“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them – that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.” – Lao Tzu
In 2016 I created an initiative to support families that I’m fairly passionate about and I’ve been returning to it off and on for over a year. But every time I start to take action around it– things don’t flow. Either I don’t get the support I need, dates don’t align for group meetings or getting traction to move things forward takes a daunting amount of effort. So I’m practicing what I know to be some of the greatest wisdom I’ve ever received: if it doesn’t flow, let it go (at least for now).
On the work front, I purposely haven’t set annual goals for my business in three years. Yet, I manage a successful 17-year-old global coaching/consulting firm, supervise a professional team, travel and speak around the globe, am continually generating new, innovative programs and am deeply committed to serving at the highest level I can. And, last year was my most financially successful year yet. Why would I not map out my company’s direction and strategies (something I required my small business clients to do for years)? Because I’ve tapped into a more effective approach to getting things done. I call this new way of getting things done, “going with the flow.”
Do I always go with the flow in my home and work life? No, but a lot of the time I do. Going with the flow means being more relaxed and trusting in all areas of my life, remaining open and receptive to new opportunities and relying heavily on my internal guidance system and Wise Self to steer me towards the best use of my energy, time and talents. When I do this, I am clear on when to say yes, when to say no and when to say “not now.”
Do I sound like a slacker to you? Let me share a bit about my journey. As the oldest of seven children, the daughter of overachiever parents, a type A personality and someone who likes to live and work BIG, for years I pushed myself to accomplish and produce so I could feel more worthy (getting a client on the cover of National Geographic was not enough–they had be featured on NOVA, as well!). Professionally I was very successful. I helped a lot of people and did a lot of good along the way. But in the process, I exhausted myself. I adopted many stressful habits and ways of approaching work and life –such as always raising the bar and never feeling good enough– that after time, no longer served me. In my early thirties, several perfectly-timed teachers entered my life and coached me on how to trust in the flow of life and l-e-t g-o. These sages showed me by example that there is another way to get things done that is more intuitive, natural, spontaneous and kind. I discovered that when you go with the flow–some call this working in “the zone,” being in an alpha wave state or finding your sweet spot–you adopt a way of moving in the world that allows you to bring projects to fruition, launch big initiatives, navigate major life changes, serve in a way that feeds rather than drains you– and still be present and connected to your loved ones and to yourself.
Looking ahead, spring can feel intense for many on the personal and professional front and life balance can be particularly challenging. But I plan to do less pushing and more receiving this spring. I intend to listen quietly and attentively for what is mine to do. I will let go, surrender and allow myself to stay in flow so this month feels more like floating down the river in an inner tube than paddling upstream in a canoe.
Have a favorite practice that helps you stay “in flow?” Share it in the comments section below or on our Facebook community!
SUPPORT IS HERE! My favorite resources for learning to go with the flow include:
- My highly affordable New Way of Being: Learning to Go with the Flow $99 self-study teleclass (I love listening to teleclasses while I’m cleaning, weeding the yard or taking a hot bath; download the mp3s 24/7 onto your phone, etc.)
- My upcoming May 12 (Austin, TX), June 10th (Asheville, NC) and June 23-25 (Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health) New Way of Being Retreats where you’ll learn tools/practices for finding your flow–view all here.
- My two award-winning life balance titles The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal: How to Reclaim, Rejuvenate and Re-Balance Your Life or Nurturing the Soul of Your Family: 10 Ways to Reconnect and Find Peace in Everyday Life; learn more.
Subscribe here to Live Inside Out, a weekly blog written by life balance speaker/author and Career Strategists president, Renée Peterson Trudeau. Renee’s work has appeared in The New York Times, Good Housekeeping, Spirituality & Health and more. Thousands of women in ten countries are becoming RTA-Certified Facilitators and leading/joining self-renewal group based on her award-winning curriculum. She leads workshops/retreats around the globe and is the author of The Mother’s Guide to Self-Renewal and Nurturing the Soul of Your Family: 10 Ways to Reconnect and Find Peace in Everyday Life. She lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband and 15-year-old son. More on her background here.