Matthew Day Jackson’s painting “Buckminster Fuller.”
That guy up there? That’s pioneer Buckminster Fuller in front of his famous geodesic dome. Fuller was, among many things, an independent thinker with an education in design and engineering. The guy knew form like nobody else, and in it, he was liberated.
While I admire from afar, let me mention that I typically resist form in my own life and all that it entails. Even the word structure denotes a certain sense of rigidity. And just forget about regimen. Those words are the antithesis to my free-wheeling, mojo-making inspiration. They make me feel like I can’t breathe. And who can create when they can’t breathe?
But, as a coach, a creator and most recently in the last four plus years, a mother, I know all too well that without form, function tends to decrease or be limited, if it manages to appear at all. Chaos tends to ensue, and while there definitely is a certain amount of energy in that, it ultimately tends to leave most of us deflated, deluded and sometimes even depressed. (Trust me, I’ve been there).
Notice that in both of the paragraphs above, I mention nothing about goals and instead put the focus on feelings, because feelings are the impetus that moves us forward. Feelings can drive us towards -or away- from our goals. Goals, on the other hand, are these ideas “out there” that we strive towards. Striving, in my opinion, has ultimately not served my soul- or my career- well at all. It has perpetuated a “prove myself” mentality that stressed me to the max and often left me feeling like I was a million miles away from reaching my potential if I didn’t accomplish those said “goals.” The pushing and harshness were, and still are, debilitating.
Let’s focus on how you feel and use that as an impetus to get our flow mojo going. With a little form, of course.
Rest assured that if you follow form, flow will naturally happen, and when you’ve followed the said form long enough, you will even find freedom. Which all sounds fine and dandy until you actually attempt it, right?
I’m right there with you. In my last post I wrote about wanting a coach to help me get clear on my “goals,” create action plans and keep accountable. The divine timing of things led me to choose otherwise, as I create space to make the finances needed to dive into that idea when I’m good and fiscally ready. For now, I’ve had to figure out a way to make it happen on my own. In this case, the it I refer to is form.
Consider form/structure/regimen and how it makes you FEEL. Does it feel solid? Limiting? Safe? Steady? Difficult? Overwhelming? Take note of what the notion of form does to your inner psyche and the juice of your soul. And don’t judge the juice. You’ll use what comes up in the next step.
Next, you want to build the form in a way that feels good to you. Obviously if you discovered that form feels like a sort of strangle-hold on your mojo, you aren’t going to implement a full-on, systematized structure right out of the gate.
On the other hand, if structure really appeals, go for the gusto and give yourself permission to do what you can. Either way you must SHOW UP ENTIRELY in your efforts. No hemming or hawing. Do what you say you’re going to do, or don’t. Your structure, your choice. Baby steps or quantum leaps- it’s all good… IF YOU SHOW UP.
But exactly HOW do you create that structure? Since each of us come to the table with different personalities and different needs, there’s no cookie cutter outline on what this will look like. The elements, however, tend to be similar.
1. The What.
Once you’ve defined how you want to feel, what exactly is it that will take you closer to that feeling? Or you could do it the other way around: what is it you think you’d like to do and how does it make you feel? If you closely examine your emotions around the task, it’ll give you insight on the next steps involved in creating your form.
Example: Commerical and creative freelance work. I want more of that. But the idea of commercial work tends to make me feel overwhelmed, uninspired and constrained. Sure, the money might be good (which helps me feel safe and expansive). But if I have to choose a way in which to spend my time (which is currently limited since I’m a stay-home mom), I’ll focus on creative freelance work, which excites me and makes me feel expansive and alive.
Then I narrow it down to specifics: Write poems/ work on completing manuscript. Flesh out novel. Continue blog posts. Create another blog on upping the sparkle mojo. Send work out to journals. Continue search for agent. Market thyself. Send queries to lifestyle magazines with article ideas.
Now all of these things are specific unto themselves, and all require a certain form and action plan to help them be carried out. Read on.
2. The How.
Not to be confused with the “HOW WILL THIS ALL WORK OUT” (which is an entirely different post for another time), there are a few means to this end, and again, each will vary depending on who you are and what it is you set out to do.
I recommend first that you brainstorm in a stream-of-conscious sort of way to see what answers arrive for you, as I am of the school that the information is almost always, or at least begins, within. YOU know your answers, even if you think you don’t know. (Thank you to my former life coach Dolly Garlo for setting me straight on that! … “I don’t know is an excuse for not thinking. What would the answer be if you DID know?” She’d challenge me when I shrugged my shoulders and deferred to this lame but popular answer).
If you still think you don’t know, you can always go by way of Google or the good old library- meaning research. How do other people do it? Who do you know doing it now? Don’t be afraid to make some phone calls, take notes, and see the form in other people’s flow.
Informational interviews are great, too (thanks again Dolly), meaning making a date with someone for a cup of something and asking them loads of questions to help you light your way. For the most part, people really do love talking about themselves, and are also quite happy to help you along your road.
3. The Why.
Ask yourself, in all honesty, why you want to do the task you set out to do. If you want to become a vegan because you think that beautiful girl you met in yoga might like you better, chances are you’ll be diving into the ice cream to quell your nerves before asking her on a date. If you want to publish because you think it’ll make you rich and famous, what is it about the idea of being rich and famous that appeals? How does that make you feel? Safe? Established? Free? Fine. Go for it. But I hope you also feel very inspired while writing, too, because the road to rich and famous writer-dom is typically filled with a lot of ass-in-chair time. Being authentic about your desires is key to manifesting- and sustaining- the mojo to make it happen.
4. The Where.
This one is pretty basic. Where do you need to be to do this work? Does it require a plan of action just to get there? If it’s at home, is your space clear and ready for you to arrive without distraction? Do the people around you support you and recognize your efforts towards form?
5. The When.
Again, fairly basic, but probably the most challenging one on the list. This one is all about showing up and accountability, folks. This is where you must commit. While the word deadline still makes my gut queasy, not a lot of work tends to get done if you don’t have a target date in mind. Make them, and do your darndest to stick to them. I guarantee you’ll feel totally empowered, relieved and probably very motivated when you do.
I realize this a an extremely simplified view of form and action plans and will likely blog more about each in the upcoming future. For now, get yourself some paper and start brainstorming, then try mapping it all out before putting it on a calendar. Then… begin! No time like the present to start living the dream.
And remember, you can always alter the form along the way if it’s not quite working for you. Just be honest about whether you’re being “lazy” or intolerant of the challenge, which will help you stretch and grow. Research shows it takes at least three weeks to make anything new a habit, and nearly everything gets easier as we repeat patterns. Especially when they are positive and make us FEEL GOOD.
If you have any words on a form that works for you, please share your comments below. The only pros here are the people actually walking the talk. I’ll let you know how it goes for me as I get going… and hope you will, too.
Here’s to the freedom that comes after form!