It’s been a month…30 days since I’ve gone to work…whoa! Not gonna lie, the first two weeks were rough. I woke up nearly every morning thinking “What the hell have I done?!?” But then I remembered how much planning and visualizing went into making this happen. The fact that I could see it so clearly before turning in my notice was a sure indicator that it was what I was supposed to do. I hadn’t had any doubts before so why doubt myself after the fact?!? Those doubts were my ego…not me.
I was reminded of the power of visualizations right before I left for Key West. I was having dinner with one of my good friends and she shared some personal struggles she was dealing with. Despite the trouble, she confessed that she couldn’t see her life going in any other direction. She could only visualize it on the path that she was on. She didn’t say this from a place of fear or resignation so much as a statement of fact. Her mind…or heart…or intuition just wouldn’t allow her see other options. I told her I thought this was a great thing! Here’s why….
Our brains are great at making up stories and our ego is even better at making up worst case scenario stories because it thrives on fear. You know the process — a question pops into your head and all the sudden you’ve fallen down a rabbit hole of despair with every worst case scenario running through your head at lightning fast speed. That’s the ego. It’s not all bad…it can keep us on our toes…safe…and prepared. But if you listen solely to it, you’re in for a rough ride. But when we are dialed into our intuition via the body — meaning we learn how to feel our way through things and we pay attention to what we feel as we process situations — our mind can be a vehicle to help us clearly see where we should be headed. Here are a couple of examples….
When I was kicking around leaving my job, I spent a lot of time considering the options. It was more than weighing the pros and cons or making a list, it was trying to visualize the different options available to me. For example, I tried to imagine myself working for a different company….nope, couldn’t do it. I tried to imagine myself working in a different department at my company….nope, couldn’t do it. I tried to visualize staying…nope, couldn’t do it.
Then I tried to visualize walking away…retiring…taking a year or so off to make myself a priority and start a whole new life….yes, I could see it. I let the daydream wash over me and I sat with it to see how I felt as I imagined walking away from my career. It never felt bad. And the more I thought about it and did this exercise, the more convinced I was that it was the right decision. When I finally said the words out loud to a couple of friends….it felt fantastic! Don’t get me wrong, I was terrified…but not in a bad way. In a, “Holy shit I’m going to do this and it’s going to be amazing but I can’t believe that I’m really going to do it….I can’t wait!” way.
With that decided, I had to figure out how I was going to tell my boss – Mr. Bossman. That seemed more complicated than the decision to leave. We had worked together for 14 years and were more than co-workers, we were friends and I knew I was going to be letting him down. So I wanted to tell him in a way that showed respect for him as my boss but also as my friend. I owed it to both of us to handle the situation with grace.
My life coach and nearly every other professional that had ever left a job that I consulted for advice all said the same thing, “Don’t give your notice until your bonus is in the bank or you’ll lose it.” After hearing it from enough people, I started to buy into the potential of getting screwed out of the bonus that I’d worked so hard to earn. So I was left with trying to juggle telling Mr. Bossman AFTER my bonus cleared which wasn’t ideal because we were going to be together the entire week prior.
Every time I tried to picture talking to him at the end of the week…after sitting in meetings with him for 5 days…I couldn’t get past “Mr. Bossman, got a second to talk?” That’s it. That’s all I could do. I couldn’t wrap my mind around what to say nor how. So I sat with this for a couple of weeks…trying to make the conversation happen in my head…and then one day I let myself consider telling him at the beginning of the week, before the bonus hit my account. I could see the whole thing. I knew what I wanted to say. I could see the different ways he might respond and my reaction to each. I could see it and I knew that’s how I needed to handle it. I also knew that because I was doing the right thing, my bonus would be ok…and it was. In fact, the entire situation went so much better than I could have ever dreamed. (And I can’t thank Mr. Bossman enough for that.)
Next was India….my life coach told me to start visualization exercises about two months prior to the trip. She wanted me to picture the trip…the experiences…how I would feel. I tried…nothing. I chalked it up to the fact that I’d never been there so I didn’t know what to expect. Then I said I didn’t want to go in with any expectations so as not to be disappointed. The problem wasn’t with the exercise or how I wanted to perceive the experience, the problem was that I couldn’t imagine it. I’ve seen enough movies about India to be able to imagine what it might be like, but oh no…my mind wasn’t having any part of it. Looking back, I think it was because intuitively I knew the trip wasn’t going to happen so I couldn’t see it happening.
I have other examples but I don’t need to belabor the point. As important as it is to visualize situations, it’s just as — if not more — important to take note when you can’t visualize a situation. And then to take the time to ask “Why?“….and to try to visualize other options or considerations. I’m a firm believer that if you can’t see it…if you can’t dream it…it’s not meant to be. There’s just as much to learn from what we can’t imagine as there is from what we can. I’m taking note of both to help guide me through the next 335 days…and beyond.
Try it…I’d love to hear about your experience. Happy dreaming!