When in doubt, stand still

Yes, I'm advocating doing nothing.

At least, that's what it will feel like.

When done right, standing still is a powerful act.

Standing still means not taking a pro-active step in any direction. It means noticing what's happening around you, and what you feel, without acting on it right away. 

Imagine one of those moving walkways at the airport. You will ultimately reach your destination if you don't take another step.

While you're standing still you can take care of yourself; get out your boarding pass.  You can see what's happening around you. Maybe you'll notice a Sbarro and realize you're hungry.

Also like that airport walkway, it may feel like forever that you've been there. As if you're not getting anywhere though you clearly are.

I know what that's like. I've been at it for a few months now.

In December, I left my day job to pursue coaching full-time. Since then there have been a number of quiet days spent staring at my computer trying to figure out how to be successful. Telling myself that what I'm doing isn't enough.

And then time and time again, I see that things happen the moment I'm not paying attention anymore. New clients decide to sign on and new opportunities arise while I'm taking a nap, or out hugging around Washington, DC.

You know what? Almost all of my coaching clients lately have asked me to help them slow down. Call it what you will—white space, breathing room, peace—most of us are looking for permission to take it down a notch.

If you are looking for permission, consider this it. It's time to stand still.

You are successful already. Things are happening. (You know it's true).

Take stock in what you've accomplished. Appreciate where you are right now. Let worries go, so ideas can naturally bubble up to the surface when they're ready.

There are two steps to standing still. Make that three:

  1. Stand Still: Every time you find yourself "trying to figure out..." that is a sign to stand still. Step away from the computer, from the drawing board, from the discussion. Don't move a muscle. Do not hit send. Do Not Pass Go. This holds true for relationships, work, decisions, you name it.
  2. Stand Still Part II: Every fiber in you will feel like standing still is a bad idea. Stand still from that thought too. If you're fighting it, it means you have to stand still longer. If you catch yourself saying, "OK, that was a nice break, now back to it," not so fast. There is still more standing still to do.
  3. Have Faith:It bears repeating that you are successful. You wouldn't be where you are now without having great ideas and trusting your instincts. Have faith that when the answer, or the right opportunity, appears, you will know it. That means that it's impossible to stand still for too long.

Remember that airport walkway—have faith that you will arrive where you need to be, and that you will know the exact moment when it's time to step off.

In the meantime...say it with me...