On the weekend I was doing a jigsaw puzzle with my daughter and husband. Each of us had such a different approach to the puzzle.
My daughter would spend a bit of time on one section, then get bored and walk away, play with other things, and then come back for a bit and then leave again.
My husband sat down with one section of the puzzle and did not leave that section until it was complete.
I, on the other hand, worked on a section of the puzzle until I’d notice that I wasn’t making any more progress and then I’d jump to another part of the puzzle and work on that. When I felt myself pushing in one area, I would stop, take a break, and work on a different piece of the puzzle.
This is exactly the way I run my business. I work on one section of my business up until it feels like hard work or I’m not making any progress, and then I open to what else is available to me to work on right now. I then go over and work on that part of the business.
This keeps me in flow and makes business building feel so much more effortless than it otherwise might.
To do this well though, you need to have a good level of trust that your efforts in different areas will eventually come together as a whole.
You also need to stay focused on where the flow is, following your intuition to know where to focus your attention at any particular point in time. This is the way of the feminine. She doesn’t always show you all the pieces of the puzzle at once. (In fact she rarely does.) What she does do is invite you to focus on something over here and then focus on something over there, trusting that there’s a picture being created.
So, what’s your approach?
You might think about the way you do puzzles, or tackle any project at all, be it gardening or getting fit or taking a yoga class. The way you approach that will tell you so much about your natural approach to business building (thanks to the trusty principle that the way we do one thing is the way we do everything.)
And if you’re not happy with your approach, what do you need to do to change?
Going back to jigsaws for just a moment… As a child I’d start a puzzle with enthusiasm and very quickly get frustrated and bored because I couldn’t find the pieces I was looking for and it would all take so much longer than I thought it was going to. Eventually I’d give up and abandon the puzzle entirely because it felt too hard for me.
If I hadn’t changed my behaviour over time, here’s how that’d play out in my business; instead of noticing my frustration with what I’m working on, and choosing to work on another part of the business that is in flow, I’d just abandon the business altogether. I’d walk away and look for something easier.
I don’t do that anymore though. What I do now, is I stay at the puzzle. There’s never a question that I won’t work on the puzzle. The question is merely, which section of the puzzle will I work on today?
The challenging points in our business life tell us what kind of business we’re going to end up having built. The way we approach those challenges shows us whether we’re going to walk away from our businesses or whether we’re going to choose another approach.
Perhaps you’ll just force yourself to persist like my husband did with the puzzle. Or perhaps you’ll adopt an approach like mine and look for flow within the context of the puzzle itself. Or perhaps you’ll be like I was as a child and you’ll give up in frustration.
The way I shifted from one to the other was that I spent a lot of time investigating why I kept walking away from things that felt too hard. What I found was that I was really uncomfortable sitting with the anxiety of things not playing out immediately in the way I expected them to. So learning to sit with the discomfort and clearing out what had put that discomfort there in the first place – uncovering the stories I was telling myself that were causing the anxiety and discomfort – allowed me to come back to the jigsaw and be much more at ease with how it’s playing itself out.
So that’s the invitation today. What do you do in your moments of discomfort? Do you abandon ship, do you doggedly persist, or do you look for flow?
This is precisely what you want to be focusing on if you want to create any sort of change in your life. In fact, it’s the only way to create change that’s sustainable.
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