The power of not having a plan (warning: a vulnerable share!)
So, if you know me you’ll know that I quite like to do things well. I like to have a really good plan. So when I was giving a talk in front of an audience and cameras in Los Angeles in the autumn (Fall) of last year I was all ready to re-create my experience at TEDx of preparing something fabulous, insightful and very well prepped that the audience would find inspiring, uplifting and you never know, a little bit world-changing.
If you’ve seen that TEDx talk, you will know that I used to be very afraid of public speaking. I used to keep myself well away from being seen or heard and, as a result spent many years without making the positive impact on the world that I now see to be possible. This is one of the reasons that I am now a great coach and cognitive hypnotherapist: because I understand fear and limiting beliefs deeply, but I don’t let them stand in my way and I know that you don’t have to either. Instead, I’ve learnt to feel the power of who I truly am and to lean in towards the things that scare me in order to touch the magic of life. I believe that what you can achieve in this world is incredible when you strip away the areas in which you are held back and become free to be YOU in all your glory.
The Trafic Light System for Growth
In our experience of life – what we do and how we relate – we have options of stretch. Green is easy-breezy and safe and a little boring; Amber is where the stretch lives, where we feel a little uncomfortable, where we learn and grow; Red is too much – it’s where we blow out, where everything needs to stop. No one likes red. It doesn’t feel good. I try to live in the amber zone as much as possible and I encourage my clients to as well. Sometimes my quest for growth inadvertently takes me into red and I have to pull back a bit, but amber is a great place to be. I seek amber out – and I encourage my clients to do the same. It is in moving through amber that we get to everything we could possibly want. Another way of saying it is that everything we want is on the other side of our fears.
So as I was planning this talk in LA I visited my coach and talked to him about what I would talk about. As I was speaking he got a cheeky little smile on his face and I started to hear his thoughts loudly. I knew a big amber and maybe a little bit of red was about to be thrown my way. In the way that often happens in a conversation with a coach, I could see that my world was about to be rocked – and I knew for a while that I wasn’t going to like it. I’m quite used to this feeling. You see, I am only able to be the powerful coach and therapist I am because I continue to do my own work, all the time. Coaches like to keep you in stretch. If you want to be successful you should have a coach, or a cognitive hypnotherapist, or better: both. In the world of sports they know it and wouldn’t dream of doing their thing without a coach. Regular life is just the same if you’re interested in being the best version of you, you can be.
So, “Kirsty,” he said, “your stretch isn’t in giving a polished, rehearsed talk, with a powerpoint presentation. Your stretch is showing up with NOTHING.”
My body shook. I knew he was onto something. I was in amber, touching red. This did not sound like a good plan. At least it wasn’t the comfortable plan I had all worked out.
“Your stretch,” he continued “is in having nothing prepared, nothing rehearsed, no powerpoint. Not a thing.”
I hate it when people challenge me like that because immediately I know that I’m going to do it. I used to think that ouch! was a reason to move away. Now I know that the other side of it is incredible. What we can achieve in our lives when we embrace the ouch! is wonderful. I am living proof, and so are my clients.
I moved into amber when I saw that the worst that would happen is that I would say nothing. I may be revealed as not being polished and perfect and totally in control of my experience, your experience and the whole world’s perception of me, but no-one died from saying nothing and it turns out that we don’t have control over anything at all, really, so that’s a good one to let go of too. So I reasoned that on some level, it would be ok.
So on the day, I stood up on the stage in front of the cameras and the audience with nothing, curious at what would appear. I also took it a step further and wore the clothes that I had just been on the beach in, no shoes, no makeup and hair unbrushed. I was undisguised and had no plan. I knew that the intense sensations (that could have been labeled as terror), that I was feeling in my body was to do with how I like to control your experience of me, and my experience of me, so perhaps that would be a good place to start, but aside from that I was going to just see where I went to in the time I had.
Here’s the result. Have a watch and let me know what you see, think, feel and hear.
I’m actually quite thrilled that I let myself go into that space because I really did touch a little bit of magic that day. I connected to my intuition, to my essence and I allowed myself to be carried and it was beautiful. It’s the space that I live in, but not one that I usually present on a stage. I believe we all have exactly what we need, all of the time, but crazily we forget – I work with people on this all of the time, but still I forget sometimes too. But the more I do things like this, the more I remember and the more deeply I can remind others of who they can be also. Because when we take our feet off the ocean floor we really are carried. The ocean stops battering and instead supports and lifts and carries towards what we need.
Take Your Feet Off the Ocean Floor and Be Held
I would really like to invite you to allow yourself to be supported a little more than you usually would by the power of the ocean. Find moments of amber stretch that shows you the power of who you are when you trust that you are carried – when you take your feet off the ocean floor and are held. Magic is available to us in every moment. What would be different in your life if you stepped into that far more than you do now?
And if you’d like to have a conversation about how I can support you on your journey into the power and possibility for your life just drop me a line here and we can talk.