I found myself thinking about the contrast of struggling versus flowing this morning after reading a(nother) enlightening blog from one of my favorite writers and self-help experts of all time: Martha Beck. You may know this Martha and be a fan already, which wouldn’t surprise me in the least. She write’s regularly for Oprah’s O Magazine and has penned several terrific books, including Steering by Starlight. This Martha is all about finding interesting, creative, and often remarkably easy ways to solve our very human dilemmas and make our lives better, more fun, and more purposeful. (Do not under any circumstances confuse her with The Other Martha, who I’m convinced has made it her lifelong ambition to make us feel clumsy, incompetent, and inadequate.)
So today’s blog from Martha B. was entitled “Easy Does It.” It was flippin’ brilliant and exactly the message I needed to read at precisely the moment I read it. (I love how that happens!)
Some background: Like many of you, I typically have several things on my mind on any given day that can only be described as emotional, intellectual, and creative quagmires. If one of these is not turning over and over in my head at any moment, another is. Rinse. Repeat. (Sound familiar? We women are particularly good at this.)
After reading Martha’s blog the fog of frustration and constant attempts at solving things that are currently unsolvable lifted. The worrisome loop stopped. The broken records ceased their spinning and skipping. I realized, that (eureka!) it was I who was making a big, hairy deal out of whatever I was trying to do, create, solve, figure out, reframe, recalculate, conquer, master, come up with, or get clear on. Almost instantly the mantra “Why not let it be easy” enveloped me. I felt relief, peace, love, patience, and a sense of flow rather than struggle. You would have thought I’d popped a quick-dissolve Xanax.
At that point I felt absolutely compelled to grab my yoga clothes, mat, flip flops and water bottle and head to a yoga class. I wanted to imprint the sensation of ease and flow into my body as well as my mind. And, get this, my favorite class was starting in 15 minutes, my favorite teacher was there, the class had the perfect number of students (not too many, not too few), my favorite spot was open on the floor, and I had just enough time to stretch, relax and prepare myself. Throughout the class I kept my mantra of “Let it be easy” surround me.
Okay, so what does this have to do with networking, connecting, relationships, etc.? Plenty.
I’m going to throw this out there (easily and gently):
- For those of you who feel completely overwhelmed by the sheer number of people you are trying to stay in touch with and stay connected to: Let it be easy. Yes, you will have to take some action, but do it with ease, joy and love. Don’t force meetings or even force yourself to reach a quota. Make getting together, having conversations, or writing friendly notes, emails, tweets or Facebook comments fun and effortless. Breathe. Relax. Pick up the phone and offer a quick hello or supportive voice message. Fact is, there are only so many hours in the day and days in the week. You will see and be in touch with those who are meant to be on your calendar and in your world. Watch and be aware as this happens. Trust me, how it pans out will be cool, if not mind-blowing.
- For those of you who desire and need to meet some new, interesting, fun people or prospective clients or business connections and add to your address books and databases: Ditto. Force nothing. Don’t sweat going into a roomful of strangers. Attend events and accept invitations that sound good to you. Take someone to coffee, lunch or for a hike. Don’t be afraid to say a friendly hello to a random person standing in the line at the coffee shop. Make an amusing comment or offer a sincere complement. Listen if you don’t know what to say next. Let there be silences. Let being with others easy. Don’t hide or cower in the corner. But definitely don’t push. As with #1 above, watch what happens.
Take it from me the Extrovert/Introvert/Type A/Type B Intentional Networker who clearly has plenty to figure out (and needs to do more yoga classes): Whether it’s your daily To Do list, your creative endeavors, your job (or job hunt), or your relationships, you have the power to make anything difficult, straining and stressful. Or you can choose to make it easier and more joyous. Which will you choose?
And P.S., here’s the link to Martha Beck’s blog. Enjoy!