One of my clients, we will refer to her as “Leslie,” knew exactly where she got stuck.
Leslie was one of the most organized people I knew. In fact, the more organizing she had done, the more relaxed she felt. When it came to health and wellbeing, she was clear in her vision and goals, broke the goals down week-to-week, then day-to-day. And of course, everything was color-coded.
She had the plan, but some days, and even some weeks, her to-do list was left colorful and untouched. Her detailed plan was full of green lights, but the yellow and red lights kept popping up and getting in her way.
One Sunday, she had planned to wake up and meal prep the groceries she had bought the day before. She knew she would have to wake up early because she had brunch scheduled with her family and would be occupied the rest of the day. She felt invigorated by the idea of reaching her goal and to have healthy lunches ready for the whole week.
The green light quickly went from yellow to red, when she got an unexpected call from her mother asking for her to please come over and help get food ready for brunch because her father was unavailable at that time.
Even though family was one of Leslie’s core values, she couldn’t help but feel frustrated by the unexpected change of plans. Her thoughts started spiraling to, “why couldn’t my mom have let me know sooner?” “Why does this always happen to me?” And, “I feel like I can never complete anything I set out to complete.” She began feeling overwhelmed, then apathetic, and did not get around to meal prepping that week. She resigned to ordering take out most days for lunch and a lot of the food she had bought went bad.
For Leslie, it wasn’t the goal-setting or dedication to follow through on said goals that she needed support around. She came to the next session with another game plan ready. She knew the art of performance, but Leslie had to learn the art of mastery.
Because life is a game of mastery. There is no winning or losing, there is only being and becoming your best and truest Self. And of course, this does not happen overnight, and for most of us, it takes practice to orient our minds in this way.
Mastery happens when we expect change and red lights. For change is the only constant. When we stop to observe it, we notice how every moment is different from the last. You may be sitting in the same place for 5 minutes, but each moment, you’re reading a new word, someone has walked by you, the breeze has picked up, even your breath is different. One moment you inhale, the next you exhale. Life is change. And instead of becoming paralyzed by it, how different would it be if we came from a place of curiosity and opportunity?
This new mindset might look like, instead of asking, “Why me? or Why Bother?” asking “I wonder what/why/how/if…..” It’s getting curious about what you can learn from this experience, so you can navigate it more powerfully next time. It’s wondering what your options are while being in an unexpected circumstance. It’s an opportunity for adventure, maybe even fun and creativity.
Leslie started to practice taking the pressure off herself to get it all perfect, and amazingly, when that pressure was off, there was space for her to feel lighter, clearer, and more energized to move forward. Instead of watching the green light, paralyzed by feelings of failure, she was able to press the gas and get going again. Because the red light always changes to the green light. So, what will you do when the light changes to red? What will you do when it turns green again? The choice is yours.