Trusting The Process

In any medium to long term projects there are hiccups. Sometimes things seem to halt all of a sudden, or they start going into a strange direction. During these times is very easy to lose control. Or, at least, to lose trust that everything will, eventually, go as planned.

So, during this hiccups is important, more than ever, to trust the process.

But how can you actually do this? How can you prepare in advance for the emotional wave that will nudge you off course?

Step One: Observation

One thing that helped me a lot is to practice observation (with detachment, of course). Observation is, contrarily to what you may think, a difficult art to master. It requires training, that’s for sure. You need to be present, without giving in. You need to assess information, without acting hastily. You need to observe both the facts unfolding in the “outside” reality, and the emotions unfolding in the “inside” reality, and keep your cool.

Like I said, this require training. In the beginning, you may start training when things are relatively stable. It may seem boring at first, because nothing spectacular happens: everything goes according to the plan. Well, it’s not if things are going according to the plan that matters in this process, but our ability to stay there. Even when it’s boring. Even when it’s uneventful. Or especially when it’s uneventful.

In time, you will develop a certain stability, a certain inertia that will allow you to stay there, to ground yourself when things are going rough.

Step Two: Patience

But observation in itself, as useful as it is, won’t cut it. You also need patience.

These are two different things. You can still maintain a decent observation level when you’re performing, when you’re in the middle of the action. And you can be patient without necessarily observing anything, you can just be numbly there, while your thoughts are racing around and your focus dwindles.

So, you need to pair these two. Patience, on top of observation, stems from some sort of hope, and a collection of positive, reinforcing memories. Patience is the ability to understand that, no matter how bad things look right now, they will eventually change. It’s also the ability to summon the memory of all the instances in which things did change. That creates a very necessary perspective, a space in which you can maintain your focus and avoid drifting away.

Step Three: Keep A Plan B. Just In Case

We shouldn’t engage in a long term project like “this is it, it’s now or never”. There is no such thing as “never”, this is a mental construct. Especially in long term projects we should maintain some alternative options. Of course, in an ideal world, we shouldn’t resort to these options and I’m not saying you should change course in the middle of the project, on the contrary.

I say that having many options is better than having only one. Maintaining an open mind and having the eggs spread in many baskets, will give a much necessary peace of mind. In fact, when we now “it’s NOT now or never”, when we have alternative choices, we have more courage to watch the situation – as catastrophic as may be – unfolding without interfering. Ok, things may go South, but we have a plan B already, so let’s see first what’s happening here. Who knows, it may not be as bad as it looks.

Of course, these 3 steps are not in the exact order here. The prevalence of each of them is difficult to assess too. Sometimes you may get around just with observation and patience, sometimes just knowing you already have some plan B will cut it.

So, mix and match, as you see fit.

Photo by Jess Bailey on Unsplash

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