What I Learned from Being in the“Do It” Mind Set
The shift in season calls for a moment of reflection. I get to practice what I preach and pay attention to how I am embodying pillars of mindfulness into my life. While reflecting on the past six months, I had a total ‘aha’ moment. I recognized I was in complete and utter striving mode. Do you know what I mean by the term striving? For me, striving feels like I am running faster, harder and headfirst into life. My eyes are constantly focused on life goals six months/three years down the road. I am looking for what’s next; what can I plan for? How can I grow. I am in complete “doing” mode. Have you been there before?
To be honest, the last nine months, I accomplished a lot by being in the doing mindset. I tripled my business, expanded my network, grew more partnerships, did a workshop with Microsoft, worked on my book, launched a meditation podcast, launched two group virtual programs, explored wedding venues, re-designed our garden, and started a wellness consulting coaching gig. Even though I would look at the last nine months and say I was “successful” the quality of life and other elements of life that matter to me took a beating. This became apparent when I realized my romantic relationship felt the strain, my business trajectory became a bit murky and I felt more anxiety than I have had in years.
After practicing what I preach, I connected some dots and recognized I was hooked in the striving mode. I wanted to have answers about what our house was going to look like in three years. Where our careers would be. How life was going to look. I lost sight of living right here, right now. I put pressure on my partner to plan too far ahead. I put unnecessary pressure on myself to have everything perfect and figured out. I missed so many sweet opportunities in the present moment because my mind was wrapped up in the addictive adrenalin desire of striving for what I did not yet have. I noticed I missed those moments to connect more deeply and moments to savor all of the sights and sounds of life. I feel like I even missed summer! I got caught up in the doing of life, I forgot to tap into the beingness of life.
Reflection grants me the opportunity to forward new behavior and course correct. It is a balance in life to practice asking: how do I want to grow what are my goals and plans? Yet we also need to savor and be present and content with the current experience. I am all about creating the vision and setting those intentions, but instead of life turning into a to-do list, it gets to be a journey. And as I live that journey, I get to be present to all of the pleasant, unpleasant, uncomfortable, and comfortable moments. I get to connect more deeply to how I get to show up. How I get to practice the inner work so it can connect to the outer work (aka my goals).
As I step into the new fall season, I am practicing the concept of non-striving. As Jon Kabat-Zinn, the founder of Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction, explains, non-striving is the practice of being with the unfolding of life without any agenda and being content even if the experience is unpleasant. I am consciously putting the doing mentality in the back seat and shifting my gaze to embodying the life I want to live. My focus is not on what I am missing, but instead, I am focused on what is already there. And when I can be in this mindset and space, I am able to actually enjoy life. I am not out of breath or on the verge of burnout from striving. Instead, I get to play in the non-striving and enjoy life’s natural flow and rhythm.
As you reflect on your life in a new season, what striving patterns do you recognize? What would your life look and feel like if you were able to step into the non-striving mindset?