mind to do a job it isn’t designed to do

Overwhelm arises when we try to think our way through situations that we are designed to live our way through.

When we live in the moment, life educates us in exactly the ways we require to meet whatever life is serving up. Like babies learning to walk and talk, life invites us to whole body, whole mind, whole spirit learning.

So long as we come back to the wave we are on right now.

Talk back

Play with this. Reflect on your experience. Where do you notice you or someone around you learning and growing organically? And where do you see you or someone else gum up the works by trying too hard or getting hung up on the past or the future? Play with the possibility that you are designed to do life with less mental effort than you may think.

Let me know what you notice in the comments at the bottom of this page, or email me.

Check out The Art of Living

How would it be to really see that you are perfectly designed to do life? If that sounds good, check out The Art of Living. It’s starts November 9, and three of 12 places are already spoken for.

How to clear a mental logjam

When we don’t know what to do it is easy to get caught up in a mental logjam. The harder we think and the more things we come up with, the worse it gets. What’s happening is that we’re trying to shift gears without going into neutral. The remedy is to see what we’re doing, stop grinding, and allow the choice of what gear to try next to arise from a neutral place.

Would you like to see even more clearly how to get clear of mental logjams and shift into a meaningful, productive, and joyful gear? Check out The Art of Living: Creating Magic and Meaning in Life and Work. Starts July 5.

There’s genius lurking underneath your thoughts about how you are doing

The synopsis: There are times in life when we’re doing just fine, even spectacularly, but for our confused thinking about how we are doing. Rather than trying to do better, we can drop our story about how we’re doing and discover the natural genius that’s already at work.

Approximate transcript: I was working with another coach a bit earlier today, mentoring her towards her ICF certification credential, and we were talking about listening, and questions, and how to let go of being in the driver’s seat all the time as a coach. And she made a remark that sometimes that feels so clumsy, that if we really get out of the driver’s seat and listen, as one of my mentors, Linda Pransky says, with nothing on our mind, it can feel like we’re losing the thread, like we don’t know what’s going on. Not sure what we’re talking about, not sure what to ask next. And there’s a sense of disorientation and confusion about that.

And for me that’s the sweet spot. When I feel a little disoriented, a little lost in a coaching conversation, I know I’m in the right place.

And I was reflecting on this, a memory came to mind. Some years back I was involved in masters swimming, which doesn’t mean you’re a great swimmer, it means you’re an old swimmer. (Some people who are masters swimmers are also great swimmers, I was just an old swimmer.)

But anyway, we were working on backstrokes. And I love the backstroke. But I always had the feeling that my backstroke was really klutzy, clumsy, inefficient. I felt like I was moving a lot of body and not much water, that I was flailing.

So our coach had an underwater video camera one night, and I said “Would you film me doing the backstroke and give me some feedback?” So I did my usual backstroke, flailing, or so it seemed to me, down the pool.

I get to the other end, I get out, and I talk to her, and she says “You know, you might have one of the best natural backstrokes I’ve ever seen.”

What? And in that moment I didn’t learn a new way to do a backstroke, I unlearned how I was labeling my perfect way of doing the backstroke.​​​​​​​
And the same thing can happen to any of us at any moment. We feel like we’re flailing in life, we feel like we’re lost and confused. And it’s possible we’re doing a perfectly good natural backstroke, and that the only thing that is keeping us from enjoying the experience, from seeing what’s possible, from hearing the insights that’s bubbling up, or as coaches from noticing the question that wants to be asked, is that we’re thinking about it a lot instead of just being with it.

So, that’s my offer for you this week. Where in life are you doing a perfectly good natural backstroke, but thinking about it so much that it’s taking you out of your sweet spot? Where in life can you simply drop your thinking about how you’re doing, and discover that you’re doing spectacularly well? I’d love to hear from you.

Pin It on Pinterest